With the appearance of Android “O”, Google wants to introduce significant changes to the hitherto often very hesitant update procedure. Under the name of “Project Treble”, the company introduced an interface that will save manufacturers of smartphones in the future cumbersome and time-consuming adaptations of the operating system for the respectively used chipset. Older Android versions are not equipped according to the present information however with this function.
According to Google, Project Treble is the “biggest change to the low-level system architecture” of Android. Up to now, actually available updates of the operating system have to be sent to chip manufacturers such as MediaTek or Qualcomm, which then make a necessary adaptation to their hardware.
Only then is the revised version sent to the different smartphone manufacturers, which in turn also make necessary necessary adjustments. In a last step, The mobile operators are also included in this procedure, provided that a particular smartphone model e.g. is “branded”.
Including the necessary preparations, the actual implementation, the (hopefully taking) quality controls and a final certification, this step-by-step transfer is enormously time-consuming and occasionally leads to a clean coordination of the processes or the communication between the participants. As a result, the rollout of a new Android version is delayed by weeks or months, The development is also stopped completely in favor of urgently needed personnel capacities.
Already in the past year, first assumptions had surfaced, according to which Google worked in a simplification and modularization of the update process. In a newly released Android Compatibility Definition Document (CDD), there were indications that suggested a change of strategy from Google and could have a huge impact on the now unspeakable fragmentation of the Android system in the medium term.
The “” Vendor Interface “” introduced with Project Treble is intended to decouple the operating system from the further necessary adaptations of the chip manufacturers. Google could develop updates in the course of the development, without necessarily having to take care of certain model-specific hardware or the manufacturer-specific user interfaces. In turn, Qualcomm, MediaTek & Co. could develop updates of their chips, which do not necessarily require a change in the core functions of the operating system.
In a further step, hardware drivers of the respective manufacturer are also to be upwards compatible in the future. If an updated Android version is rolled out, the previously developed drivers can be adopted without further customization.
Finally, the disadvantages of Android are not solved with “Project Treble”. The effort for all involved is theoretically reduced, but the sole right to rollout an update is nobody – even not Google. Both the smartphone manufacturers and the mobile operators can opt against a certain update for a variety of reasons and refuse their cooperation.
Tomorrow’s Wednesday, Google’s developer conference i / o will start in California, where there will certainly be more details about Project Treble. If you want to deal professionally with the subject in the run-up, you can quickly grab your pixel smartphone: in the Developer Preview of Android O the system is already in use. At the same time, Google is already working with Fuchsia on an operating system, which – hopefully – prevents comparable shortcomings from the outset.