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Google's "Project Trebble" will modularize Android to make updates faster
13 May 2017, 01:24 | Virginia Benson
In a post on its developer's blog, Google unveiled a sneak peek at Project Treble, which it says is "the biggest change to the low-level system architecture of Android to date". Starting with new devices that ship with Android O, Google will introduce a new "vendor interface" between Android and the unique device implementations that will provide access to the hardware-specific parts of Android. Android's underlying architecture requires updated drivers for device components as new versions of the operating system are released, and some vendors don't like to update drivers for old components, and not necessarily in a timely fashion. That's the dream, really - for those that wish to get Android updates. In a nutshell, Google's work here is to make it easier for manufacturers to push the new software that you so desire to your phone, cutting down on the time and money requirements that was previously necessary. Device makers modify the new release again as needed for their devices.
Treble is technically a vendor interface that sits between the Android OS framework and the device-specific, lower-level software written by chipmakers.
Carriers add more apps, more branding, and "test and certify the new release". The inspiration behind Project Treble is Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) that will enable developers to write apps that would be compatible with the billion of Android devices. It's only that, with Project Treble, no additional work will be required from silicon manufacturers before a device maker can get into that process.
The best news is that this isn't a theoretical change or a proposal - it's up and running already in the bleeding-edge Android O preview that's running on a number of Pixel phones, and it'll be there in all O-powered devices.
After Google publishes the open-source code for the latest release, chip manufacturers have to modify the script for their hardware. Google has announced this week that they're initiating a so-called "Project Treble" to make that a reality. But we expect to hear a lot more about it at Google I/O next week.
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