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Google makes seamless update support compulsory for Android 11 devices

By Liu Hongzuo - on 9 Apr 2020, 12:26pm

Google makes seamless update support compulsory for Android 11 devices

Android 11.

We get why people do not always update their Android smartphones on time - when it's updating, the phone is practically inert until the updates are done. There's also mild anxiety around updates breaking and rendering phones unusable until a rollback or reset kicks in.

Google understands that as well, which is why come Android 11, Virtual A/B must be supported, helping to make 'seamless updates' mandatory on devices that will carry the yet-to-be-launched mobile OS.

For Android 11 users, their phones will come with an A/B partition setup, with one active and one inactive partition. Similar to Chrome OS's updating routine, a user can be actively using the active, outdated operating system, while the other partition downloads and updates itself in the background. Upon reboot, the phone will automatically use the new, updated version of Android 11. The now-older version sits in your phone, remaining untouched save for any issues with your newly updated OS. When another update rolls around, the process is repeated.

Source: Google, The Chromium Projects.

This would mean that there's minimal downtime when updating your Android 11 phone with the latest security and user enhancement patches.

Here's the thing - seamless update was available since Android 7.0 (Nougat), but not all phone manufacturers and OEMs are willing to sacrifice a few gigabytes of storage to support this feature, according to XDA Developers. Google, however, has figured out a way to reduce the amount of storage used for partitions, which makes mandatory seamless updates more palatable for manufacturers and Android users.

Does your current Android smartphone already support A/B partition? You can figure it out by running the getprop ro.build.ab_update Linux command in the Android Debug Bridge shell or a terminal emulator app like this one.

Source: XDA Developers via Ars Technica