Citing the success of its Project Treble technologies, Google this week said that adoption of the latest Android version has skyrocketed compared to the previous version.
“Thanks to Project Treble and our continuous collaboration with silicon manufacturers and OEM partners, we have improved the overall quality of the ecosystem and accelerated Android 9 Pie OS adoption by 2.5x compared to Android Oreo,” Google’s Anwar Ghuloum explains. “Moreover, Android security updates continue to reach more users, with an 84 percent increase in devices receiving security updates in Q4, when compared to a year before.”
That’s impressive, but it’s important to put these numbers in perspective: Today, Android 9 Pie, the latest Android version, is still only available on just 10.4 percent of Android handsets. Android 8.x Oreo is available on 28.3 percent of handsets.
Google announced Project Treble two years ago as a means by which to make Android system updates less time-consuming and costly. Put another way, Project Treble addresses the so-called Android “fragmentation” issue that results in many Android handsets not receiving timely updates, especially version upgrades. It did this in a way that will be familiar to Windows fans: It modularized Android so that the core OS is now separated from “the device-specific, lower-level software written in large part by the silicon manufacturers.”
Project Treble has had another impact, too: It allows Google to offer beta releases of future Android versions to more handsets, and not just its own Pixel devices. Android Q Beta 3, for example, is now available for a long list of handset models.
Finally, Google is further improving the distribution of Android updates via a new initiative called Project Mainline that lets it update core Android components through the Google Play Store as if they were apps.
“With this approach, we can deliver selected components faster, and for a longer period of time – without needing a full [over the air] update from your phone manufacturer,” Ghuloum says. “Mainline components are still open sourced [and] we are closely collaborating with our partners for code contribution and for testing.”
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