Current Phones Unlikely to Get Android N’s Most Exciting Feature
One of the important features that Google talked about in its keynote was Android N seamless updates. This new feature will allow updates to the OS proceed in the background, without user interaction. The intention behind seamless updates is to offer a simple update installation process, and also improve security by installing updates as soon as they are available, without interrupting your use of the phone. What wasn't known until now is that none of the current smartphones (including the very latest flagships) will be able to enjoy Android N seamless updates.
Current phones won't get Android N seamless updates
Android N seamless updates borrows its implementation from Chrome OS in which two system partitions are created in a device, one of which can be used by the phone at any time, while the other remains free to be updated by the system. This latter partition is then used to download and install OS updates completely silently in the background. With Android N seamless updates, while the update will be downloaded and installed in the background, users will still require to reboot their devices. This reboot will take a while longer than a regular restart, but nowhere close to how long a typical installation process takes.
According to Android Police, the current crop of phones cannot take benefits from this feature because making a device compatible requires in-depth knowledge that many consumers don't have. If Google offers this capability to current phones, the user will have to repartition their entire phone, which they can't do without having technical knowledge. The feature, in short, cannot be just sent to a phone with an OTA update.
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.
It is disappointing to know that even the current crop of Android flagship smartphones can't take advantage of such a convenience-based feature. Whenever a new version of Android is released, we expect at least the newly released flagships to take get every feature. But, users who would love to have this feature (possibly those having technical know how) will get some solution from XDA, since many have found references to seamless updates in Android N currently running on their phones.
In the future, manufacturers will build this capability in their phones, which means all the upcoming Android N smartphones (including Nexus lineup, of course) will feature Android N seamless updates, out-of-the-box.