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Xiaomi 14 can trick the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 to run your favorite old Android apps

Xiaomi has included a 32-bit to 64-bit binary translator called "Tango," which improves compatibility for older apps.

Published onOctober 31, 2023

Xiaomi 14 Pro Titanium
Xiaomi 14 Pro - Titanium Edition
  • The Xiaomi 14 series ships with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC, which drops support for 32-bit apps.
  • However, Xiaomi has added a translation layer on the phone that retains 32-bit-app compatibility.
  • This means that users can continue to use their old apps without any issues.

The Xiaomi 14 and Xiaomi 14 Pro are the first flagships launched with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC. This catapults the devices as one of the best Android phones, subject to them launching internationally in the coming weeks. However, with the new SoC, there are a few changes under the hood that could break your old apps. But it seems like Xiaomi has a trick up its sleeve, letting its phones run your old apps without any issues.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is the first 64-bit-only SoC from Qualcomm. There are no CPU cores on this SoC that will support older 32-bit ARM apps. As a result, older apps that have not been updated to run on 64-bit cores will not run on phones with this SoC.

However, as developer realMlgmXyysd explains in their Telegram channel post, Xiaomi is employing a cool trick to make its new phones continue to run old apps. Xiaomi is integrating a 32-bit to 64-bit binary translator called “Tango,” which improves compatibility for older apps.

As Mishaal Rahman demonstrates, this compatibility layer allows 32-bit-only apps like Flappy Bird to continue to run on the new Xiaomi 14 series despite the SoC not officially supporting the same.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 does not have any CPU cores that support AArch32 (32-bit Arm apps).
Despite this, the Xiaomi 14 series is able to run 32-bit Arm apps like Flappy Bird, as shown below by @realMlgmXyysd.
How is this possible?
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) October 27, 2023

Mishaal did previously predict that phone OEMs will likely be resorting to using such compatibility layers. Google has long stopped accepting 32-bit-only apps on the Google Play Store. All 32-bit apps must have a 64-bit version, too, if they are to be uploaded to the Play Store. This requirement has been in place for a few years now, so most users will not feel the effects of it.

The only places users would be affected are with older apps that haven’t been updated in a while. These forgotten apps could still be shipping as 32-bit-only and, as such, would not run on new phones. The developer may have abandoned the app, or its functionality is complete, and it simply does not need a real update. However, such workarounds from OEMs mean that end users can continue using their favorite apps without any worries.

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