Android Updates May Be Getting a Bit More Streamlined

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The latest version of the CDD (Compatibility Definition Document) surfaced this week. This document is basically a contract between Google and all of their partners. These partners have to abide by the rules in this document if they wish to use Android and have Google Mobile Services as part of their device. One of the popular rules in the CDD is the fact that the icons in the status bar had to be white. This gained popularity after the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, in which Samsung opted to make the battery icon green on the "safe" models. Now, people are going through the updated CDD to see what else is new in this document. We've already seen the requirements for Daydream VR-ready smartphones in this document and now there's some changes in terms of updates to the operating system.

First spotted by Ars Technica, there's a new section in the CDD which is section 3.1.1 which reads:

"Android includes the support of extending the managed APIs while keeping the same API level version. Android device implementations MUST preload the AOSP implementation of both the shared library ExtShared and services ExtServices with versions higher than or equal to the minimum versions allowed per each API level."

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Now there's not much known about what this actually means. But many are thinking that this is basically like Google Play Services but for AOSP. Those that may be unaware, Google Play Services uses API's to push new features to devices that are running a much older version of Android. By extending the existing API's, without having to change the API version (typically done when an update to the OS is pushed out). Some are referring to this as "Android Extensions". Now that may or may not be the public term for this, but it does describe this portion of the CDD perfectly.

This may not improve fragmentation on Android, a word that Apple likes to throw around about Android quite often. As it would allow users to stay on an older version of Android, but still get newer features and updates. However, the more important part of this is security. Android Extensions should definitely help out with security, with Google being able to push out updates quicker, and without needing to go through carriers and OEMs, like they do currently with a full OS update. Again, it seems a whole lot like what Google Play Services is already doing.