Google could make A / B partitions mandatory to make Seamless Updates a regular feature for all on all future Android 11 apps.
An XDA developer found a commit entitled “Require Virtual A / B on R launches” on AOSP Gerrit. Yifan Hong, a Google Project Treble engineer, submitted the commit.

The commit updates the Vendor Test Suite (VTS), which is a check to see if the Android smartphone is compliant with Project Treble. In this particular case, the test tests whether or not the Android 11 app supports partition A / B.

How do A/B Seamless Updates work?

The A / B partitioning system applies to duplicated partitions on the Android computer for those who don’t know. It helps OEMs to install the OTA updates that are not being used on the inactive partition.

The best benefit of this is “Seamless Updates,” in which users don’t have to wait until the update is activated on the disabled spot, as it occurs in the background. The system switches to the patched slot when it reboots, and follows the same procedure in the previously active slot when a new update comes in.

The advantage of the A / B partition system is that it helps prevent the effects of having a defective update enabled. This is because it only affects the inactive position. Even, to ensure smooth rollback, no modifications are made to the existing partition. 

The only downside is that there would be more room for OEMs to reserve for the A / B partition system. This might not be a problem as smartphones nowadays generally have ample internal storage

Several Android devices have already implemented A/B seamless updates such as the entire Google Pixel series, Xiaomi Mi A2, Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite, Asus ROG Phone, several Motorola phones and more.

As XDA notes, Google is yet to merge the commit, which means the mandatory “Seamless Updates” may or may not arrive with Android 11. But if it does, the change will undoubtedly be welcomed by the Android community.

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