Google's Project Treble aims to end Android fragmentation

Google's Project Treble aims to end Android fragmentation

Google's Project Treble aims to end Android fragmentation

Google's Project Treble aims to end Android fragmentation

Since the beginning of the Android ecosystem, it has always been difficult to keep devices updated with the most recent version of the OS. While Google branded devices like the Nexus and Pixel series have been frequently updated with the latest builds of Android, 3rd party device makers have always been slow on the update of these improved builds.    
More often than not, new devices get one or two major OS updates within the device's lifespan, with many never receiving these updates. This is not due to the laziness of developer of the lack of funding from OEM system makers, but due to the simple fact that there are many development stages that OEMs have no control over, which often delays their updates for a significant amount of time.   

There are 3 major steps when issuing a new version of Android to an OEM device, which includes steps for Silicon manufacturers and device makers, with Google planning to decrease the number of steps thanks to Project Treble.

  1. 1. Silicon manufacturers (Qualcomm, Samsung Exynos, etc) "modify the new release for their specific hardware" and do things like make sure drivers and power management will still work.
  2. 2. OEMs (Samsung, LG, HTC) step in and "modify the new release again as needed for their devices." This means making sure all the hardware works, rebranding Android with a custom skin, adding OEM apps, and modifying core parts of the Android OS to add special features like (before 7.0) multi-window support.
  3. 3. Carriers add more apps, more branding, and "test and certify the new release."


Project Treble is designed to eliminate Step 1 from this equation, separating the OS framework from vendor specific hardware code, which means that devices can be updated to a new version of Android without the involvement of a Silicon vendor, though OEM modifications are still required. 

Silicon vendors will now be required to pass a "Vendor Test suite" (VTS) that will allow vendors to ensure compatibility with future android implementations. Google says that VTS compliant vendors will be able to deliver new android releases to consumers by updating the OS framework, without implementing any changes to their vendor interface. 

Google's Project Treble aims to end Android fragmentation



Google has not released their full documentation on Treble at this time, but they call the change the "the biggest change to the low-level system architecture of Android to date". This change will come with Android O, which is set to release later this year. 

This update will allow OEMs who use "stock" Android on their devices to issue OS updates with a completely "hands-off" approach, though the majority of vendors who release customised implementations of Android will still need to take their time modifying their UI and adding their own custom apps and features. 

Project Treble will make it easier to update Android devices, though it will sadly not help to motivate developers as updating highly customised configurations will still be a hugely time-consuming and costly process.  

Future "Treble enabled" devices will push the blame of slow OS updates directly to OEMs, which should hopefully deliver enough consumer pressure for vendors to offer better support for their devices. Soon we will be finding out which vendors care about creating updates and which care more about making excuses. 


You can join the discussion on Google's Project Treble on the OC3D Forums


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Most Recent Comments

16-05-2017, 13:01:47

All you custom Android peasants. Not using a Nexus or a Pixel! Shame on you! I get updates within weeks
(Not meant to be offensive)Quote

16-05-2017, 21:59:24

I have a Nexus 7 and it stopped receiving updates at 5.0.1 I think ... Damn you google!Quote

16-05-2017, 22:08:27

Originally Posted by Raphael View Post
I have a Nexus 7 and it stopped receiving updates at 5.0.1 I think ... Damn you google!
Nexus devices are only supported for 2 yearsQuote

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