Samsung recently released its latest flagship devices in the Galaxy S lineup for 2018. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ launched with Android Oreo and Samsung Experience 9.0 that aims to offer additional features.

However, some users may prefer a stock Android experience, and the good news is that is entirely possible on the Galaxy S9 thanks to Google’s Project Treble. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ were the first Samsung devices to launch with Android Oreo and as such had Project Treble support baked right in. Due to this, a developer was able to successfully boot a Project Treble Generic System Image (GSI) on the Exynos Galaxy S9 for a pure Android Open Source Project (AOSP) experience.

What is Project Treble?

One of the most significant discussion points surrounding Android is the fragmentation that exists within the platform. With Google surpassing 2 billion Android devices in the middle of 2017, it’s no wonder an operating system of this size suffers from such a problem. To further exacerbate the issue, many of those devices are low-end, budget-friendly smartphones that are released by companies with limited resources that just don’t have the means to update devices regularly.

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Google recognized this and launched Project Treble alongside Android 8.0 Oreo to provide an easier way for OEMs to push the latest Android updates to a device without the involvement of the chipmaker. In a nutshell, Project Treble separates the Android OS from the vendor implementation in a separate partition.

What does this mean for the Galaxy S9/S9+?

Utilizing the Project Treble partition gave developers much of what they needed to boot AOSP on the Galaxy S9. Using phhusson‘s phh-Treble ROM, the team over at XDA were able to boot the S9 into a stock version of Android. Apparently, functionality such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, fingerprint scanner, camera, mobile data, and more all work. Compare this to the single AOSP ROM that was available for the Galaxy S8 and the situation is already looking much better.

Currently, it seems only the Android 8.0 system image is functional on the Galaxy S9, but the team is working on bringing the Android 8.1 update to the device to include the latest security patches.

Getting AOSP running on the Galaxy S9/S9+ isn’t without its challenges. This only works on the version of the S9 with an Exynos chip, since flashing a Project Treble GSI requires an unlocked bootloader and that isn’t possible on the Snapdragon models. Also, Samsung’s bootloader doesn’t support the traditional fastboot protocol, which means things like TWRP, that is typically used to flash ROMs, doesn’t work in its current state. To get it to work, the testers over at XDA had to be a little creative and flash the image directly to the system partition via root access — so it’s a little bit tricky.

Instructions

  1. You must be running a stock Android 8.x ROM.
  2. Unlock your bootloader.
  3. Download the firmware for your device from here.
  4. Flash system.img.
  5. Factory reset your device.
  6. Reboot.

Project Treble has reignited the custom ROM community by taking the most challenging aspect of porting ROMs devices and simplifying the process. It is only a matter of time before more ROMs begin utilizing the functionality of Project Treble and TWRP is updated to work with the Galaxy S9 to make the traditional method of flashing accessible to all.

Have you tried AOSP on the Galaxy S9? Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think about it and your experience with the flashing process.

SOURCE: XDA DEVELOPERS

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