Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 13th May 2017 15:36 UTC

It's that time of the year again: Google unveiling some initiative or whatever with the aim of improving the horrible Android update mess. None of them really panned out, but I begrudgingly have to admit that the project they just unveiled - Project Treble - has some more meat to it than the vague promises and alliances they usually peddle.

The basic gist here is that Google is splitting Android in twain, so they end up with the Android OS Framework and the vendor implementation. The latter - the part that's the reason why so many Android phones don't get updated - can remain the same across operating system updates.

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.

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.

This seems like a good idea, but sadly, it won't be backported to older Android versions. Treble will be part of Android O later this year (it's already available in Pixel developer previews), but existing phones won't benefit from it at all. In other words, it'll be a few years before the full effect of this project can be measured.

As a sidenote - and you guys will have to help me out on this one, since I'm not knowledgeable enough to determine this - could this mean it'll be easier to replace the Linux-based vendor implementation with something else in the future? If so, that might be something Google is potentially perhaps maybe possibly interested in.

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Higher level
by jonsmirl on Sat 13th May 2017 16:09 UTC
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The stuff below the VTS interface will likely include the kernel, OMX video encode/decode, OpenGL ES. This is not a hard line to draw in Android.

BT is messed up because Broadcom is externally supplying the stack. BT needs to be part of the Android core. Of course Bluez was there until Broadcom demanded its removal because it was GPL.

Getting rid of the GPL in Android will only strengthen the monopoly hold of chip vendors like Broadcom and Qualcomm. Do we really want to make each vendor of a BT chip provide a different, complete BT stack? Of course these monopoly oriented vendors don't want to participate in sharing.

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