HMD Global, one of those hailed to offer a pristine and up-to-date Android experience, disappointed fans by confirming that its current roster of Nokia phones, including the flagship Nokia 8, won’t be getting Project Treble even in an update. Now another such champion is breaking the bad news to its community as well. Over at its self-hosted AMA, OxygenOS team member OmegaHsu explains that implementing Treble on phones already in the wild could end up bricking users’ phones.
Project Treble was introduced in Android 8.0 Oreo to address one of the biggest complaints about Android: its slow update rollout. It does so by separating the Android OS framework from vendor and hardware-specific implementations. Updating Android itself would only touch the upper layers and won’t require rolling out everything, which would require testing everything again.
To accomplish that, Treble requires a separate partition on the device’s storage for the two. That is also why Google only requires it for new Oreo devices moving forward. Older devices, even those updating to Oreo, need not trouble themselves with Treble. Of course, users are practically demanding it but OnePlus implies that if users knew the risks, they might not be so enthusiastic.
In order to implement Treble on existing devices, the internal storage has to be repartitioned, which is, ultimately, a destructive process. Rearranging the data already existing on a phone could potentially mess things up, leaving users with a bricked phone and no way to recover their files. After a practically smooth OnePlus 5T launch, the company isn’t so keen on digging its own grave.
OnePlus won’t be leaving users hanging, of course. Just like HMD, it promises to make up for the lack of Treble by doing the heavy lifting on their end to make sure that updates are rolled out quickly. To be fair, OnePlus does have a better record than most OEMs, except when it suddenly decides to retire a phone before its time.