Google is looking to simplify the process of mobile software updates with a new feature that silently installs upgrades in the background.
The new Seamless Updates feature is reportedly set to come in the next version of Google's mobile operating system, Android 11, also known as Android R.
It will mean that rather than having to stop using or restarting their device to enable an update to download, users can continue operating their phone as usual.
- Malicious Android apps use coronavirus to hack user devices
- Best privacy apps for Android in 2020
- Google Play Protect performs miserably in Android protection tests
The feature is made possible through Google's support for A/B virtual partitioning, which the company is set to make mandatory across all new devices.
Already present in Chrome OS, virtual partition was first introduced with Android 7 Nougat, however most manufacturers have been reluctant to implement this feature as it consumes extra storage on the device.
A/B partitions are two similar read-only partitions on the handset, each of them housing system-level partitions like system, vendor, boot, and product. The phone’s system uses only one partition at a time while the other one normally remains inactive.
Now when the device receives an OS update, it is downloaded on the currently inactive partition. Meanwhile, users can operate their device normally, which is currently powered by the active partition.
Once the OS is downloaded and is installed, the phone reboots seamlessly into the second partition with the new software.
With every subsequent OS update, the same process is followed. In case something goes wrong with the new OS, the device still can boot from the old OS residing in the first partition.
Seamless Updates reduce the entire software update duration to a just a few seconds compared to the current process which can take several minutes to complete.
This feature may come handy for flagship devices which receive software updates regularly. Google’s Pixel line of devices and few other top-of-the-line devices already ship with this feature.
Some manufactures like Samsung or Oppo follow their own process for OS installation and others have been shying away from implementing Seamless Updates due to their heavily modified Android skin eating up extra space.
However, with 128 GB on-board storage becoming a norm on most devices, it is about time for Google makes software update an improved and universal experience.