With Project Treble, unveiled today on the Google Developer Blog, Google's finally looking to change that with a rework of some of the underlying architecture to make updates easier. Essentially, a new "Vendor interface" will contain all of the low-level software for a device - like the chipset drivers.
Here's the thing: Android version updates are a painfully slow affair for every device that isn't a Nexus or Pixel. Android's underlying architecture requires updated drivers for device components as new versions of the operating system are released, and some vendors don't like to update drivers for old components, and not necessarily in a timely fashion. And if you don't have a flagship phone, you're lucky to get an update at all. Device makers modify the new release again as needed for their devices. "Project Treble aims to do what CTS did for apps, for the Android OS framework".
Device makers work with carriers to test and certify the new release.
Like the CTS, or Compatibility Test Suite, the VTS will ensure that all the chips inside the phone, from the SoC to the baseband to the tiny little sensors that let our phones do wonderful things, work properly when Google releases a new version of Android.
Google's Project Treble is set to speed up the time it takes for your phone to get access to Android O, the upcoming release that's now confirmed for Summer.
Project Treble lets device manufacturers focus only on the parts of Android that affect their phones.
In addition to the architectural changes, Google is working with its partners to move their code changes into the common Android Open Source Project codebase.
The new "Vendor Interface" separates the Android framework from the hardware. Google has announced this week that they're initiating a so-called "Project Treble" to make that a reality. There aren't many other details on how this system will work just yet, but given Google I/O is happening next week, we expect to hear more very soon.