Android, Google‘s mobile operating system, has a significant lead in the smartphone operating system space but its open nature also comes at a cost. The biggest problem being lack of support from OEMs to release timely software updates. The search giant has been trying to address those gaps with the introduction of Project Treble, which allows its OEM partners to push newer version without having to tweak their own layer in a big way. While Project Treble is promising and has shown some signs of OEMs pushing updates faster, the distribution numbers do not paint a very good picture for Google.
The next planned change from Google could actually address the very issue in a more user-facing way that OEM-facing way. A new version of Google Play Store has lines of code that hint at future features paving way for faster updates. The version 14.5.52 of the Play Store, according to 9to5Google, contains several lines of code related to downloading and installing a “System Update”. At this moment, the term “System Update” in Google’s own language for Pixel, Android One and other devices relates to the full operating system, indicating future software updates might be packages as part of Play Store like it does with apps now.
If these strings indeed refer to OS updates then it could mean that users will be able to initiate downloads and installs for new versions of Android right from the Play Store. The interface reportedly described in the code is similar to one Pixel users experience on the System Update page in the Settings app. In order to initiate an update, there will be a “Download & Install” button with prompts on this “system_update_page” guiding users through the process of “Preparing,” “Device will restart soon,” and “the update finishing” stages.
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Google has added other strings to the Play Store that describe how notifications will offer download progress, completion status and almost finished. There is only sign of an interface to trigger system updates within the Play Store. It is, however, not clear whether Google will add back-end changes to how new versions of Android are delivered. A reference to Play Pass subscription emerged last October and the new update has reference to linking option.