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Android 8.0's 'Streaming OS Updates' Will Work Even If Your Phone Is Full (arstechnica.com) 40

Regardless of whether or not your phone is full of pictures, or videos, or apps, you will still be able to download and install an OS update with Android 8.0. According to the latest source.android.com documentation, Google has cooked up a scheme to make sure that an "insufficient space" error will never stop an update again. Ars Technica reports: Where the heck can Google store the update if your phone is full, though? If you remember in Android 7.0, Google introduced a new feature called "Seamless Updates." This setup introduced a dual system partition scheme -- a "System A" and "System B" partition. The idea is that, when it comes time to install an update, you can normally use your phone on the online "System A" partition while an update is being applied to the offline "System B" partition in the background. Rather than the many minutes of downtime that would normally occur from an update, all that was needed to apply the update was a quick reboot. At that point, the device would just switch from partition A to the newly updated partition B. When you get that "out of space" error message during an update, you're only "out of space" on the user storage partition, which is just being used as a temporary download spot before the update is applied to the system partition. Starting with Android 8.0, the A/B system partition setup is being upgraded with a "streaming updates" feature. Update data will arrive from the Internet directly to the offline system partition, written block by block, in a ready-to-boot state. Instead of needing ~1GB of free space, Google will be bypassing user storage almost entirely, needing only ~100KB worth of free space for some metadata. Ars Technica goes on to note that the feature will be backported to Google Play Services, and will be enabled on "Android 7.0 and later" devices with a dual system partition setup.
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Android 8.0's 'Streaming OS Updates' Will Work Even If Your Phone Is Full

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  • Awesome! (Score:1, Flamebait)

    Users get the latest apps, streamlined to remove any useful features, and also make it even easier for Google to plumb your juicy data and strengthen their behavior modification algorithms!

    A win for everyone!

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Users get the latest apps, streamlined to remove any useful features, and also make it even easier for Google to plumb your juicy data and strengthen their behavior modification algorithms!

      Huh? Instead of downloading a 1GB temp file that'll be freed after installing the update, it'll be written directly to the destination. It has nothing to do with features or versions or whatever... but hey, you could always sell your soul to Apple, not sure who else is left.

      • by Teckla ( 630646 )

        but hey, you could always sell your soul to Apple, not sure who else is left.

        In the long run, is there really any difference between two super-powerful mega-corps?

        • Well one is pro-choice and the other is pro-life, and they both bicker over gun rights without really doing anything, but beyond that they're essentially the same. The special interests they cater to differ, but they're still in the catering business.
      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        I'm more concerned about downloading a 1 GB OS Update on a data plan that only has 500 MB per month.

        • by kwalker ( 1383 )

          While I sympathize with having a small data plan, nothing I have read about this indicates that a 1GB would be required.

          First, it's generally the partition that is 1GB, the update would naturally be smaller than that.

          But second and more importantly, the update does not need to be sent uncompressed. They can easily use on-the-fly compression to make the update smaller in-transit just that they validate it and decompress it while writing it to disk, not after. Kinda like how HTTP encoding gzip works.

    • Depends on how to look at it. It could also be looked at as "we will update your OS whether you want us to or not, and you can't even fill your phone with other stuff to prevent it". Sort of like Windows 10 and its forced updates.

      All your OS are belong to us!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If Google would update or even cross date our phones with Google Android, I would pay for it. Instead we get Google Android plus phone maker driver layer, plus phone maker crapware, plus carrier crapware.
    If I could just go back to 2015 Cyanogen...

    • I just wish Google would provide an upgrade that would enable one to upgrade Android 5 and above to the latest. I could use something like it on my tablet.

  • Will we be able to kill this whole partition and reclaim the space?

    I like to use community ROMs and wouldn't want to do an OTA.
    • Writes to flash memory perform much better when you have some empty space (about 10%-20%). Unlike a HDD, you cannot overwrite a 0 with a 1, or a 1 with a 0 in flash memory. It has to go 0 -> erased -> 1, or 1 -> erased -> 0. (If you're into electronics, it acts much like an EEPROM.) The erased -> 0/1 step is blazing fast. But the 0/1 -> erased step is really slow; about as slow as or slower than a HDD. Consequently, flash memory controllers try to erase unused cells ahead of time in
      • But it's not going to be empty, it's going to contain an older version of your OS which the system keeps around so it can update itself and boot from it in case the update fails.

        • But it's not going to be empty, it's going to contain an older version of your OS which the system keeps around so it can update itself and boot from it in case the update fails.

          That's in *google*'s update scheme (the one mentionned in the summary).

          This thread's top poster is not interested in OTA update from Google.
          He's interested in installed community firmware such as LineageOS (formely CyanogenMod).

          He has no use of the "one partition currently running (with old OS) one partition currently downloading (the next OS)", 1 partition is enough, and wondered if spaces can be claimed from this partition.
          In this conditions it's actually relevant to point that the firmware running inside

          • This thread's top poster is not interested in OTA update from Google.
            He's interested in installed community firmware such as LineageOS (formely CyanogenMod).

            He has no use of the "one partition currently running (with old OS) one partition currently downloading (the next OS)", 1 partition is enough, and wondered if spaces can be claimed from this partition.
            In this conditions it's actually relevant to point that the firmware running inside the flash chip will actually claim that unused space as more reserve f

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google is reserving additional space and making it unusable by the user to ensure updates can be run.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For the 9 months that the device still receives security updates this will be a killer feature! After that just throw it in the trash and buy some more Chinese junk!

  • ... for something that never happens; OS updates on an Android phone.

  • So in order to get the update that works even if your phone is full the only thing you need is a update to your phone that is already full?

    Right....

  • So, let's see, since streaming ain't new, why have devices been downloading update packages in-advance of executing them forever? Oh yeah, because anything can happen and stability matters.

    So, I see this resolves the stability issues, but having SystemB separate from SystemA. Wonderful.

    So where does SystemB sit? Oh yeah, a whole 'nother partition . . . that takes up zero space?

    Not quite, I'll bet.

    So, let's create a big huge partition, hide it from the user, and then say that our updates require zero spac

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