Google has unveiled a new system that aims to streamline vendor Android updates. It’s called Project Treble, and Google says it’s the “biggest change yet to low-level system architecture.”
Treble is technically a vendor interface that sits between the Android OS framework and the device-specific, lower-level software written by chipmakers.
It’s powered by the new Vendor Test Suite (VTS) and is conceptually similar to the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), which lets developers write apps that work across devices running on different hardware from different manufacturers.
But instead of apps, Treble will work to ensure that all the chips inside of phones function properly when Google releases the latest version of Android.
“Today, with no formal vendor interface, a lot of code across Android needs to be updated when a device moves to a newer version of Android,” Google wrote in the Android developers blog.
“With a stable vendor interface providing access to the hardware-specific parts of Android, device makers can choose to deliver a new Android release to consumers by just updating the Android OS framework without any additional work required from the silicon manufacturers.”
The catch is that Project Treble’s updates will not apply to older devices, only new devices released with Android O and beyond. However, the Project Treble architecture is currently running on Pixel phones using the O Developer Preview.
Google says it plans to publish full Project Treble documentation with the launch of O later this summer.