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Thursday, 01 June 2017 00:01

Google Has A Fix For One Of Android's Biggest Problems

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For years, one of the biggest downsides to owning an Android device was how long it took software updates to arrive. Another was how quickly those updates dried up. Google has been working hard with Android OEMs, chipmakers, and wireless carriers to improve the situation, though, and a recently-unveiled project could make a huge difference.

Image: Google

Image: Google

The way things are right now, getting an Android update to your phone isn't nearly as simple as Google tweaking some code and sending it your way. The companies making the processors that power the devices need to perform tests to make sure everything still works the way it's supposed to. Manufacturers need to check for interference with their numerous customizations and pre-installed apps. Last but not least, wireless carriers have test their apps and ensure that connectivity isn't adversely affected.

There's a considerable amount of effort involved and Google's official announcement notes that the current process is "incredibly time consuming and costly." To ease the burden, Google will introduce a major change in Android O it's calling Project Treble.

With Project Treble, the core Android operating system will be fully separated from any of the vendor modifications  that companies like Samsung and AT&T need to make. Those companies will simply be able to re-apply their code to any Android updates Google sends along. That should lead to updates arriving on your device much more quickly, which is a very good thing. Running a fully-patched device is, after all, one of the best ways to avoid a nasty malware infection.

That's one major problem with Android updates tackled, but what the lack of longevity? Project Treble may help there, too. If it's easier for vendors to sign off on updates it's stands to reason that they'll be willing to keep doing it for longer stretches. Catching up to iOS (Apple has provided updates for as long as 5 years) might not be realistic, but most Android users are lucky to receive updates for two years. Any improvement on that would be welcome.

It all sounds very promising, but there is one major downside to Project Treble. While any future devices that launch with Android O will reap the benefits, most current-gen Android phones and tablets won't. So far, only the Pixel and Pixel XL are sure things.

Source: This article was published on forbes.com by Lee Mathews

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