Google, Android

Android updates is a problem has been one of the most prominent issue Google has been trying to eradicate since a long time. And now, Google is out with Project Treble to specifically target this issue. As per the project, all operating systems, starting with Android O, are being re-designed in order to make the updates faster, easier and more cost effective for the manufacturers.

Project Treble is more or less a venture which has derived its inspiration from the Compatibility Test Suite, which allows developers to create several apps capable of working on all sorts of phones and tablets, without seeking any modification for any of these devices.

By introducing a new modular architecture, Google is actually segregating the vendor implementation from the Android OS Framework. The vendor implementation here refers to the lower-level software which is device specific and is written mostly by the silicon manufacturers themselves.

This is achieved by the introduction of a new vendor interface between the Android OS framework and the vendor implementation. The new vendor interface is validated by a Vendor Test Suite (VTS), analogous to the CTS, to ensure forward compatibility of the vendor implementation.

A bulk of Android code needed to be replaced with the new ones every time a new version of the operating system was launched– but this was the scenario before the introduction of Project Treble.

…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.

Meanwhile, it has also been stated that Project Treble’s updates will not be applicable to older devices, as it will be  “coming to all new devices launched with Android O and beyond”. The Pixel devices operating on  the current O Developer Preview is also running the Project Treble architecture.

However, a lot of work still needs to be done before Android updates reach the level Google wants them to. Updating existing devices to a new version of Android is time consuming and costly to OEMs and this, is part of why manufacturers drag their feet while delivering updates to their smartphones. This problem will still persist until further changes are made.

The compete set of Project Treble’s documentation will be published along with the launch of Android O, sometime later this season.

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