With Android 8.0 O, a new initiative will be introduced which is designed to ensure that users experience shorter waiting times for Android updates. Project Treble will simplify the update process for device manufacturers, which should in turn reduce delays.
Currently there is often a long wait to receive new versions of Android for anyone with non-Google hardware. And in many cases major updates do not arrive at all, leaving users running old editions of Android.
The current situation results in enthusiasts being frustrated with older software, while more widely there can be security issues with older versions of Android.
In order to update a device, not only do handset manufacturers have to ensure that their own user interfaces and software are compatible with a new operating system release, they first need support from silicon manufacturers.
The silicon manufacturers have to update the source code for their chips to ensure compatibility, before a handset maker can implement an update. It is this process that Project Treble has been designed to improve.
Google has described Project Treble as “the biggest change to the low-level system architecture of Android to date”. It will see Android become more modular, with the OS framework separating from the silicon manufacturers’ firmware.
As the new system will be introduced with Android O, many existing handset owners will not benefit.
Project Treble will simplify the update process for handset manufacturers, but work will still be required to roll out any new edition of Android. So while updates may be available faster in the future, it is unlikely that companies currently reluctant to invest significantly in providing updates will suddenly become willing to do so.