Last year, a change to the Android 11 Vendor Test Suite was spotted, indicating that phones launching with Android 11 and later would be required to support so-called "seamless" updates. This feature allows a phone to install a system update while it's running and simply reboot into the new environment without any user-facing delay. Unfortunately, that hasn't panned out. According to the latest Android 11 Compatibility Definition Document (CDD), Google has seemingly walked back that requirement, and we can confirm that the Samsung Galaxy S21 doesn't support seamless updates. Read More
According to a change recently made to Google's Vendor Test Suite (VTS) spotted by our friends at XDA Developers, Google will require that all devices launching with Android 11 support seamless updates. More specifically, the VTS will check that devices running Android 11 and later support virtual A/B partition structures (which allow seamless updates), and fail if that support isn't present. Since devices must pass the VTS to ship with Google's apps, that effectively means that Android manufacturers will have to support seamless updates on devices that launch with Android 11. Read More
Keeping current with system updates is the single most important thing you can do to keep your phone safe, and long ago, installing those updates was an incredibly slow process. But back in 2016, Google tried to make things better with new "seamless updates" that made it an easy background process — you could even use your phone as they installed. Since then, most phone manufacturers have come around to the idea, with one very big exception: For whatever reason, Samsung refuses to give its phones the feature. Even its latest, $1,400 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra uses decidedly non-ultra, antiquated, super-slow updates that knock your phone out of commission for a solid 3-15 minutes as they install. Read More
The OnePlus 6 marks a lot of firsts for OP. It's the first OP phone with a notch, the first OP flagship made from glass, and also the first one that supports Android's seamless system updates. That means quicker OTA installation on your phone. Read More
Earlier this week, I noticed that my Galaxy S9+ review unit had an OTA update available. This update addressed some stability issues with the camera and put the phone on the latest security patch (which is certainly a good thing). But at nearly 250MB, it was quite a sizable update, too, and so installation took a bit to complete - my phone was out of commission for over five minutes.
Really, though, it shouldn't have been. Android introduced a feature called seamless updates as part of the 7.0 Nougat release... in 2016. Read More
During the I/O 2016 Keynote presentation, and again at the October 4th Pixel announcement, Google made brief references to newly added support for seamless updates in Nougat. To make this work, many changes had to be made to the structure of Android and its assorted system partitions. As a result, there have also been some changes to the fastboot utility many of us use when new factory images become available. This post covers a few of the technical details and also demonstrates some of the ways to use the new features.
How it works
Seamless updates are accomplished by creating a second set of logical partitions in device storage. Read More
Speaking to Google at the Android team's office hours event, we learned that Android N's new seamless update feature, borrowed from Chrome OS, will not be introduced on any current Nexus devices. While the benefits of seamless updates' usage of dual system partitions to allow OS updates to proceed in the background are substantial, they're also a bit of a technical bear to put on existing smartphones. Implementing seamless updates on the Nexus 5X or 6P, for example, would require repartitioning the entire phone, and wouldn't be possible for an end user to complete without hooking the phone up to a computer, allegedly - it would just be a pain, in short. Read More