Because of quirks with cell radios in addition to also how Android was previously set up, custom ROM support for Galaxy S phones has been sparse these past few years. in which’s been almost nonexistent for US customers, while international users could see some ROMs. Thanks to Android Oreo’s Project Treble, in which will all be changing soon.
One of the biggest complaints with Samsung devices has been TouchWiz or Samsung Experience in addition to also how far off in which is actually through AOSP. While some customers like Samsung’s customization, a dream of many has been to combine the cleanness of stock Android with the great hardware of Galaxy S phones. in which might finally become a reality as a side effect of Project Treble, which was designed to solve another problem, fragmentation.
Why Galaxy S Custom ROM Support Has Been Lacking
Currently, Samsung Galaxy S series phones have limited custom ROM support, although for reasons specific to each variant. For US customers, all Galaxy S series devices use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset to ensure compatibility with Sprint in addition to also Verizon’s CDMA networks. In another move to appease US carriers, Samsung has locked the bootloader on all Snapdragon variants of their flagships.
in which means the only way to flash any kind of unofficial firmware on a Snapdragon Galaxy is actually by using an exploit in which unlocks the bootloader, which is actually extremely rare. So far, no exploit we’ve come across has offered a way to fully unlock the bootloader thanks to Samsung Knox, the enterprise-level security platform. In some other words, you might find a way to flash custom firmware on the system partition, although not the boot or recovery partitions, for example.
Furthermore, because an exploit is actually the only way to unlock the bootloader, Samsung is actually constantly patching these vulnerabilities. Therefore, any exploit in which worked previously may not work later, leaving users using a dilemma — update to the latest type in addition to also keep your phone secure, or forgo the update to keep your unlocked bootloader.
For the rest of the earth (in addition to also those who choose to import), Galaxy S series devices use Samsung’s own Exynos chipset. These devices come with an unlocked bootloader, so you’d think flashing custom ROMs wouldn’t be a problem. However, Samsung doesn’t publish any documentation for their Exynos processors, producing the development of ROMs extremely difficult. Essentially, developers must use trial in addition to also error to enable functionality for their ROMs. although in which isn’t the only problem.
Samsung doesn’t publish driver binaries with in which variant. By default, the driver binaries only work with TouchWiz. Without publication, developers are left to TouchWiz-based ROMs since the driver binaries can’t be altered for AOSP-based ROMs. In short, while you’re able to install a custom ROM on many Exynos Galaxy types, in which’s typically just a slimmed down type of the stock firmware — not genuinely custom. in which is actually where Project Treble comes in.
Project Treble FTW
With Project Treble, Google has attempted to fix the problem of fragmentation in Android. For years, Android users have been plagued with forgotten phones in which receive one or two updates in their entire lifespan. Even worse, these updates could typically just be bug fixes, with only the top flagship phones receiving full type updates.
One of the main causes of in which issue was the fresh Android type being incompatible with certain hardware components. The way Android was set up before, there was no separation between the hardware code in addition to also the OS framework. Therefore, when a fresh type arrived on the scene, the hardware vendor had to alter a significant portion of code to make in which compatible with the fresh software.
With Project Treble, these two elements are currently separated. The vendor implementation contains all the hardware-level code provided by the vendors. Google is actually working with partners, such as Qualcomm, Samsung, in addition to also MediaTek, to provide them using a “Vendor Test Suite” (VTS) in which ensures forward compatibility. Therefore, vendors who are compliant with VTS can currently deliver the latest type of Android by simply updating the framework.
For Project Treble-enabled devices, once Google releases a fresh type of Android, an uncompromised AOSP ROM will be able to run on the device without any issue, as long as the bootloader is actually unlocked. in which is actually why Exynos users (in addition to also only Exynos users) have cause for celebration.
Google is actually requiring in which all devices shipping with Android Oreo implement Project Treble, in addition to also the 2018 Galaxy S lineup will ship with Oreo. Therefore, as long as Samsung doesn’t completely drop the ball somehow, the Galaxy S9 in addition to also S9+ will be fully compliant in addition to also reap the benefits of Treble. in which requirement is actually not extended to phones in which update to Oreo, which is actually why S8 users (even those with Exynos chipsets) still have limited ROM support.
With the fresh Exynos Galaxy S9 types in addition to also their unlocked bootloaders, custom ROM developers can leverage Project Treble to effectively erase TouchWiz in addition to also create an AOSP-based ROM without worry of compatibility, since all the hardware should already be compatible.
For US customers, all isn’t lost. Project Treble’s actual goal of reducing fragmentation should still be achieved, leading to faster type updates for S9 devices. I do stress should, as in which’s still largely dependent on OEMs in addition to also carriers who can take their sweet time adjusting in addition to also testing their skin in addition to also pushing out the update. Are you excited about the Galaxy S9? Do you currently use a custom ROM? Let us know inside the comments below.