Oreo, the latest and greatest Android OS, lets you enjoy a ton of new features such as app shortcuts and an improved keyboard. But thanks to a feature that's required of all phones that ship with Android Oreo out of the box, your S9 may be the first Galaxy phone to finally receive timely software updates.
Unlike their iOS counterparts, Android devices are notoriously slow to receive updates in general, mainly due to the sheer diversity of hardware that runs on the platform. As a result, what should be a smooth process gets lost in a sea of digital red tape. To solve this, Google has rolled out Project Treble, which aims to streamline updates by partitioning the Android OS into two main parts.
New Android versions pass through a series of hoops before on landing your device. First, chip makers like Qualcomm need to make drivers in order to support the new version. Then, OEMs such as LG and HTC tweak the new Android source code so it fully works with their respective UI. For carrier-provided handsets, there's also the added hurdle of waiting for the carrier's approval before the update is rolled out.
With Project Treble, Google hopes to take fragmentation out of the equation to help speed up software updates by changing Android's basic architecture to be more modular. Starting with Oreo onwards, Android now consists of two main partitions: the Android OS framework itself, and a separate Vendor interface.
In a nutshell, the new Vendor interface contains all the device-specific software for a phone, such as chipset drivers and OEM enhancements. So for example, when a new Android version becomes available for the S9, Samsung will basically just swap out the old AOSP layer on the System for a new one that comes with the update — all without touching the TouchWiz customizations, files, and drivers located within the Vendor interface.
Project Treble has made the process of tailoring new Android versions to suit manufacturers like HTC and Samsung lot more simple, which is sure to cut down turnaround times for future update release cycles.
Google plans to work closely with chipset makers to ensure forward compatibility, and they've come up with the Vendor Test Suite to test and validate their work. This is a significant development, as it will help manufacturers like Samsung and Qualcomm keep their chipset drivers up to date. This will prevent OS stagnation due to outdated drivers and prolong your S9's relevance in relation to future smartphones. In short, this should be the most updated Galaxy yet!