OPPO Find X2 receive a graphics driver update via an app

Smartphones are being compared a lot with regular computers because of the great strides they have made in power while still keeping power consumption at a minimum. Of course, it's apples to oranges considering there are many things smartphones or even tablets can't do that even laptop users take for granted. Never mind how impossible it is to upgrade or add fast storage (microSD cards don't count), even software updates to key hardware components are more than just difficult. Google and its Android partners have been working to make that last bit a little easier and OPPO is just one of the extremely few, really two, to take advantage of that.

Drivers are the bits of software that allow operating systems to take advantage of hardware capabilities. On desktops, drivers for CPUs, graphics cards, storage devices, and other peripherals can be pushed out by their respective manufacturers independent of the operating system itself. The ecosystem on mobile devices is very different, even if only one company makes the silicon. Updates for drivers and other low-level components are rolled into a single firmware update that has to go through a long process of testing and certification, even for the smallest changes.

Google's Project Mainline is trying to decouple bits and pieces of the Android OS from that pipeline, allowing them to be updated independently of Android itself, often via the Google Play Store. Qualcomm is doing something similar with its graphics drivers starting with the Snapdragon 865, freeing it to push updates on its own.

Unfortunately, few phone makers have actually taken advantage of that, save for, unsurprisingly, some daring Chinese OEMs. Xiaomi was the first to do so just a few months back and now OPPO has followed suit. Owners of the OPPO Find X2 and Find X2 Pro in China are now able to update their phone's graphics driver by simply installing a dedicated updater app.

Unfortunately, these new capabilities seem to be limited to Chinese models and the exact changes in the driver update have not yet been made public. That said, it's a small and slow change that will hopefully improve the situation on Android, pushing the mobile platform to come even closer to rivaling less mobile computers.