For years, Google has been riddled with a significant issue when it comes to Android, its mobile phone operating system. Updates to the software can be hard to implement, leading to inconsistencies and outdated features for users. The search giant said it’s getting better at updating Android because of under-the-hood tweaks and policy changes it’s made with the software. Google states that the previous year’s version of their Android 10 was operational on around 100 million devices within less than half a year of its launch. This adoption rate was approximately 30% speedier than any of its previous versions.
Android is the leading operating system for mobile phones, with the software powering a whopping 90% of the globally shipped smartphones. But one of the critical challenges that Google faces with its new Android versions is to get them installed in users’ phones. The industry calls the issue “fragmentation” and is caused because wireless carriers and device makers have the power to slow down the process. This is one of the areas where Apple has the most significant upper hand compared to Android systems. The fact that Apple manufactures its OS and handsets lets them ensure that every update is directly available to every Apple user at the same time, and there is no discrepancy. Every device is always using the same iOS version at all times.
As opposed to Android, 92% of the iPhones are currently using iOS 13, which was the last version of the OS. The latest iOS 14 was announced in June 2020. One of the factors that ensures a faster uptake of Android updates is Google’s Project Treble. Project Treble is an initiative that was announced and released three years back with the primary aim of removing all the speed bumps encountered between the users and any new version of Android. Google may be the one who develops the Android software. Since it will be functional on other companies’ devices, it is upon the device manufacturers and wireless carriers to sign off on the update before it can be made available to the customers. This time lag is because the companies add their apps, and then they have to run Beta tests to check and remove any issues before they can send it to the users’ phones.
Hence, for the software to reach the leading brand handsets like Samsung or LG, the software is first passed through chipmakers like Qualcomm. Project Treble ensured that the code the chipmakers are mainly concerned with is isolated and lets them save time taken for updates to go down the pipeline via chipmakers. Google made a statement that it depends on tools called Google Play Services to shoot faster updates. The tools allow Android to walk around some fragmentation problems by providing updates straight to the users. This process does not need any permit from the wireless partners or device makers.