Android Q promises to bring a lot of changes to the way our favorite OS works. There are new security-related restrictions around file storage and background activities, a revised gesture navigation, and a feature called "mainline update," which should allow Google to push modular system updates through the Play Store. The company appears to be heavily testing this feature, as some people on Q Beta 3 report that their devices were rebooted without warning to "test an update."
Said users explain that their phones are just restarting in the middle of browsing sessions, and only after their phones would be up and running again they'd receive a notification that says: "Your device was restarted to test an update." The message appears to come from an app called "Mainline software update," although swiping the left reveals that it originates from the Play Store – which makes sense since mainline updates are supposed to be rolled out through Google's distribution platform.
While it's important to test a feature that will completely change how system updates work, the approach Google took here is way too aggressive. Devices shouldn't just restart without warning, and even Windows' notoriously annoying and interruptive updates give you a heads up before rebooting, at least. Thus, it's very much possible that Google accidentally extended a test that was meant to stay internal to more beta users. Still, overall I'm looking forward to mainline updates and hope that they will help reduce fragmentation, as the option is supposed to be opened to other manufacturers as well.
No one likes unexpected device restarts, so we've obviously been very concerned about the impact of these reports. As we earlier noted, this behavior could just be part of some particularly aggressive beta tests, and now we're hearing from Google that this is indeed what seems to be the case. The company tells us that spontaneous reboots like this should only be seen during Q's beta phase, and that Mainline updates won't behave in this manner for the final public release.