In a post on its developer's blog, Google unveiled a sneak peek at Project Treble, which it says is "the biggest change to the low-level system architecture of Android to date".
The catch is that Project Treble's updates will not apply to older devices, only new devices released with Android O and beyond. There, Google shows how until now, vendors had to do work to get Android updates to users. Starting with Android O, the OS is being re-engineered to make updates easier, faster, and less costly for manufacturers. To this day, many devices have to wait several months after their Google device counterparts just to receive the next major version of Android.
The life of an Android release, before Project Treble. It eliminates one step from the drill that would help the OEMs to deliver timely updates. They then pass the edited code to device makers, who incorporate the new software, making changes as needed. The core concept involves separating the vendor implementation, which is the device-specific software written in large part by the silicon manufacturers, from the Android OS Framework.
Silicon manufacturers (Qualcomm, Samsung Exynos, etc) "modify the new release for their specific hardware" and do things like make sure drivers and power management will still work.
The best news is that this isn't a theoretical change or a proposal - it's up and running already in the bleeding-edge Android O preview that's running on a number of Pixel phones, and it'll be there in all O-powered devices.
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It's powered by the new Vendor Test Suite (VTS) and is conceptually similar to the Compatibility Test Suite (CTS), which lets developers write apps that work across devices running on different hardware from different manufacturers.
The new "Vendor Interface" separates the Android framework from the hardware.
Google's Project Treble is set to speed up the time it takes for your phone to get access to Android O, the upcoming release that's now confirmed for Summer.
It's likely we'll hear more about this at Google I/O next week.