Just a matter of months ago, Google released Android 8.1 Oreo to the public. While this software continues to roll out to devices of all kinds, Google has gone ahead with its announcement of the first Android P Developer Preview, a little earlier than last year’s Android O (8.0 Oreo) and when we expected the next release. The major overhaul of the Android operating system is known as Android P, for now, and brings more changes than some prior versions that were more incremental software updates. We now know all about the next mobile platform release, including many of the changes and added feature benefits. It’s in Alpha form, but is available for certain users and developers to flash as an early developer preview. Here’s everything you need to know.
As was the case the past two years, Google is releasing its Developer Preview early, ahead of the Google I/O conference scheduled for May. The purpose is so that manufacturers and developers, as well as certain users can start testing the version of the operating system ahead of official release. This, theoretically, should make it easier for third-party manufacturers who skin their devices to roll out the update after the public release. Even with the help of Project Treble, which was supposed to make for faster system updates, this hasn’t been the case just yet, because Android Oreo adoption is at a record slow like the version before it. With Google and soon others turning to what’s next, Android P, many device owners will be left without even Oreo, so work will be cut out. This over many years has contributed to Android’s fragmentation, which is at an all-time bad (or is it?). To stay up to date on the roll out process, keep it tuned to our Droid Updates Weekly Series.
Like in the past, Android P doesn’t have a full name yet. We expect Google to announce what the letter ‘P’ stands for as well as the version number either in May or when the official update begins rolling out. We think it’ll be Android 9.0 Popcorn or Pie, but it’s anybody’s guess right now.
As we reported, there will be a total of five Android P Developer Previews before the official release in Q3 of 2018. The first build that is now available is not a beta, meaning that it’s not meant for the average user to test. We’re expecting Google to announce full details on the new OS version in May with all the major new additions. As of now, we don’t exactly know how close the current software will resemble what we get in future releases. In May, Google is expected to release the first Android Developer Preview update (Preview 2), which could be the start of the Android Beta Program to give OTA preview updates. The third preview will follow in June with the fourth in July and fifth in August, all prior to the public release in late Q3. These will help Google eliminate bugs and take in feedback from users, more so than last year which was about one month shorter than this year’s projected timeline. Google is usually pretty good about hitting targets, so this should be an accurate estimate.
On March 7, Google posted out to its blogs and social accounts about Android P. The search giant also published the system images for developers and certain users to test out. Given the Alpha-like condition of the software, which will contain bugs and performance problems among other stability issues, it’s not recommended anyone upgrade their daily driver. Nexus support has been cut off as well as the Pixel C, though Google is making it easy to upgrade to a Pixel device with an incentive. The company is moving forward with only a few eligible devices this year being the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. All else will have to wait until the public roll-out of the software. And still, the age of your device and brand makes no promises. Once the update becomes available publicly, we’ll get a better idea of who this entails. For now, shall you have an extra Pixel lying around that you’re willing to wipe the data off, the option is on the table. We recommend waiting for at least the beta.
Android P introduces a number of new features including UI tweaks, a fresh launcher, a new Markup feature for screenshots, a relocation of the clock, notch support, a refreshed notifications panel, a new settings menu, updated volume controls, indoor positioning with Wi-Fi RTT, enhancements for notifications and notification channels, and more!
Installation: The files are available here.