Google continues to lay the groundwork for Android modularization and hopefully being able to at least partially tackle fragmentation issues. The AOSP source code anticipate that Android Runtime would be the next module Project Mainline.
Project Mainline was released in May 2019 and are, roughly, pieces of Android – or modules – that are updated from Google Play, without the need for a full operating system update. The Android Runtime is the execution environment in which the applications run and being able to update it easily could have interesting ramifications in compatibility and security.
Android 12, more modular
One of the what’s new in Android 11 it was the inclusion of nine additional system modules to update through Google Play. As the AOSP source code, the modularization of the system continues and in Android 12 (or Android S, for now), something as important as the application runtime will be another Project Mainline module.
The execution environment -ART in the latest versions and Dalvik previously- is in charge of translating the code of apps and services into native instructions that can be executed. Being such an important component, any change in it requires a full system update, something that, unfortunately, does not arrive as often as we would like or directly does not reach mobile phones that have been on the market for a while.
In contrast, Project Mainline modules are updated from Google Play, through what are called Google Play system updates, what they download by themselves and they are installed as soon as the system is rebooted. In this way, vital parts of the operating system are easily upgradeable without going through the long process which involves submitting a new OTA with changes, improvements or corrections.
There is still a long way to go Android is a completely modular systemAlthough the fact that the runtime environment itself is one of these modules gives us a good clue that this is exactly what Google is looking for. We will see in Android S (perhaps Android 12) what this change implies and what other system components are added to the available modules.
Via | Android Police
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