Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Feb 2018 01:08 UTC
Android

If I look back through all of the years we have covered Android, it’s hard to argue that the introduction of Google Play Edition phones wasn’t one of the biggest moments. In those early years, the Android skin situation was bad. Those early versions of TouchWiz, MotoBlur, and even HTC Sense, weren’t what many of us wanted, to say the least. We wanted Google’s version of Android, as well as their Nexus update schedules, yet that was tough to get because Google was making average hardware at the time.

While Google Play Edition may have failed as a program, I get the feeling that Android One will now act as a proper replacement to it.

Stop trying to make timely Android updates happen. It's not going to happen.

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Treble baseline will be a good start
by gld59 on Fri 23rd Feb 2018 03:20 UTC
gld59
Member since:
2012-11-09

Project Treble seems to me to be the critical first step to widespread timely updates. I'm hoping that once *all* the non-generic stuff is separated out into "safe" locations, it may be possible for Google (or Lineage, Unlegacy, OmniROM etc) to push out updates the same way Apple does. With ship-with-Oreo devices starting to appear, I suppose we'll soon see what Treble makes possible.

Reply Score: 6

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yes, I think that may make it much easier for google to provide the Android one experience on top of any Trebble enabled device. I also recall hearing that Google was going to provide financial incentives with oems to get trebble working for upgrades to oreo.

I imagine they could be thinking that they could also financially ease the pain of doing Android one devices.

Reply Score: 5

avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

The best thing about Treble is that it is required for phones that ship-with-8.0. So Treble is almost guaranteed to solve the update-mess in the long-long-run

However, 1 year into Android 8, with 8.1 already there and 9.0 knocking on the door there are hardly any* 8.0 devices and many of those didn't ship with 8.0 so they don't have the Treble guarantee. The result: https://www.androidpolice.com/2017/11/26/phones-updated-support-proj...

* https://android.gadgethacks.com/news/almost-year-later-android-oreo-...

Reply Score: 3

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Treble is required for 8.x phones, but OEMs are the ones supposed to deliver the updates anyway.

Reply Score: 3

avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

Very good point. I had forgotten about that. So even if you would buy an Android phone with 8.1 on it in the next few months, having Treble on it, that doesn't mean that you are guaranteed any updates by the OEM. And even if the OEM makes them available the carrier might still block them. I don't think that will be the norm but we all know that will happen.

Basically Treble is Googles way to say "We have done our part, now it is up to the OEMs and carriers to do theirs".

It should make alternative ROMS a whole lot easier though!

Reply Score: 4

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I can't understand why they let carriers get involved at all. Didn't Windows Mobile 5 and 6 teach these companies anything about what letting carriers get involved in the software would cause? I'll give Apple this: they did learn and one of their big stipulations was that no carrier could alter iOS at all, and thank goodness they had the sense to do that!

Reply Score: 3

sj87 Member since:
2007-12-16

Android is open source and Google cannot really prevent third parties from fiddling with the Android code. They can only introduce certain generic requirements through the Android compatibility certification programme.

Reply Score: 3

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

There is this thing called contracts, and legal requirements for device certification for accessing Google services.

If Google was actually serious about updates, they could enforce that outdated devices were ruled out of their servers.

I bet in no time OEMs would all start behaving.

Reply Score: 4

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Android is open source and Google cannot really prevent third parties from fiddling with the Android code. They can only introduce certain generic requirements through the Android compatibility certification programme.

Well there could be, say, a requirement of only modifying Android via participation in Google development process ...though this would probably work against Android (the ~licensed/certified brand, at least) adoption/popularity.

Reply Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

It is not going to happen, because even with Treble Google does not want to bully OEMs, so they are the ones pushing the updates, if they want.

http://androidbackstage.blogspot.de/2017/08/episode-75-project-treb...

Also OEMs that upgrade from Nougat to Oreo aren't obliged to certify their devices for being Treble compliant.

https://www.androidauthority.com/project-treble-818225/

So the majority of new devices scheduled for 2018, are actually mostly being released with Nougat on them.

Currently the dashboard shows 1.1% Oreo devices and Google I/O 2018 with AndroidP is around the corner.

Treble will be yet another failed attempt.

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Agreed, Treble won't solve update issues. It will lessen the barrier to them. Its a huge boon to ROM makers. I think we might see a resurgence of them in 2 years when there are more native Oreo with Treble devices .


Samsung isn't bringing Treble with Oreo updates. I doubt anyone really will. :/ So 2019 is really going to be year one of Treble.

Reply Score: 4

Re:
by kurkosdr on Fri 23rd Feb 2018 09:56 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

Even my Google Play Edition(TM) Nexus 5 won't get timely updates and upgrades. Even my Nexus Player took forever to receive Oreo. Every Nexus ever made won't receive Android 9. Stop blaming the OEMs when even Google won't update anything other than a couple of select models they made. Welcome to the world of Linux and custom kernels. Are we missing the MS EULA yet which prevents everyone else than the OS vendor from mucking around the OS? (they can add stuff on top but not muck about with the OS itself, even the drivers are separated via a defined ABI).

