Seamless (A/B) System Updates Coming Soon to LineageOS for Select Devices (Pixel/Pixel XL)

One of the headlining features of the Android 7.0 Nougat update as well as the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL is the ability to seamlessly install system updates. This feature from Android Nougat takes some of the pain away from updating your device and also reduces the likelihood of an inactive device.

Seamless System Updates are also known as A/B system updates, which have the goal of ensuring a workable booting system remains on the disk during an OTA update. Users can continue to use the device during the OTA update process as the only downtime during an update will be when the device reboots into the updated system. This is made possible as the update is installed in a different disk partition, and the bootloader then boots the device into the newly updated disk partition.

In A/B updates, the OS will make a few attempts to boot into the partition with the new update. But in case of continued failure, the device will ultimately reboot back from the older partition and older images. This failsafe ensures that at least one bootable image is present on the device, meaning less re-flashes and device replacements when things go horribly wrong.

A set of commits to the CMUpdater found in LineageOS points that this functionality will soon be available on the ROM.

CMUpdater: support A/B style OTA updates

* Autodetect the type of zip (A/B OTA or traditional)
* Handle A/B OTAs via UpdateEngine and display progress
  to the user.

Before you get too excited, A/B style OTA updates will only be available to a select few devices, namely the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. Older devices which were not launched with A/B style OTA support in their stock ROMs will lack the requisite partitions to support this new style of OTA. So, even though LineageOS will add in this functionality to their Updater, your device will not support it if it did not previously.

The commit has been merged into the LineageOS repo and should be making its way to the next nightly.

Have you had a chance to experience seamless system updates on your Pixel/Pixel XL? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: LineageOS Review

Honor 8 Pro Gets TWRP And Root

The Honor 8 Pro is one of the newest devices in Huawei’s portfolio. Developers should soon have a chance to create and easily distribute ROMs and kernels for the smartphone, as XDA Recognized Developer OldDroid from Team OpenKirin has provided a working TWRP build for the handset.

This TWRP 3.1.1 build for the device supports all Honor 8 Pro models and is intended to work on stock EMUI 5.x with an unlocked bootloader. You would need to decrypt /data partition to install Magisk and SuperSU as you can not install them on encrypted partition. The forum thread contains instructions on encrypting and decrypting as well, to make it easy for users to follow along whichever way they wish to go.

Get TWRP for the Honor 8 Pro

OnePlus 5’s camera shows us the delicate balance of setting and meeting expectations

It's tough to hype up a phone while also keeping things realistic.

With the launch of the OnePlus 5 this week, we got to see a perfect example of what a delicate balance companies navigate in setting expectations and delivering on promises. OnePlus has always talked a (strategically) big game about many aspects of its phones — this year, it was all about the camera. Even during the launch event, at which point reviewers had been using the phone for over a week, the presenters espoused the wonderment of the new dual camera setup.

The only 'issue' here is the camera not reaching the great heights OnePlus claimed.

Reviews of the OnePlus 5's camera were slightly mixed, but in general came to the consensus that it's merely good, not great — and not challenging phones like the Galaxy S8, LG G6 and HTC U11. That's a problem, but not necessarily one with the camera itself — it mostly stems from the marketing of the OnePlus 5 that centered around the cameras and set unreasonably high expectations. It's a fine line: as a company, do you play it cool and then over-deliver? Or do you talk a big game to boost sales and run the risk of coming up short?

I think this time OnePlus overextended itself a bit too much in terms of claims about camera performance. Cameras are really hard to get right, and just about impossible to perfect, even for companies that have been at this for a whole lot longer than OnePlus. That's what made this strategy so risky — despite the OnePlus 5's camera actually being pretty good, the deck was stacked against OnePlus launching a game-changing camera experience.

Despite the hyper-analyzing of the camera performance this week, I still stand by the conclusion in my review:

Measuring the OnePlus 5 on its main camera alone, it's a capable shooter that improves from last year but also doesn't perfectly match up to the top-end flagships out there today that can offer better, more consistent performance in a variety of shooting conditions. The secondary camera gives a small bump to the OnePlus 5's overall camera experience, enabling new shooting options and a fun-to-play-with Portrait Mode, but it really doesn't seem like adding this second camera was worth losing OIS (and perhaps larger pixels) and the potential for better photos out of the main camera.

For a $479 phone, that's definitely good enough. Seeing improvement from last year and generally good camera performance is what you expect for that price. The only "issue" here is the camera not reaching the great heights that OnePlus claimed it would.

Now, on to a few more points from the week that was:

  • For even more OnePlus 5, be sure to listen to our latest podcast — Daniel, Alex, Michael Fisher and I talk for well over an hour on the phone.
  • Now that Bixby Voice is out in the world for more people to test, we're starting to get a feel for what this service will really be like. Let's see how much it improves prior to a proper consumer launch.
  • Regardless of how good Bixby Voice ends up being, it's hard to see things any other way than Samsung dropping the ball not having it ready to launch with the Galaxy S8, though. This is way too late — and I'm sure it's been bothering a lot of people internally at Samsung.
  • Then there's the bigger question: even if Bixby Voice is great, does that make us at all want to use Bixby Home or Bixby Vision? Because those continue to be lackluster products.
  • On a personal note, my brother Kris and his wife Alisa got married on Friday. Not only are they wonderful for each other, but it's quite amazing how they have brought together two very large families. The future's going to be great.

That's it for now. Have a great week, everyone.