Here's how Google sped up its seamless OTA update installation on Pixel phones
A few days ago we covered that Google’s efforts to speed up the installation of Android seamless updates on their Pixel phones have finally begun to be implemented, starting with Android 14 QPR2 Beta 1.
The company has been researching this since last year, and now we could be a few months away from its final implementation in the stable ROM. Now, Android expert Artem Russakovskii revealed the main changes that Google made to the system to achieve this milestone.
This is how Google boosted the seamless OTA updates installation speed on Pixel phones
As mentioned in our previous coverage, the installation of each seamless OTA update on Google Pixel phones took a minimum of 30 minutes, with reports of up to almost an hour in some cases. However, after installing Android 14 QPR2 Beta 1, multiple users noticed that this time had been reduced to even less than 10 minutes.
So, basically, people can continue using their smartphones during the installation process, and in around 10 minutes they will have access to all the new features of the update in question. Being part of QPR2 Beta 1, it is possible that this improvement will be available to every eligible Pixel phone with the March 2024 feature drop update.
According to Artem Russakovskii, there are 3 key improvements that Google made to significantly reduce the installation time of seamless updates on their Pixel phones:
OS parallelizing compression operations
This means that compression operations executed during installation are now divided into sub-operations, so that each CPU core can process them more efficiently and intelligently. This change reduced installation time by 26%.
OS batching operations of small blocks
This means that small blocks of operations are batched into bigger ones for greater efficiency when working with them. Russakovskii gives as an example that blocks that require 200 KB writes will be treated as a batch of 800 KB, reducing the time required to install the update by 24%.
Modern Pixel devices now using LZ4 compression algorithm
The most significant change seems to be the implementation of the LZ4 compression algorithm on Google Pixel phones (from the Pixel 7 series and above, including Pixel Tablet and Pixel Fold). This tweak resulted in a massive reduction of up to 50% in the update installation time.
Some additional details about Pixel devices seamless updates installation
The source specifies that the first two improvements mentioned above were made in AOSP, so all Pixel users will benefit from them. However, Russakovskii is not sure if the third and most significant change (implementation of the LZ4 compression algorithm) will reach Pixel 6 and older series.
So, at least for now, users of those older devices will still notice faster installation of seamless OTA updates, but it won’t be as fast as in more recent generations. Regarding the implementation of LZ4 compression in other brands, it is something that each OEM decides individually, but perhaps more than one will make the change in the future due to improvements in efficiency.