Project Treble is helping Android updates, but it’s still eons from iOS

Android fragmentation isn’t a new problem, but every now and then, a stat emerges that really illustrates the true nature of the problem.

While many users wait patiently for 2019’s update Android 10 to arrive on their smartphone, around three quarters of the install base are still waiting for 2018’s Android Pie to drop.

Believe it or not, this actually represents some pretty solid progress for Google, who announced the news today to commemorate the impact of its Project Treble initiative – designed to speed up the update process.

As of the end of August 2019, just over 400 days after launch, Android Pie was on 22.6% of all active devices. It was much worse with 2017’s Android Oreo, which was only on 8.9% of those devices after the same number of days.

Related: Best Android phones 2019

That’s actually a pretty big jump, relatively speaking, which shows Google is making progress in getting the more recent Android updates to a larger percentage of users, in less time. Check out the table published by Google:

Google Project Treble

Image credit: Google

Project Treble modularises Android to reduce the amount of time and money manufacturers and carriers have to spend in order to update major Android releases. Google says Treble has made it easier for more phones to join the beta programs for forthcoming releases, meaning manufacturers get a head start on the update process over previous years.

In a blog post, Google writes: “One of the earliest indications that Project Treble was having a positive effect was our ability to run the Beta program for Android 9 Pie on many more devices from more manufacturers. In addition to Google Pixels, we had 7 device models from 7 OEMs supporting Android 9 Pie Beta.

“With Android 10, this year, we increased the number of devices to 18 (again, in addition to Pixels), representing 12 OEMs. This represents a significant increase over the previous year and shows that Project Treble is having an impact.”

It says the difference between Android Oreo and Android Pie was, in part, due to improved collaboration with silicon manufacturers that reduced the average update time by three months. That should become even more pronounced with Android 10 updates this year, Google said.

Other behind-the-scenes work on the OS itself improved the smoothness of the process, with effects already being felt for 9-to-10 updates in 2019. For example, Samsung started its open beta a month earlier than last year, while OnePlus began updating devices just a few days after announcing its Android 10 beta program.

Overall though, while an install base of our 600 million for Android Pie isn’t as bad as it may seem, iOS 13 is already running on over 50% of all compatible iPhones just one month after release.

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