The AV1 codec should be a requirement for every Android 14 device, while the 64-bit change will only affect a few
Google has only just released Android 13, but of course the company is already working hard to get Android 14 ready. According to the latest findings, it looks as if the new release will make the AV1 codec mandatory for all devices. This new video encoding method is much more efficient than other systems and helps save bandwidth without sacrificing in the quality department. Additionally, it appears that some devices launching with Android 14 will be forced to only support 64-bit apps, spelling the end for pure 32-bit apps for good.
As Esper’s Mishaal Rahman shared in his excellent Android 14 preview, the new AV1 requirement is codified in the Android Open Source Project Gerrit. The entry reads: “Per Android CDD 14 Section 2.2.2 and Section 2.6, handheld and tablet device implementations must support decoding of AV1.” CDD here refers to the Android Compatibility Definition Document, which lists all the requirements that devices meet to be certified by Google for the update or release. It looks like work on this document has started very early in the project this time, as Mishaal Rahman has already discovered a skeleton page for the next version of the compatibility definition.
Forcing all devices to support AV1 in Android 14 is a big deal and could reduce bandwidth requirements for various web services – YouTube already uses AV1 to stream certain resolutions more efficiently while using less bandwidth.
There is one other, potentially even more momentous change for devices launching with Android 14. Devices equipped with ARMv9 CPUs will be forced to only support 64-bit apps. The latest processors will all have to make this switch, with the 2021 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 already based on the ARMv9 architecture. The same switch is already rumored for the Pixel tablet, which is said to come out with 64-bit support only. It looks like Google is finally getting serious about phasing out 32-bit applications, a move Apple made back in 2017. Most modern apps are already updated to work on 64-bit architectures, so this change shouldn’t hurt users too much – in fact, 99% of apps on the Play Store are already updated. However, it could mean that a handful of older games or discontinued apps will no longer work.
With 2023 and Android 14 fast approaching, we’re likely to learn a lot more about the new version before it comes to us in the form of a beta, which is set to arrive in April this time.