OnePlus Says Project Treble Could Brick Its Android Phones

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OnePlus explained why its existing handsets will not support Google’s Project Treble earlier today, shortly after confirming that its already launched offerings will not take advantage of the recently introduced solution that promises faster phone updates. An official now clarified that its handsets lack the necessary storage partition that is required to implement Project Treble. While there is an option for OnePlus to introduce a storage partition to its smartphones through a software update, it is possible that the software upgrade would brick the handsets. Company officials added that OnePlus is one of the first manufacturers to update its handsets to Android 8.0 Oreo, even without implementing Project Treble. In a response to a question raised by a member of its official forums, an official noted that it is likely that Huawei and Essential have already designed their storage partitions to accommodate the requirements of Project Treble.

Project Treble was created to make it easier and cheaper for smartphone manufacturers to develop software upgrades for their devices. The feature separates the framework of the Android operating system from any vendor-made system images. Before Project Treble was implemented, the vendor image had to be reworked alongside the operating system. This means that the chipset makers like MediaTek and Qualcomm have to modify their images before smartphone makers distribute their updates. With Project Treble, manufacturers can now update their products without the need for vendor images to be modified. Meanwhile, access to the hardware components of the smartphone is now made through the vendor interface, which is introduced alongside Android 8.0 Oreo. In essence, only handsets that run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box are guaranteed to have Project Treble support.

OnePlus is not the only device maker whose existing handsets will not be supporting Project Treble, even if these devices have been upgraded to Android Oreo. HMD Global recently announced that there will be no support for Project Treble on current Nokia devices. In overall, while Google’s initiative promises to at least partially resolve the issue of fragmented Android updates, it will likely take another year before OEMs fully embrace it. As of right now, Oreo is only available on around one percent of Android devices and an even smaller fraction of them support Project Treble.