Team Android is hacking away from the Googleplex on another efficiency coup that will let vendors from the semiconductor level all the way up to carriers keep their own code as-is — not needing to adapt that code to new Android OS frameworks.
At the current stage, manufacturers have to fumble with puzzle pieces if they want to retain the same features, graphic interface and compatibilities if an update to the OS is to be passed along. Dealing with changes from Google, then from MediaTek, then from LG and then from Claro definitely piles on the time it takes to execute those updates — it makes those Android security patches, in a term, “poor risk management”.
One solution to ease the pain? Contribute to the Android Open Source Project as Sony and Qualcomm have so that the features and fixes you want can be included in the framework and you don’t have to worry about your code for them ever again.
But the ultimate solution being sought through Google’s “Project Treble” is what’s called a Vendor Test Suite. The VTS would let vendors work on hardware at their specific level (modem to camera to cellular radios) without needing to peek into what’s strictly Android. Project Treble is currently implemented on the Android O Developer Preview for the Pixel and Pixel XL.
Making updates easier for everyone to install should get bring a little more conformity to the user version distribution numbers and, more importantly, get people using on the same feature level and leaving fewer people behind.