Google introduces Android P Beta Program with Developer Preview 2 at Google I/O 2018

Google I/O 2018 is occurring as we speak in Mountain View, California where developers, Google enthusiasts and media have gathered to learn the future of tech. Back in early March, the search giant announced the first Android P Developer Preview. Developers and manufacturers have been actively testing the software that’s been in alpha-like condition, in hope to eliminate bugs and issues. Today, Google is taking the platform upgrade to the next stage. During its keynote address, the company fully unveiled the next major overhaul of its mobile operating system. The second Android P developer preview is here and so is the Android P beta program, right on schedule.

 

As it did last year with Android Oreo, Google will release five developer previews earlier than usual for manufacturers and developers so they can prepare the update for their devices and apps ahead of the public roll out. This, theoretically, should make it easier for third-party manufacturers who skin their devices to roll out the update after the public release. Despite Project Treble and improvements in Oreo, the goal of reducing fragmentation once again did not go as planned. Android P will go public in August or September according to Google’s timeline, yet many Android flagships are still running some version of Nougat from the year before. Many OEMs continue to roll out Oreo to devices of all kinds. We expect to see Google hold a hardware event to unveil new Pixel phones including a possible mid-ranger along with the platform release. As for the next developer previews, Google has said to expect preview 3 in June, preview 4 in July, and a final preview in early August. Google is usually pretty good about hitting targets, so this should be an accurate estimate.

Let’s get down to business shall we. Google revealed Android P on stage today, showcasing many of its abilities. This included some we already knew about from March, and some new functions which we’ll detail in a separate post. This is the first beta version of Android P, so more fans with compatible hardware will be able to test the software shall they choose. It’ll be up to us to report feedback so Google can clean up and address any and all performance issues before the next beta release. Many of the features are still unfinished and won’t work as they should, but time will get them to where they need to be. Android P is still a ways from ready for the prime time, so don’t install it on your daily driver just yet. One can learn how to send Google feedback here.

Google is yet to confirm what version number Android P will occupy, but 9.0 is a reasonable guess. The platform update looks like it will be a larger one when compared to previous versions of the OS like Nougat and Oreo, but far from the larger size of Android Lollipop. We still don’t have a dessert name that begins with ‘P’ either, so y’all will have to dwell for a bit longer on that. Typically Google reveals this information in the fall.

Given the amount of Android devices, manufacturer skins and carrier bloat, the update does not reach everyone. The system images for Google’s second Android P are now live and linked near the bottom of the post. As a reminder, Nexus support has been cut off, so owners of only Pixel and Pixel 2 can flash the version right now. Doing so will also clear your device of its contents. It’s not recommended by Google nor us to flash images unless you’re familiar with the process since it can be a bit cumbersome. For the rest of us, there’s now a second option for installing the preview update, which is via the Android P beta program that is official as of today. This is will work similar to the Android O beta program.

The Android P beta program gives select device owners the ability to receive the Android previews as over-the-air updates by enrolling. Exiting the program before the final release and reverting back to Android Oreo will result in data loss, but shall you stay on the program through the public release, no data will be lost. During the journey, users will still get security patches each month as normal. Pixel and Pixel 2 owners are eligible and can get it now! And in surprising fashion, Google is changing things up for this year’s beta program with a major breakthrough for Project Treble. I was beginning to think Treble was no biggy, but that is not the case as the company for the first time is opening its Android beta program to devices from other Android OEMs. Phone makers will provide the update for some high-end Android phones, but they’re not arriving yet and no release dates have been provided. Though, a few devices that will support it have been confirmed which will also get the official update once released, these are as follows: Essential PH-1, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X21UD, Vivo X21, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and OnePlus 5T. As you’d expect, these are the companies that have stuck to a lighter Android skin atop Android. More devices might be added later and we’ll have more to come on this.

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. See this post that was wrote up in March that shows the full list of what’s new and what’s coming. Google also announced new features during the show including adaptive battery, adaptive brightness, app actions with slices, a new ML Kit, improved multitasking, auto-adjusting media volume, dashboard for well being, enhanced Do Not Disturb, and a new Wind Down mode. Don’t get too attached to your favorites though, since there’s no telling whether or not they’ll all stick around.

Manual Installation: Preview files are available here
OTA Sign-up: Enroll in the Android P Beta Program here

Follow the instructions at your own risk and be sure to let us know what tasty dessert you think Android P will stand. Does this update seem worthy of version 9.0? Let us know and we’ll be in the comments to assist you and express our thoughts as well.

We’re covering Google I/O 2018 in its entirety, stay here at Droid Turf for coverage throughout the week.

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About Doug Demagistris 1627 Articles
Doug Demagistris is the Founder and current Editor In Chief of Droid Turf. He grew up in New York and now attends Bryant University where he is studying marketing and communication. He has been and always will be a Google enthusiast thanks to Android’s customization, flat design and exceptional integration with various Google services. Currently, Doug uses a Pixel 2 XL as his daily driver for its unique design, powerful hardware, exceptional camera, and stock experience. For shorter instances, he’ll glance at his Huawei Watch. And for more productive work, you’ll find him typing away on his Pixelbook. Doug is hopeful his productivity will make lives easier, more meaningful and help down the road.