Is Project Treble really speeding up android upgrades

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Everyone wants latest OS and earliest upgrades to new version, Unfortunately most OEM proceed at the pace of turtle. Google stepped in to help them speeding up this process via Project Treble. So question is, Project Treble enabled phones will really upgrade faster?

Search giant announced most fundamental changes to Android OS framework during Google I/O 2017. The Project Treble transforms Android OS framework into modular base by separating Operating System from vendor code.

Project Treble Architecture
Project Treble Architecture

This allows OEMs to work on new software updates without having to wait for vendors (like Qualcomm or mediatek) to update their code.

What is Project Treble?

A Modular Android to Improve Software Updates

First, in order to understand what it is that new android treble architecture exactly does, it’s important for you to understand the general update process involved with each iteration of Android. Below is summarizes process consists approximately 5 or so steps:

  1. AOSP Release – Google publishes the source code of the new Android release
  2. Booting/Hardware Compatibility – Silicon manufacturers (Qualcomm, Samsung, Hisilicon, MediaTek, etc.) modify the source code so Android can boot on their chips, and all hardware on the chip functions as expected
  3. OEM Modifications – Then device manufacturers (OEMS such as Samsung, LG, Huawei/Honor, OnePlus, HTC, etc.) further modify source to implement their own software.
  4. QA/Testing – OEMs undergo testing phases of the software internally, and also test their software with their carrier partners.
  5. General Release – the update is eventually made available to end users over several weeks through OTA updates
Android OEM flowchart
Android OEM flowchart [image source googleblog]

Which are Treble enabled phones?

With these new changes, the vendor interface would be validated via Vendor Test Suite (VTS) to ensure forward compatibility of the vendor implementation. So any VTS validated phone is treble-enabled.

All Project Treble Phones must be able to boot a raw, generic AOSP build as well.

In other words Project Treble also allows developers to download generic ROMs and install them on the devices. ROM build should not be specifically tailored or built for that device or doesn’t need vendor codes. The same way we install Windows to any Intel or AMD powered computer.

According to Google, project treble will be rolled out with all devices that will launch with Android Oreo.

Does Project Treble Really Improves upgrades?

Few days back XDA member Mishaal Rahman booted stock Android Oreo on the Huawei Mate 9. Seeing Mate 9 meets requirements of project treble even it came with Android Nougat shows great potential of new architecture.

Mishaal claimed no modifications to kernel of Mate 9 to boot Android Oreo, which confirms project treble devices can boot generic AOSP ROM.

However it is just a start of Project Treble and there are handful devices that supports it so we can not see the full benefits of it before fair amount of Oreo devices. We could expect quickest possible upgrades between the Android OS after Android P will launch.

Android 8.0 Oreo Project Treble
Android 8.0 Oreo Project Treble [images source XDA]
Android Treble architecture allows OEMs to upgrade their phones in the matter of days. As Rahman achieved in 1 day only, which is a blazing fast compare to weeks and months.