25
Jun
650880aaf4690b802c34232a697dd022

CyanogenMod and other aftermarket ROMs are often the last recourse for tech-savvy users whose hardware has fallen behind the curve, or just been forgotten by a manufacturer or carrier. But even the CyangoenMod team can't keep supporting devices forever. In a Google+ post today, the CM team states that due to technical limitations, support for phones and tablets using the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset will end with the next major Android release. CyangenMod 10.1 (Android 4.2) will be the last official version for these devices.

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The reason is the NEON Media Processing Engine, a data instruction set that allows for smoother, more standardized hardware acceleration for media, among other things. NEON is a newer addition to the ARM architecture that Tegra 2 can't support - NVIDIA began supporting it in its chipsets with Tegra 3. More and more standard Android functions rely on NEON, even in Google's official apps like Google Now (for voice recognition). Without NEON, supporting the latest and greatest functions will be increasingly difficult.

With the ecosystem shifting away from devices that lack NEON support, we are following suit. Truth is, the lack of support for this added capability will only continue to degrade Tegra 2 users’ functionality of their devices, not only now, but with future iterations of Android and CyanogenMod. We will, however, continue to release 10.1 weeklies for the Tegra 2 platform until such time that we move on to the next Android release.

It's a big blow for a lot of hardware, if not for the users themselves. Some of the first Honeycomb tablets like the Motorola Xoom, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and ASUS Transformer used the ARM7-based SoC, as well as a few popular phones like the ATRIX 4G and LG Optimus 2X. Still, these tablets and phones have been given support long after any official releases came, and their typically slower processors and low RAM are beginning to become roadblocks for newer apps and games.

CyanogenMod will continue to release new builds of 10.1 for the Tegra 2 devices in its support list. Once the next version of Android hits, open-source modders will still be able to create versions of CyanogenMod for their devices if they have the skill.

Source: CyanogenMod Google+

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • deltatux

    Correction, NVIDIA deliberately chose to not include NEON. My old Nexus S that was powered by the Samsung Exynos 3110 (Cortex A8) had a 64-bit NEON-enabled FPU. NVIDIA just chose to not support it in their FPU for some reason (I forgot right now), didn't help that ARM oddly decided that NEON-support was optional only for the Cortex A9 (was mandatory for Cortex A8 and again in later Cortex architectures). They only included NEON afterwards in Tegra 3. Samsung SoCs always had NEON support, same with Texas Instrument Cortex A9 SoCs.

    • mgamerz

      Adding neon capability added to the SoC price.

      • deltatux

        Probably, but I don't believe it would have added too much. I think it probably was something about power consumption. FPUs usually eat a lot of power (relatively) in CPU designs.

      • Drew M

        I believe the reason is that NV was trying to keep the die size down at the time.

  • Simon Belmont

    Wow. Kinda sad that the TI OMAP3 in my old B&N Nook Color supports this, but the Tegra 2 doesn't.

    Shame too, the Motorola Xoom was a reference device for Android tablet development. Ah well, all good things must come to an end.

    • GazaIan

      *was*, that is. The Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 can also be used as reference tablets.

      • Brandon Jiang

        the nexus 4 can be used as a reference tablet? lol :P

        • GazaIan

          Oops, meant N7.

  • DanieleMnn

    I think that tegra 2 devices are still fast, and most of them have 1gb of ram.
    I'm very disappointed by this decision.

    • Aleksey_US

      stop being a cheep-ass and get something newer

    • Brandon Jiang

      did you read any of the article regarding NEON?

      • DanieleMnn

        This sentence I'm criticizing :
        "these tablets and phones have been given support long after any official releases came, and their typically slower processors and low RAM are beginning to become roadblocks for newer apps and games."

        Tegra 2 products are still very capable of running every apps and games on the market, including the heavy real racing 3.

        • fonix232

          Except for the NEON-requiring programs. What happens to be the majority of the media-enabled apps (games, 3D rendering related, audio related (see Google Now), etc.). Without NEON, you (we) are basically screwed. Hell my Asus TF101 runs slower with the same version of CM10.1 (and mostly same kernel settings, if you can say that), than my Alcatel OT-995 (that got a crappy S2 Snapdragon at 1.4Ghz, plus 512MB RAM)!

  • Asphyx

    It's not really CM that's the main cause of this the Google source already decided to drop support of Tegra2 awhile ago and it makes no sense for them to do for Android what Google decided wasn't worth doing either.

    I am still sporting a Xoom running 42 (TEAMEOS) and while TeamEOS has it running well you can still feel a slight performance dip from ICS and the first JB.

    You can't expect something that was essentially the prototype to the Android Tablet to last and be supported forever!
    So I can't complain about this eventuality happening.

  • Quietech

    It'd be nice if NVidia decided to release the drivers for these "old" and "obsolete" chipsets. A big issue for the Atrix 4G was the the graphics chipset isn't open for outside development. Anything running higher than Gingerbread had to accept that and not get acceleration for games and such.

  • asdf

    Very unhappy with my galaxy tab 10.1 since day 1. Honeycomb was slow, tried newer official shit and CM. All is slow. Huge fail.... for a top level dev