A new built-in feature in Google’s latest mobile operating system version, Android O, called “Project Treble” will apparently make it faster and cheaper for OEMs to push updates to their users’ devices. Essentially, the feature takes the chip maker out of the update equation using a Vendor Interface, so vendors can quickly implement the Android OS framework.

This is how it currently works:

Android O

Now, with the chipmaker out of the picture, vendors will be able to save time and money when pushing out updates, either directly to end users, or for the purpose of technical acceptance from carriers.

Until now, there has been no formal vendor interface, but the new architecture, which also introduces an additional Vendor Test Suite (VTS) between the OS framework and vendor implementation, will ensure compatibility of the framework across various types of vendor hardware.

Before Android O and Treble

Android O with Treble

The VTS is analogous to the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), says the Android team. While the CTS was intended to bring in cross-vendor and cross-device compatibility for apps on the Google Play Store, the VTS offers the same for the Android OS framework itself.

In short, it will cost vendors less, and take them less time, to implement a new version of Android for their users. The Treble feature will be available on Android O and all future versions of Android.

The big question that remains unanswered now is: when are OEM devices actually going to get Android O?

Even Android Nougat is still only on 7 percent of all Android devices around the world, and one of the problems has been slow implementation. That defines the sort of fragmentation that the Android ecosystem currently faces.

This is a solid move by Google in the right direction, but we’ll have to wait and see how effective it is. The only benchmark we can use is install base once the OS has been released to all vendors outside the Pixel/Nexus ecosystem, and that might only happen after the launch of the Google Pixel 2 line of smartphones in the second half of 2017.

Oh, there’s actually one more question that needs answering: does “Treble” refer to the tripling of speed of vendor updates, or the high-pitched screams of frustrated vendors whenever a new Android version comes out?

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Source: Android Dev Blog