Huawei canceled its work on a build of Android Oreo for its 2016 P9 lineup of high-end smartphones, with the British support branch of the Chinese company confirming as much in an emailed response to a customer inquiry. While it’s still unclear how long the firm has been trying to get the last major stable iteration of the OS to work on its handset series, provided it ever actively pursued that goal, it ultimately ended up dropping the idea due to “the hardware capacity” of the P9 product family, according to the same representative. App freezing, increased battery consumption, and complete system failure have been named by the representative as some of the likely side effects of Android Oreo running on any P9 model.
Originally released in April of 2016 with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Huawei’s P9 lineup ended up being upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat but never received subsequent patches that added major functionalities. While many 2016 flagships ended up being upgraded to Oreo this year or set to receive their upgrades in the coming months, the P9 series is unique by virtue of the fact it features the Kirin 955 chip from Huawei’s subsidiary HiSilicon, meaning the responsibility of optimizing new Android versions for the SoC is solely its own responsibility. As the company’s high-end smartphones only recently started selling in significant volumes, Huawei possibly decided that optimizing Oreo for the Kirin 955 — i.e. the P9 — isn’t worth it. The slightly older Mate 8 featuring the Kirin 950 chip hence isn’t likely to be updated to Oreo either.
Huawei remains the world’s third-largest smartphone company by both shipments and sales, though its software support practices are still somewhat behind those of Samsung who guarantees two major OS upgrades and three years’ worth of security patches for its high-end products. The company’s next flagship release is expected to arrive this fall in the form of the Mate 20 lineup of Android phablets.
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