One of the most interesting features that were announced with Android 8.0 Oreo is Project Treble. Treble marks Google’s attempt to control the fragmentation in the Android ecosystem. Now, XDA editor-in-chief Mishaal Rahman has posted about how he managed to boot an AOSP ROM compiled straight from the source on the Huawei Mate 9.
Project Treble modularizes the Android OS framework to separate it from vendor code, allowing OEMs to work on new software updates without having to wait for vendors (like Qualcomm) to update their code. As part of the Vendor Test Suite (VTS), all Treble-enabled devices must be able to boot a raw, generic AOSP build.
He went on to state that the official Oreo build for the device is not out yet and is in closed beta. He downloaded the firmware update from “Funkyhuawei.club” and flashed it.
What is most interesting to note is that not a single kernel modification was required in order to get the ROM to boot up. However, he goes on to state that this ROM is not perfect as there are some issues with decryption of data, but it is a very welcome sight to see it function with much less work. This marks a departure from the usual wait of kernel sources in order to compile a ROM for the device. OEM’s are notorious for delaying or not releasing the kernel sources, despite the fact that the GPL license makes them liable to do so.
The Future of Android: Treble
You might have noticed that Android Oreo is not catching on as fast other devices, and a lot of major launches recently haven’t had Oreo on board by default either. In fact, the OnePlus 5T ships with Android Nougat out of the box. While they can happily claim that the phone was late in the development cycle, some people are speculating that OnePlus just was not ready for Treble yet.
One of the newer changes to the CTS is that a device that ships with Oreo out of the box must be fully compatible with Project Treble. This means that with just a bootloader unlock, one might be able to boot an AOSP ROM. This has huge ramifications for the custom ROM community, and a lot of people are keeping a close eye on how the industry moves forward in the near future.