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Here's why OnePlus doesn't support Project Treble -- yet

Project Treble has a lofty goal: quicker Android updates for all devices. However, some manufacturers like OnePlus don't support it yet, and for good reason.

Published onDecember 7, 2017

OnePlus 5T held in hand showing back of phone.
  • Project Treble simplifies updates by separating manufacturer code from the OS
  • Treble requires separate partitions
  • OnePlus says it didn’t want to risk bricking devices by creating new partitions for Treble

Updates have always been a subject of hot debate within the Android community. Some OEMs deliver OS updates in a timely manner, and others, not so much. Google has a plan to help with that, and that plan is Project Treble.

The goal of Project Treble is simple really, and it is to make updates faster and easier for device manufacturers. In theory, this should help with platform fragmentation, but some devices aren’t able to reap the benefits.

Some such devices are the OnePlus 3/3T and 5/5T. After a lot of confusion from users, a OnePlus employee under the handle “OmegaHsu” made a forum post explaining why the devices in question will not have support for Project Treble. The reason? To prevent bricked devices.

The way Project Treble works is by separating manufacturer code from the operating system itself, which requires having multiple partitions on the device.

OmegaHsu explains:

However, because partitions were not required of Android N and previous versions of Android, all of our current devices do not feature a partition. According to our tests, if we were to modify the partition layout via OTA there is a risk that devices will brick during the partitioning.

OnePlus’ reasoning seems sound, they have to weigh the pros and cons of any large changes, and in this case, the danger of bricking outweighs the benefit of quicker updates. Even without Project Treble, OnePlus believes that they can still quickly and efficiently release Android updates. As a manufacturer, they have a duty to not cause unnecessary system-breaking bugs, and they are avoiding that risk by not supporting Treble in the short-term. While it’s a downer for current device owners, the good news is that most, if not all, 2018 smartphones should support Project Treble by shipping with Android Oreo and the new partition scheme.

What are your thoughts on Project Treble and OnePlus’ decision not to support it on current models? Let us know in the comments section below.

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