Many Android users are still waiting on an update to Android 8.0 Oreo, but Google is nearing the first developer release for the next version of the OS. According to infamous leaker Evan Blass, Google is targeting the middle of this month for the Android P developer preview. We won’t have all the details when the dev preview rolls out, but it will definitely answer some questions.
Last year, the developer preview for Android O launched on March 21. In 2016, the Android N preview rolled out to devices in early March. So, this leak could end up being accurate even if it’s not based on any real information. This is just the time of year Google likes to release developer previews. Although, launching it on 3/14 (Pi Day) would be fitting.
The Android P developer preview will give devs and interested users their first look at the APIs and features Google wants to deploy in the next version of Android. A couple of possible features of Android P have leaked, including system-level support for screen notches and more restrictions on what hardware background apps can access.
Releasing the first developer preview in March gives developers time to play with things before the big Google I/O conference in May. Google will likely release another developer preview around then with refinements and new features.
Android P Developer Preview 1 is targeting a mid-month release.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) March 3, 2018
The developer previews will continue rolling out every few months until this fall when the final version of Android P drops. We won’t know what “P” stands for until then (they’re all named after sweet treats). Google is notorious for trolling with fake names before revealing the real one. Last year it was Oreo, and the version before that was Nougat. What’s P going to be? Peppermint, Pancake, or maybe just Pie? I vote for Pie—it’s easy to type.
You won’t be able to install the developer preview on any old phone you’ve got lying around. Google’s dev previews are built only for specific Google devices—usually the last two generations of hardware. That means you’ll need a 2016 or 2017 Pixel phone to flash the developer preview image. Google might keep the Pixel C in the program even though it’s a little older (there aren’t any newer Google tablets). Flashing the system image requires an unlocked bootloader, but there will also be the Android beta program. The beta pushes down an OTA update with the developer preview to your phone, and it doesn’t need an unlocked bootloader.
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