Right before Google’s highly revered I/O Conference in 2017, the search giant had announced a new project called ‘Project Treble’. This new initiative by Google involved the rearchitecting of the Android framework to separate the code from its hardware vendor implementation. This step has helped Google in countering problems like fragmentation and has resulted in more secure devices over the months. Further, every phone released with Android 8.0 Oreo and above was required to come with Project Treble support. Also, Project Treble was the reason that manufacturers was able to release Android P Beta alongside the new Pixel phones this year. Google has hinted that along the similar lines users might get to see the early implementation of Android Q thanks to this project.
Project Treble Crucial for Early Release of New Android
As per an XDA report, Google has also highlighted the importance of a Generic System Image, or GSI in the Project Treble. It’s important to understand that GSI is a pure, unmodified build of Android sourced from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). This means that the GSI comes with no device maker customisations like Xiaomi’s ROMs or any UX on top of it. Further, Google has mandated that to maintain Treble compliance; the phones should be able to boot a GSI on top of the vendor customised Android. The search giant has also made it essential for the vendors to run tests like CTS-on-GSI (Compatibility Test Suite on Generic System Image) and VTS (Vendor Test Suite) to ensure that the phone can run basic hardware compatibility. With these steps, Google seeks to make GSIs better suited for use by the general public.
XDA Developers informed that the importance of GSIs is especially more for testers and those who are developing Android applications. As such, the community also provides a dedicated forum for discussions on GSIs, and it has also reached out to Google to request the search giant for newer versions of Android in the form of GSIs. XDA informed that the request was made so that developers are easily able to test their applications on newer Android versions on their current hardware.
Android Q GSI In the Talks Presentl
In the Android Dev Summit this year, Hung-Ying Tyan from Google’s Project Treble team spoke at length about the GSIs and conveyed that the company would work towards making the GSIs more useful to the general public and also to the developers. He said, “An important first step toward that goal is to make GSI available in AOSP. So, for this, we have published pie-gsi in AOSP*. So now you can download and build pie-gsi today.”
Talking about the GSI’s importance in releasing early versions of the software, he said, “We are also exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version. So you will be able to try out next Android version earlier over GSI. And at the same time we can also get early feedback from you, so the benefit is mutual. So please stay tuned for our further announcement on this.”
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.