Google every year tries to improve the state of Android software updates with something new and different, but it’s the company’s most recent efforts that are making significant steps towards realizing this elusive goal.
This time last year, Android Oreo, the newest stable Android OS at the time, accounted for about 5% of all Android devices across the globe. Today, Android Pie, the latest stable version of the popular OS, accounts for 10% of all Android devices globally.
As you can see, there’s a significant improvement in the intake of Android OS, something that has been largely attributed to Project Treble.
Now, with Android Q, Google is trying out something new and different that it calls Project Mainline. With this initiative, the search giant wants to change the way monthly security updates are distributed to Android devices.
At the moment, every Android vendor has the individual mandate to distribute monthly security updates to their devices as provided by Google. However, these security updates are not reaching out to as many devices as Google would want simply because some vendors elect not to distribute the said security updates while others can’t afford to do it.
As a result, Google wants to take over the duties of distributing monthly security updates directly to devices instead of having to force smartphone manufacturers to do it. To achieve this, Google will turn to Project Mainline, which is arriving as part of Android Q.
This initiative will allow Google to distribute monthly security updates via the Google Play Store. In this way, the big G will be able to update the security patch level of your phone the same way it updates apps like Chrome, Maps, YouTube, and so on, that is, without the need of going through your smartphone vendor.
Of course, Project Mainline can only handle specific aspects of the operating system namely security, privacy, and consistency. Thus, don’t expect an update to the next Android OS to come via the Play Store. Or maybe it should, no?
It’s worth noting that Project Mainline will be limited to devices that come pre-installed with Android Q and not those that receive it as a software update. Also, manufacturers can choose to opt in or out of these updates, meaning not all Q-powered phones will get security updates via the Play Store.