The Android ecosystem is heading towards a RISC-V future. From a report: The pieces of the upcoming CPU architecture puzzle began to fall into place last year when Google announced official support for RISC-V in Android and plans to make it a “level platform 1” on a par with Arm. With OS support underway, what we need now is hardware, and Qualcomm is set to announce the first ever mainstream Android RISC-V SoC. It doesn’t have a name yet, but Qualcomm says it’s developing a “RISC-V Snapdragon Wear” chip in collaboration with Google. The company says it plans to “market the RISC-V-based wearable solution globally, including in the United States.” For Google and Qualcomm, this chip represents each’s first attempt at a commercial RISC-V Android project, and as far as we can tell, this is the first mainstream Android RISC-V chip announced. Qualcomm says the foundation it and Google have laid “will help pave the way for more products within the Android ecosystem to take advantage of low-power, high-performance custom processors.”
RISC-V poses a major threat to the Arm CPU architecture that currently dominates all mobile devices. The RISC-V architecture is open source, which can make it cheaper and more flexible than Arm. If companies want to design their own chips, they can do so without paying licensing fees to Arm. Since the architecture is open source, it is possible to create a completely open source chip. If you are a chip design company, you can create your own proprietary chip designs and license them, making you a competitor to Arm’s chip design business. RISC-V is also a way to avoid all the different issues with Arm.