Android O To Make Software Updates Easier And Faster For OEMs

Google is working on speeding up the release of Android updates. “Project Treble”, a feature inside Android O, will allow manufacturers to update their devices without having to wait for chip partners.

Project Treble is essentially a vendor interface that will lie between the Android OS framework and the individual manufacturer’s software. The manufacturer’s software is specific to each device and developed by chip-makers. Project Treble will be powered by Vendor Test Suite (VTS) and help to make sure that the chips inside in each device will function correctly with each Android update.

project treble flow chart

According to Google, “With a stable vendor interface providing access to the hardware-specific parts of Android, 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.”

It is currently unclear whether manufacturers will still need to update Android’s code for each device, or if Project Treble will do the work for them. This feature will not be applicable on older devices and will only be available on newer devices with Android O and beyond. Project Treble is currently available on Pixel phones using the O Developer Preview.
android o with treble
Android update fragmentation has been a reoccurring problem for Google over the last few years. Android Nougat was released eight months ago, but is only available on roughly 7% of Android devices. It is therefore uncertain whether Project Treble will have much of an impact unless consumers purchase new devices with Android O.

Android O promises to be a major overhaul. Google has introduced “Background limits” which will help to prevent background apps from eating up battery life. They have also incorporated notification channels, which can group notifications into user-defined categories. Other features include adaptive icons and Picture-in-Picture, which will allow users to have an overlay video window when working in another app.

Google will provide more information about Android O and Project Treble at their I/O conference next week.