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The Android Runtime will also be an upgradeable module from Google Play on Android S

Google continues to lay the groundwork for Android modularization, and hopefully being able to at least partially tackle fragmentation issues. The AOSP source code anticipate that Android Runtime would be the next module Project Mainline.

Project Mainline was released in May 2019 and they are, roughly, chunks of Android - or modules - that are updated from Google Play, without the need for a full operating system update. The Android Runtime is the runtime environment in which the applications run and being able to update it easily could have interesting ramifications in compatibility and security.

Android 12, more modular

One of the novelties of Android 11 was the inclusion of nine additional system modules to update through Google Play. According to the AOSP source code, the modularization of the system continues and in Android 12 (or Android S, for now), something as important as the application runtime will be another Project Mainline module.


The execution environment -ART in the latest versions and Dalvik previously- is responsible for translating the code of the apps and services into native instructions that can be executed. Being such an important component, any change in it requires a full system update, something that, unfortunately, does not arrive as often as we would like or directly does not reach mobile phones that have been on the market for a while.

What are Google Play system updates and why do they download by themselves to your mobile?

In contrast, Project Mainline modules are updated from Google Play, through what are called Google Play system updates, which they download by themselves and they are installed as soon as the system is rebooted. In this way, vital parts of the operating system are easily upgradeable and without going through the long process that involves submitting a new OTA with changes, improvements or corrections.

Act How to update the Android Runtime in the future

There is still a long way to go Android is a completely modular system, although the fact that the execution environment itself is one of these modules gives us a good clue that this is exactly what Google is looking for. We will see in Android S (perhaps Android 12) what this change implies and what other system components are added to the available modules.

Via | Android Police