Google announces Project Treble to allow OEMs to deliver faster Android updates

Project Treble cuts down the amount of hardware-accessing code that needs to be written by wrapping all of it in one package that developers can just re-use across each new version of Android. Android 7.1 (which came out last year) now sits at 0.5% marketshare, and brand new phones are still being released with 6.0 Marshmallow. We've seen a few efforts the Update Alliance, we've seen vendors pledge to keep up with updates (and fail), and most recently we've seen Google start to enforce adherence to Android's regular security patches. And if you don't have a flagship phone, you're lucky to get an update at all. Google says that it would be active for the "devices launched with Android O and beyond". By removing much of the legwork required by manufacturers to push out a new update to Android, devices that ship with Android O should have a much easier time adhering to Google's security and version upgrade schedule. In a nutshell, it aims to significantly lessen the burden on third-party phone manufacturers so they can deliver updates in a timely fashion. They then pass the edited code to device makers, who incorporate the new software, making changes as needed.

Device makers work with carriers to test and certify the new release. However, the Project Treble architecture is now running on Pixel phones using the O Developer Preview. The inspiration behind Project Treble is Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) that will enable developers to write apps that would be compatible with the billion of Android devices.

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Google says it'll release more information about Project Treble this summer, but says it's already built into the Android O preview. 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. There aren't many other details on how this system will work just yet, but given Google I/O is happening next week, we expect to hear more very soon.


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