Google’s Project Treble Brings Modular Base For Android, Could Help OEMs Deliver Faster Software Updates

Google’s Android OS enjoys the top spot with a market share of over 85 percent, but the fragmentation issue continues to persist. As a result, not all smartphones receive timely updates with bug fixes, vulnerability patches and new features. Manufacturers have always complained about the time, resources and amount of testing it takes to ensure proper roll out of Android updates. Google has been trying to make things as simple as possible, and the its Project Treble aims to further ease things.

Last year, Google had reportedly prepared a list of Android smartphone manufacturers and ranked them based on how quickly they roll out latest security patches and OS updates. The search giant had also shared the list with manufacturers, mentioning that it is planning to make the list public. While that didn’t work, Google has now decided to take matter into its own hands with Project Treble.

The Android OS update process

With every update, Google works on the new features, optimizations and under the hood changes. Once all this is one, Google publishes the open source code for developers and manufacturers to work with. Now, even with this, OEMs need to work with the Android team to make the source code compatible with their own devices. For instance, the Redmi Note 4 is offered in three RAM and storage variants.


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Also, Redmi Note 4 smartphones sold in China are powered by MediaTek SoC, whereas the ones sold in India are powered by Qualcomm’s SoC. Xiaomi has to ensure that the OS runs smoothly on all variants. On top of that, software developer team also has to integrate a layer of custom UI and implement changes in the final software build. Same goes with other manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung, LG, Oppo, Vivo and others too. However, all of these delays in the software update process could soon be reduced with Project Treble.

What is Project Treble?

Google’s upcoming operating system, Android O, will come with Project Treble functionality. It aims to change the low-level system architecture of Android OS. “With Project Treble, we’re re-architecting Android to make it easier, faster and less costly for manufacturers to update devices to a new version of Android,” Project Treble team lead Iliyan Malchev said in a blog post.

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After Google Releases the Source Code, chipset manufacturers modify the code for compatibility with existing hardware. In countries such as the UK, manufacturers also had to accommodate the code changes for career regulations too. But all that process is set to go away.

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Under the new software code guidelines, OEMs can simply deliver updates by updating the Android OS framework. This is achieved by introducing a new vendor interface between vendor implementation and the core Android OS. This also means that OEMs don’t have to work with chipset manufacturers to add complex coding frameworks and driver compatibility.

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Still, the big problem remains

Sure, Project Treble will make a lot of things easier for manufacturers. But one of the major issues here is that Project Treble implementation will only be available with Android O and beyond. This also means that the benefits of Project Treble will be available with devices coming pre-installed with Android O, or the ones that will be getting the update in early next year.

Even with all these changes, Google will not be able to beat Apple’s with its instant updates. But still, we expect the move to help speed the Android update process, down from six to eight months, to somewhere close to three months or less. It remains to be seen how beneficial this turns out to be in real-life scenario.

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Google’s Project Treble brings modular base for Android, could help OEMs deliver faster software updates
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