Google held an Android Developers Summit last week. At the summit, it announced an earlier release schedule for Generic System Images. This move means we might get a taste of Android Q a little earlier.
Generic System Images are stock, AOSP-based images of the Android framework. Handset manufacturers use GSIs as part of testing for Treble compliance. By releasing these GSIs earlier, Google will make it easier for other Android device makers to roll out major updates earlier.
Google released a five minute video to give you a better understanding of what GSIs are and how they are used:
As usual, Google’s discussion of this topic was quite high-level. Google’s Hung-ying Tyan gave the following explanation:
We are also exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version. So you will be able to try out next Android version earlier over GSI, and at the same time we can get early feedback from you, so the benefit is mutual. So please stay tuned for our further announcement on this.
It’s not immediately clear what the full impact of this decision will be, but if it brings Android Q to our devices quicker, that’s a good thing. There’s also some indication that Treble-compliant Android 9 devices may be able to run a GSI without flashing. We’re curious to see how that works.
For a more detailed read, check out XDA’s excellent coverage.