Today Android Authority released a very interesting article about why smartphones equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800/801 will not receive Android 7.0 Nougat. Actually it is just a theory they’ve put up however that theory proves to be really relevant. At the end of the article I decided to make the link with the Infinix Hot 2 and I had my answer.
The article written by Android authority is long but I'll explain you what you have to know.
Google always release a document known as the Compatibility Definition Document (CDD) for it operating systems that contains all the software and hardware requirements for an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer, basically smartphones Manufacturers).This allows them to get Google's seal of approval and so to install Google apps such as the Play Store. The smartphone later passes to the CTS (Compatibility Test Suite) that test if it meets Google’s requirements. Recently Google has shown a keen interest in imposing “Storage Encryption” in Android smartphones. That can be clearly seen in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, where Google stipulated in it CDD that “If the device implementation supports a secure lock screen… then the device MUST support full-disk encryption” and that “the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience”. Google also added that to “for device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec” which according to Android Authority is a performance layer added to the requirement above. Now it’s true that this CDD concerns Marshmallow and that no CDD is still available for Nougat. However we are sure that Nougat will include an AES crypto performance level specified and that the CTS will test for it.
Now because of Google's requirement for high-speed Encryption, not all smartphones can comply with the CDD and so can't pass the CTS. This is the case with smartphones running mid-range processors or processors that are 2 years old. But here this is not what really matters. What matters is the ARM’s version these processors are using. In the case of the Snapdragon 800/801, they're both using ARMv7 which is too slow for the AES Encryption as it uses a software base encryption. The ideal for Google will be ARMv8 chips such as the Snapdragon 820 or Mediatek's Helio P10/P20 chip that uses special hardwares for the AES encryption allowing for faster encryption hence meting Google’s requirements. However for all this we’ll have to wait Nougat’s CDD to know more about this.
Sadly enough, the Infinix Hot 2 uses a Mediatek MT6580 that is a mid-range processor from Mediatek and it supports ARMv7 that is not compatible.
Now the question I'm asking myself is was Google aware of all this while developing the Hot 2 in collaboration with Infinix or they didn't expect to add these encryption thing to Nougat (not really probable for such a big company as everything (or maybe almost) is always planned ahead). However what we can be sure of is that Android one in Africa will stop at Android 6.0 Marshmallow sadly.