The first developer preview of Android P, Google’s latest version of Android is has arrived, allowing developers to climb aboard and start preparing their applications for the update. Google has announced the preview only for developers which means that regular users will not be able to download it just yet.
That said, the update is only for Google’s Pixel range of smartphones which includes the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL. Pixel users who are not signed up as developers yet can also go ahead try the preview, but one does have to be comfortable using command line tools and wiping the device for a fresh start with Android P. Developers on a different device can go ahead and download the Android Emulator to test their apps.
As far as installation is concerned, Google has outlined the entire process in detail on its developer site. To begin with the installation process, one has to download the latest Developer Preview system image and manually flash it to the Pixel device. Now, Google has four separate system images on its site for all four devices so you will need to cross-check before go ahead with the download.
After downloading the update you also have to ensure that the bootloader on your smartphone has been unlocked. If you have never done this in the past. You will have to go through the steps to get the bootloader unlocked first.
Before heading on to the process of flashing the update, Google does prompt users to create a backup of the phone since installing a system image on a device removes all data on it. Once a backup has been created, the user can go ahead and flash the system image onto the device. Google has also gone on and also added a comprehensive guide to flashing the device if one is not too sure about how to go about it.
Once the files are flashed, you are good to go. However, there is one major downside to manually flashing system images and that is the fact that these devices will not automatically receive OTA updates to later Developer Preview milestone builds or the final public release. So the user will have to manually keep a tab on updates and repeat the process once an update is available.
Uninstalling the preview is also quite similar. A factory spec system image of the Pixel device it was installed on needs to be downloaded from the Factory Images for Nexus and Pixel Devices page. The image is then required to be flashed manually.
Google seems to be sticking to a routine here, as this the third year that they have decided not release the first developer preview via the Android Beta Program, which allows users to get early Android builds via OTA updates on select devices.