Chinese OEMs and Android 5.0

Recently, there has been a spike in the number of Chinese OEMs appearing on major tech news sites. No, I’m not talking about big ones like Xiaomi, I’m talking about small ones like Elephone and Ulefone, both of which have shown major progress on the usage of MediaTek chipsets, not just in hardware, but also in software. Software, that is, specifically Google’s latest mobile operating system, Android Lollipop (5.0).

Android 5.0 has been out in the wild for some time, and unfortunately many OEMs are not quick to adopt it yet. And if so, only relatively newer devices, such as the Galaxy S5, get updates. On the MediaTek side of the world, it’s much more difficult. MediaTek’s non-compliance with GPL makes it such that the community is unable to develop any custom ROMs for devices running on MediaTek chipsets, such as the MT6592 and the MT6752. However, some OEMs have stepped up and have developed numerous custom ROMs, albeit in beta, for their devices. One such OEM is Elephone, which has been hitting the news lately. Their newest device, the P6000, has already received its Lollipop update, and has a CM12 preview out now for testing. Their new device, the P7000, has been stated to be able to run a number of custom ROMs including MIUI and Cyanogen. Despite all this progress though, it seems like the older 32-bit chipsets will not be receiving updates to 5.0 any time soon, as MediaTek has not released the 5.0 source code to the developers within the OEMs (that’s right, the OEMs pay for the source code). Also, despite Google having updated Android Lollipop to 5.1, the only devices capable of running Lollipop are still on 5.0. Elephone is also looking for developers who know how to compile ROMs to compile 5.1 ROMs for their device, although this is a futile task since kernel source code is required.

That being said though, Elephone P6000 has had its kernel source code leaked a few months back, and a group of active developers is already working on bringing new ROMs and recoveries to the device.

What do you think about this? Are Chinese OEMs climbing to the top, or will they forever remain companies for people who cannot afford thousand-dollar devices like the Galaxy S6? Let us know in the comments section below.