May 19th, 2017

Google last week announced Project Treble and touched more on it a bit at Google I/O this week. In case you haven’t heard, Project Treble is an effort by Google to separate the Android OS framework from the vendor’s — or OEM’s — customizations in order to allow OEMs to deliver Android updates faster without having to do a whole ton of system-level testing.

This should hopefully mean that OEMs will not only deliver updates faster than we’re used to, but also offer more of them instead of the usual 2-year cutoff point we’ve become used to. This obviously still depends on them and the resources they feel they can spare to keep older devices updated, but it’s a start to something better.

Project Treble’s necessity becomes clear when you consider that it also aims to solve one of the biggest issues that keep most OEMs from being able to further update their phones, and that’s typically due to chipset vendors not supplying updated drivers to support the newest version of Android.

With Project Treble, the goal is to decouple that hardware code from the base Android framework so OEMs can make their modifications and customizations without having to wait for their vendors and hardware partners to supply new code. This also means less testing that has to be done, because at that point they’re essentially just writing custom apps and making visual changes to the Android OS.

Google revealed that the Pixel phones are currently the only ones on the market that will support Project Treble after a software update. Any other phones will have to launch with Android O to get that same love. That does nothing for most of the current Android-owning faithful, but we’re hoping this means faster and more consistent updates for future devices in the long run.

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