While Android has seen drastic improvements and dramatic changes over the last few years, one area that still plagues Google’s OS has been the speed of updates. Unless you have a Nexus or Pixel device, the chances are you’ll receive Google’s updates a few months after they’re officially released. That’s in part due to manufacturers’ custom skins and carrier testing, but as Google outlined a week ago, it also has something to do with chipmakers.
The company has to first make sure that OS updates are compatible with various processors, and that’s why Google sends any updates to silicon companies before OEMs. With Android O, Google wants to change that and essentially give direct access to hardware-specific parts to device makers. That eliminates the process of silicon companies having to test software updates in the first place, resulting in faster updates for end-users. In theory, at least.
Though Google specified that the Pixel and the Pixel XL will receive OS updates for two years and security patches for three years, Project Treble could mean that theoretically, longer software support could be possible.
Well, it turns out Google’s very own flagships – the Pixel and the Pixel XL – will be running on Project Treble once Android O launches this summer. Though Google previously stated that only phones shipping with Android O will work with Project Treble, it looks like the Pixel devices will be an exception. What this means is that software updates for Pixel phones are less likely to be confined by chipset limitations; what happened to the Nexus 5 due to Snapdragon and Android Nougat incompatibility issues is now a less of a problem with Project Treble. Though Google specified that the Pixel and the Pixel XL will receive OS updates for two years and security patches for three years, Project Treble could mean that theoretically, longer software support could be possible.
While there are other issues to consider when rolling out major OS updates (how will it affect the device’s overall performance, will it affect hardware sales, etc.), and while it’ll ultimately be up to Google to decide, here’s hoping that Android devices will see prompt and sustained support starting with Android O like iOS devices.
Are you excited about Project Treble? How important are software updates for you? Let us know in the comments below!