It sounds like Android O will be the biggest overhaul of Google’s mobile operating system ever. In fact, it sounds like the company is going for modularity, which means a lot of different things, and Project Treble could be the basis of all of it. Tech bloggers are excitedly explaining the implications of Project Treble, which, to the average consumer, probably sounds like something that won’t affect them.
Android O to offer graphics driver updates for the Play Store
According to Google’s Romain Guy, Android O will offer the ability to update graphics drivers via the Play Sore. He said that they’ve got this part of the next version of Android up and into testing and expect to have it ready for some devices when Google pushes out Android O to the mobile masses.
This certainly doesn’t sound very interesting for the average consumer, but what it means, according to Android Headlines, is that one day, consumers, developers and device makers will find Android to be an easier OS to make changes to. It sounds like consumers will find the update process to be easier and any updates that need to be made to the OS can be done on a smaller scale by fixing pieces of it rather than pushing out a massive update to the entire thing when only something small needed to be changed.
Android O brings Project Treble
Although it’s unclear whether this bit about the graphics drivers is related to Project Treble, Android Headlines suggests that it is. After all, Project Treble is, in essence, system file modularity for Android so that updates to the firmware can be performed in small pieces at a time. Think of it as being able to just the broken light switch in a room, whereas right now, if the light switch is broken, the entire room needs to be gutted and replaced.
BGR suggests that Project Treble and Android O could solve one of the biggest issues facing Google’s mobile OS: fragmentation. Apple often boasts about how a large percentage of iOS users are on the newest version of it, but Google has never been able to make this claim because often the last several versions of Android are widely used.
Will the Pixel handsets be kept alive longer?
What’s especially interesting about Project Treble is that Google executives said at the I/O conference that only the Pixel and Pixel XL will utilize it, leaving other big name handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S8 without it. BGR suggests that this could mean the Pixel and Pixel XL will continue receiving updates for longer than the standard two-year window Google usually follows with its in-house handsets.
It would be easier to update them if an entire update is no longer needed because updates could be done piecemeal. However, both current Pixel handsets were added to Google’s end-of-life support page, suggesting that the last update they will receive will be Android P next year. As such, the company’s ultimate intentions with Project Treble and the Pixel line are unclear.