Project Treble is the future of Android OS updates.
The Android O devs recently took time off from their busy coding schedules to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) over on Reddit. The Google devs touched on some of the new features to expect from the next flavor of the Android OS, such as advanced theming, the SafetyNet feature, autofill and blob emoji concerns, and more importantly, Project Treble.
Devices with Android O will have Treble out of the box. In a nutshell, Treble will streamline the back-and-forth process in which Android updates are handled between device manufacturer and Google. The project aims to make the process more efficient and cheaper for manufacturers to keep their devices updated whenever a new Android OS build is pushed out.
As posted by a Google dev on the AMA:
“Devices launching with Android O will come Treble-enabled out of the box. Project Treble will make it easier, faster and less costly for device maker partners when these devices are updated in the future. In addition to the engineering changes, which enable Project Treble on all new devices launched with Android O and beyond, we’re working closely with device makers and silicon manufacturers to both get required Android customizations (such as carrier-specific requirements) into AOSP, and reduce their cost and complexity when updating to the new version of Android. For example, Sony and Qualcomm have already contributed dozens of features and hundreds of bugfixes into AOSP so they no longer need to rework these patches with each new release of Android.”
What is Project Treble? (from TechRadar)
Project Treble is being angled as Google’s proper fix for the nasty, notorious clog that prevents new Android operating system updates from reaching more device makers and thus, more consumers in a timely manner.
More specifically, Treble takes aim at the vendor implementation, a slice of the Android architecture that talks with the hardware inside of the phone. Previous updates to the OS have required device makers to undertake the costly, code-heavy task of completely retooling it, according to Google. This is likely the cause for delay for most manufacturers, and why some seem to take a stance against updating at all.
Google’s bold move is to make the vendor implementation futureproof from the point of manufacturing. Its device partners can focus solely on updating the rest of the Android framework, which seems like more than enough work on its own.
In the past, the fervent pleas from the smartphone community seem to be persuasive enough to sway companies into updating devices, but if Treble actually changes things, it could remove anyone’s need to protest in the first place.