Android offers support for a Context Hub Runtime Environment (CHRE), and Google is using it to speed up Fast Pair on the OnePlus 11. 

While one central unit called the Applications Processor manages all applications on the phone, its size means it takes considerable battery power to run. Smaller processors can handle simple tasks much more efficiently, which is exactly where CHRE comes in.

CHRE, or Context Hub Runtime Environment, is an open-source technology that enables Android phones to efficiently use their smaller processors, so they can run simple tasks without noticeable impact to your battery life.

Those tasks are called nanoapps, with the CHRE only accessible to system-trusted apps and not “arbitrary third-party Android apps” due to “resource constraints and security limitations.” CHRE API support dates back to Android 7, with Google adding more features over time. The latest version (1.4 with Android 11) added support for 5G cell information.

On the OnePlus 11 (with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2), Android is using the CHRE for Fast Pair with “increased responsiveness” touted when setting up new Bluetooth headphones.

This is thanks to CHRE’s power efficiency which helps prepare information for the Application Processor while it’s asleep—so it’s ready near-instantly when you need it.

Looking ahead, Google says it’s “looking forward to seeing new partners incorporating support for CHRE.” In terms of functionality, “we imagine the tech being able to boost other Android features like Nearby Share.” This could, again, improve responsiveness when sharing files. The company frames this as an extension of its Better Together initiative, which saw its last major updates at CES 2023.  

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Abner Li

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