Freedom and chaos are sometimes expensive in the same currency, and it is something that Android has been paying over time. Giving the possibility that each manufacturer does what he wants we have enjoyed a greater amount of innovations, but it has also brought a lack of control to the platform.
The biggest evil is fragmentation, a problem that Google should have stopped at the root 10 years ago and that having taken longer than the account is almost impossible to stop. Any innovation presented (such as Treble or Mainline) has its effect, but since it only applies to new mobiles it will take years to see results.
Android fragmentation decreases and Google proves it
Google has published a graph that shows how the fragmentation of Android is reduced, little by little. And Android 10 will improve those figures.
In the Linux Plumbers Conference Google has given a further brushstroke on how it could be a better Android update system. Google's vision is ambitious, but it also plans many questions about whether it will ever be possible.
A Linux kernel for all Android
The complexity of Android at the system level is something that is usually quite complex. The system consists of a core that works internally, which is accompanied by the rest of the system that we see and touch.
From the beginning, the main choice of Android was to take the Linux kernel, a kernel that is used in most servers and supercomputers, known for its efficiency and stability (which does not always apply to the rest of the system components) . The advantage of that core is that anyone can take it, read it, and modify it, which facilitates the work of an open ecosystem.
Google has recently pointed out a problem that has been going on for years. They normally take the original core in their LTS variant (Long Term Support, which means that you will receive long-term support) and modify it to be the main Linux kernel of Android.
This core It can be taken and modified by others, which is what ends up happening. This core is taken by Qualcomm, Huawei or any chip maker on the market, for which they create a new fork (a modified version of the original). This adaptation takes a while, and when it is released it is already outdated compared to the common version for Android.
As if that weren't enough, when a manufacturer thinks about adapting Android to their mobile, take the chip manufacturer's version to, again, create their own fork. Again, an outdated version over another outdated version.
The proposal of Google, a kernel to dominate them all
In Google they believe that manufacturers would have greater ease to update mobiles if they stop messes and work together on the same main branch. This would mean a lot the process, by allowing all versions to work on the same core, facilitating the work of maintaining old devices, since kernel updates would require less maintenance work.
Google's proposal is ambitious, but it also poses an important challenge, and it is to reach a consensus so that each chip and mobile manufacturer leaves its own forks in favor of working together for the main line.