Edited 2018-02-23 09:59 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE: Re:
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 23rd Feb 2018 17:28 UTC in reply to "Re:"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Understood, Theoretically Google learned from the update issues of nexus devices, which led to the creation of the pixel line with Treble.

It will be years before we know what the end result will be. I don't blame anyone from thinking the status quo won't change. But I have a small amount of hope it will.

Reply Score: 2

Nope
by wocowboy on Fri 23rd Feb 2018 12:37 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

Even Project Treble is not going to help the Android update debacle. Several phone manufacturers, including OnePlus, have indicated that they do not intend to follow the Treble program, so I do not have much faith that it will be a factor at all going forward. There are some fantastic phones being put on the market by these companies, but until they actually provide the privacy, security, and data-security updates and OS updates that Google puts out on a day/date basis, I will never buy any of them.

Despite whatever problems people claim to have with Apple and iOS, as an iOS/iPhone user, I can rest assured that I will receive an annual major OS update for my iPhone on the day and date that it is released, regular interim updates and emergency updates within a few days of when the problem is reported to fix problems that crop up during the life of my phone. One simply cannot say that with Android, it just won't happen. And that is just sad.

Edited 2018-02-23 12:41 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Sailfish OS
by leech on Fri 23rd Feb 2018 18:05 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

Sad thing is, I see Sailfish OS updates more often than I do Android or even iOS ones. And I don't even really pay that much attention to them!

Reply Score: 1

Updates
by grat on Fri 23rd Feb 2018 19:28 UTC
grat
Member since:
2006-02-02

Stop trying to make timely Android updates happen. It's not going to happen.


And here I just installed the February 2018 security update for Android 8.1.0.

Reply Score: 6

Yeah, just give up.
by Soulbender on Sat 24th Feb 2018 05:30 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Stop trying to make timely Android updates happen. It's not going to happen.


Yeah, just stop trying to make things better. Just give up, that's the best solution.
Is this the Dutch way of making progress?

Reply Score: 5

cmost
Member since:
2006-07-16

Frankly, I think all OEM phones should have the option to run vanilla Android with updates directly from Google. Customers should have the option when they purchase the phone to run a special reset that installs vanilla Android with Treble enabled and then let Google manage the updates going forward. Sure, maybe customers will have to sign a waiver releasing the OEM and the carrier from any liability should an update bork the phone but I'd be willing to bet that many customers would take the risk.

Google had the right idea years ago when it made several popular OEM phones available as 'Nexus' phones in its store. I remember the Samsung S5 was one of them. I'd really like to see something like this come back.

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Frankly, I think all OEM phones should have the option to run vanilla Android with updates directly from Google.


The only way to do that is to completely separate the carrier and end user software.

Reply Score: 2

Lobotomik
Member since:
2006-01-03

Project Treble adds a hardware abstraction layer in the Linux kernel which in my (exxtremely modest) understanding, was sorely missing because in my (exxtremely limited) understanding, it ran against the grain of what Linux devs like.

Linux devs want the source for all the drivers be there in the open, so they can be updated and recompiled as the Linux kernel evolves. Variability in the internal APIs can be skirted by reworks in the drivers, and the APIs can evolve.

But people who write the drivers for cameras, gyros, gp-eses, touchscreens and the myriad peripherals inside the typical cellphone system-on-chip are not interested in that scheme. They want to write as little code as possible and get it over with. Oh, and keeping that code nicely locked in a fiercely defended Git or Perforce server. GPL what?

Project Treble adds a versioned and themed API whereby old binary drivers will be able to link with new kernels, as long as the API level for that type of peripheral is still supported. So what we need now is Treble-compatible kernels and drivers, which are not thick on the ground.

And here is what (I think) is Qualcomm's roadblock. They do not seem to be releasing Treble-compatible kernels for their existing chips, so anything running, say, a Snapdragon 835 or earlier, will never ever get Treble support. But any newer QC chip, 4xx, 6xx or 8xx will come with a Treble-enabled Linux kernel from Qualcomm, so cellphones will eventually be compatible out of the box.

Samsung uses QC SOCs, so no Treble yet either -- though I'm sure the GS9 will have it. But Huawei has updated the kernels for its own more modern Kirin SOCs, so quite a few Honor and Huawei cellphones from the last couple of years are getting Treble in their system updates.

With Treble in the kernel, newer kernels can be built reusing the old device drivers, which makes support of old phones vastly easier for the manufacturer and for open-kernel projects like Lineage.

And let's not forget that Oreo also lets manufacturers more easily uglify the Android interface, letting them do uglier things with less work and easier maintenance.

So if manufacturers will now not be _forced_ to update their system software more frequently, they will certainly be _compelled_ to do so. Some won't, but some will, cash in on the good press, and watch how the finger of ignominy points at the laggards.

Reply Score: 2