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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

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
4 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

4 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.