Google unveiled a new system called Project Treble that could eliminate major delays in pushing Android updates to existing devices.
Google plans to announce the next version of its Android mobile OS in a few days, but the new OS will probably reach smartphones months later. The reason is that Google's ecosystem partners who are releasing Android devices need time to update existing devices to a new version of Android.
With Android O, coming in a few days at the Google I/O event, Google has been working with device makers and silicon manufacturers to take steps toward solving this problem and here comes Project Treble, which is actually a change to the low-level system architecture of Android.
Project Treble will come to all new devices launched with Android O and beyond, and is already running on the developer preview for Pixel phones.
Updating existing devices to a new version of Android doesn't just involve implementing new code and making sure the software works with the hardware: there are several rounds of approval involved.
After Google publishes the open-source code for the latest release, chip manufacturers have to modify the script for their hardware. They then pass the edited code to device makers, who incorporate the new software, making changes as needed. When a final version is ready, device makers have to get approval from carriers before pushing that update out to your phone.
Project Treble cuts down the amount of hardware-accessing code that needs to be written by wrapping all of it in one package that developers can just re-use across each new version of Android. This eliminates the need for chip makers to modify the original open-source code that Google releases and speeds up the approval process.