Ever since the Android ecosystem took over, updating smartphones have almost been an impossible task. Google releases a new Android dessert, but it never reaches all devices. Only Nexus, Pixel and a handful of Android devices get the big updates, while others are left stranded with minor patches. OEMs have been feeling the pressure of this for quite a while, but it was something they couldn’t contain. This is why, Google, ahead of I/O 2017, has dropped a bombshell of a blog post, promising it is finally doing something about the update issue. The company is working on Project Treble, a feature in Android O which the search giant says will make it “easier, faster, and less costly for manufacturers” to update their phones to newer versions of Android.
Previously, manufacturers had to wait for chipmakers to modify the new Android release source code according to their own specific hardware. After receiving the modified release from chip makers, OEMs had to tweak the software for their own devices and test it with carriers, in order to make it ready for the final users. The entire process proved incredibly time consuming and costly for the manufacturers.
Project Treble Coming With Android O
However, Project Treble aims to simplify this process by creating a separate vendor interface between the Android OS framework and the vendor implementation. It will allow manufacturers to update their phones without having to make a ton of software changes. Google claims it will work with chip makers to ensure the vendor interface is compatible beforehand, and the validation of that will be done by a Vendor Test Suite (VTS).
“Project Treble aims to do what CTS did for apps, for the Android OS framework. The core concept is to separate the vendor implementation – the device-specific, lower-level software written in large part by the silicon manufacturers – from the Android OS Framework. 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,” read the blog post.
Essentially, Google has split apart its own work on Android from the work that its hardware partners do on Android to make sure it works with their latest chips. If Treble works like Google says, companies will be able to issue Android updates just by updating the Android OS framework, without waiting for a chip partner to first send along software updates.
While it’s still not clear if Project Treble removes all the issues associated with smartphone updates, it does sound like an enticing offering. From what we see, Google will reveal more details about Treble and its vendor interface at the I/O, which kicks off on Wednesday. However, it’s worthy to note that we won’t be seeing this feature until Android O officially launches later this year.