For the past two years, Google has been working on Project Treble to help device manufacturers release OS updates in a more timely manner. The Android Beta Program last year showed the initiative in action with more OEMs debuting preview builds, while Essential was able to release Pie on the same day as the Pixels.
The next change to Android updates could be more user-facing, with an interface right in the Play Store instead of system settings.
About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
Version 14.5.52 of the Play Store this evening contains several strings related to downloading and installing a “System Update.” At the moment, the “System Update” parlance on Pixel, Android One, and other devices refers to the full operating system.
<string name=”system_update_page_title”>System Update</string>
If Google Play is indeed referring to OS updates, the strings — at the very least — suggest that users could initiate downloads and installs for new versions of Android right from the Play Store.
The interface described is very similar to what Pixel users see on the System update page in the Settings app. A “Download & Install” button will be present to initiate, with prompts on this “system_update_page” guiding users through the process of “Preparing,” “Device will restart soon,” and the update finishing.
<string name=”system_update_page_download_button”>Download & Install</string>
<string name=”system_update_page_installing_status”>Installing… Device will restart soon.</string>
<string name=”system_update_page_successful_status”>All good! Update complete.</string>
<string name=”system_update_page_error_status”>Sorry, something went wrong! Try again later.</string>
Other strings just added to the Play Store describe notifications that note the download process, completion status, and almost finished.
<string name=”system_update_notification_app_name”>System Update</string>
<string name=”system_update_installing_notification_message”>Almost there…</string>
<string name=”system_update_completed_notification_title”>Successfully updated</string>
<string name=”system_update_completed_notification_message”>System is up-to-date</string>
There is also another string referring to a “Google System Update.”
<string name=”show_android_modules_installing”>Google System Update</string>
At the moment, we’re only aware of an interface for triggering system updates within the Play Store. It’s not yet clear if this new place for OS updates will be accompanied by backend changes to how new versions are delivered.
In practice, this could be more user-friendly than heading into Settings. It would put system-level updates right alongside the frequent app updates that users are already familiar with.
Last October, references to a “Play Pass subscription” service emerged in the Play Store. Today’s update contains a new string related to “linking.”
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.
Dylan contributed to this article