Google's Project Treble Might Actually Fix Slow Android Updates


This changes that, or so Google says, with Treble being its "biggest change yet to low-level system architecture". Starting with new devices that ship with Android O, Google will introduce a new "vendor interface" between Android and the unique device implementations that will provide access to the hardware-specific parts of Android.

This isn't something that will be user-facing, meaning Project Treble isn't going to have any shiny new features or tools to play with as an end user.

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. To this day, many devices have to wait several months after their Google device counterparts just to receive the next major version of Android. They either take forever to do so, are constantly versions behind, or give-up on updates altogether as devices age and they struggle to justify the cost and time involved in getting them ready. Now, with Treble, it's one less step to getting out updates.

Silicon manufacturers pass the modified new release to device makers-the companies that design and manufacture Android devices.

This is achieved by the introduction of a new vendor interface between the Android OS framework and the vendor implementation.

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The best news is that this isn't a theoretical change or a proposal - it's up and running already in the bleeding-edge Android O preview that's running on a number of Pixel phones, and it'll be there in all O-powered devices.

But instead of apps, Treble will work to ensure that all the chips inside of phones function properly when Google releases the latest version of Android.

In addition to the architectural changes, Google is working with its partners to move their code changes into the common Android Open Source Project codebase.

Google will publish full Project Treble documentation with the launch of O later this summer. 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.