May 12, 2017

Google tries again to make Android updates easier


Google is trying, yet again, to address one of the thorniest problems in the Android world: Remarkably few phones get upgraded to the latest versions of the operating system. Announced ahead of next week's I/O developer conference, "Project Treble" is designed to reduce the burden on phone makers looking to support the latest versions.

"One thing we've consistently heard from our device-maker partners is that updating existing devices to a new version of Android is incredibly time consuming and costly," Iliyan Malchev, lead on Project Treble, said in a blog post. Malchev billed Treble as "the biggest change to the low-level system architecture of Android to date."

Why it matters: When users stay on older versions of Android they are more vulnerable to security issues and also fail to gain the benefits of new features, which could affect which device they buy the next time around.

How it works: Put simply, Google says Treble allows phone makers to keep the work they do on top of Android consistent from one version to the next.However, Google has tried before to improve the upgrade experience, without much success.

Here's a graphical depiction of Treble, provided by Google.

Go deeper