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Meet Google's Project Treble, and how you could fix Android updates

Meet Google's Project Treble, and how you could fix Android updates

My main complaint – and that of many – with Android is what terribly implemented that are the operating system updates on the phones. In no other modern operating system – counting Windows 10, MacOS, iOS – updates are so poorly handled, as in Android. It can take months (or years) of waiting until you get the latest version. And this problem persists even on high-end phones, for which we pay $ 700 or $ 800. It is, at this point, and with Android for serving a decade since it was launched, something unacceptable.

Not only because millions of people are left without being able to enjoy the improvements that each new model brings, but also because over time, faults and errors are discovered in the operating system. Security holes that may never be patched. Looking across the field, with the iPhone, all phones compatible with the operating system receive the update the same day. The moment iOS 11 comes out, all phones will be able to update that day; And many times, phones with 3 or 4 years old are still compatible with this version of the OS. A clear contrast. Of course, for Apple it is much easier, since it has total control over each of the phones, and there are few models (against the thousands of different models of Android phones that we have in the market). But we also have Microsoft, with Windows 10, where they have minimal control of the hardware. Sure, PCs offer a different architecture, modular from the start, rather than closed, integrated systems like Android. There is no real direct comparison, but The way in which Google has handled the issue of updates, leaves a lot to be desired. When you buy an Android phone, you must resign yourself to having the phone as such, without having updates. Considering that most of the benefits now come through the software, this is really detrimental to the operating system.

Luckily, Google plans to improve this with Android O and what it calls Project Treble.. Yes, this means that current phones in Marshmellow or Nougat may not benefit from this update system, but it is good to see that Google is trying to deal with this problem again. Yes, you've tried it before (remember the Android Update Alliance and the multiple promises of periodic and quick updates, that it never came to anything?). Project Treble looks more promising because it does not depend on the empty promises of the manufacturers, but on a restructuring of how Android works, so that Google can push the updates without interference.

This is how Android updates currently work on the phones we have on the market today:

Android comes to market, with a new version. This goes to silicone manufacturers (chip / processor manufacturers) to ensure compatibility. Then, this happens to the device manufacturers, who modify it according to their needs (Touchwiz, Sense UI, and the various modifications that are carried out with Android), and also with the modifications for each operator (additional software of the carriers). This finally passes through the Carriers, the operators, who seek Technical Acceptance to validate that the phone is working properly. After this long process, it finally reaches the hands of consumers.

Project Treble will change all this, modularizing the way Android works, separating the Android code from the specific hardware code. . It is not a complete solution, since Project Treble does not take into account the modifications made by the manufacturers to Android, nor the apps of the operators. Treble, in essence, allows the manufacturer to save hours modifying the code of the Framework that previously had to be updated . However, this is not a complete solution, since manufacturers would still have to modify Android with its interfaces and over put them the additional software of the operators.

Those who benefit, in these cases, are those who buy smartphones with or near pure Android. Unlocked and pure Android phones like the Essential Phone, for example, or the Nokia 8, or even unlocked Motorola phones, could receive future updates to Android much, much faster, since these phones have a pure Android version, almost unchanged.

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Although this does not solve the entire problem, and Android updates will still depend on how much interest the manufacturer has in updating the phone (versus how much interest it has in selling the new version to us), as the update process becomes less complicated, The less hazy, and the more companies start updating their phones, this will gradually become one more requirement – although it should already be – when choosing which phone to buy.

Via Android Development Blog