Google may finally have a solution for the agony of Android updates

Google expedites Android updates with Project Treble
Google announces Project Treble, a modular base for Android aiming to make updates faster
Author

13 May, 2017

If you're not familiar with how Android updates work, here's a summary.

With a stable vendor interface providing access to the hardware-specific parts of Android", said Treble head Iliyan Malchev, "device makers can choose to deliver a new Android release to consumers by just updating the Android OS framework without any additional work required from the silicon manufacturers.

Easily the most annoying aspect of using an Android phone (with the exception of Pixel/Nexus) is slow updates. Google will work with chipset manufacturers to make sure the Vendor interface is forwards-compatible, and the interface will be validated by a Vendor Test Suite (VTS).

With the new more modular architecture, Google is separating the vendor implementation - or device-specific, lower-level software written in large part by the silicon manufacturers - from the Android OS Framework. Your handset's manufacturer will still add its own "features" on top of the new Android release, and some of those will still need rewriting. Vendor-implemented Android needed to go with the update.

It's just five days until the Google I/O keynote but the company can't help itself: it has pre-announced what could be one of the most important changes to Android since its inception. If users are lucky, they might get an OS update six months down the line, at which point Google has already moved on to an even newer version of Android.

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With Project Treble, the new Android update can (supposedly) be dropped right on top of the existing vendor implementation, potentially cutting SoC vendors like Qualcomm out of the update process.

All about that Treble: While we still have a long time to wait to see if Project Treble actually does what Google says it will, for the first time since Android launched, we have hope.

For now, we just have limited information.

Google plans to publish the full documentation for Project Treble on source.android.com with the launch of O later this summer.


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