We were all minding our own business having a slow news day yesterday when all of the sudden Google decided to make the Android N preview available to developers across the world. As a team, “we” decided that I would be the guinea pig that would install the new OS on my precious Nexus 6P so I went about figuring out what I needed to do. What’s really cool about the Android Preview this year is that Google is making it a lot easier for people to access the newest nameless tasty treat.
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Android Beta Program
Traditionally you have had to download a tar file with the system files and flash them all over fastboot. That’s not all that daunting for the seasoned flasher, but to an Android newbie, it might look like an unscalable mountain.
The Android Beta program is something that Google is trialing this year to make it much easier for developers to get Android N onto their smartphones. More than likely, developers don’t really need a tool that makes things easier, but things that make life easier are always welcome.
Standard Disclaimer Straight From Google:
The Android Beta Program gives developers an opportunity to try out pre-release versions of Android. The program is currently targeted towards developers and is not suitable for use on your primary device…You may opt-out of the program at any time to return to the stable, public version of Android. Note: If you opt-out when your device is running a beta version of Android, all user data on the device will be wiped.
Now that we have gotten all of the boring legalese out of the way, it’s actually super easy to enroll (or opt-out) of the Android Beta Program. Once you have mustered the courage, go to https://g.co/androidbeta and see if you have any eligible devices. If you do, you can enroll in the program. After I signed my life away, the notification that I had an update popped up on my phone almost instantly and I began downloading the update. It’s also worth noting that the update is about 1.1 GB, so I wouldn’t recommend doing it until you are somewhere with a sturdy WiFi connection.
After that, it’s just like installing any system update that you will have had on a monthly basis since Marshmallow was released. I’m still taking some time to take a look around this freshly baked confectionery, but upon first glance it has a lot of visual changes. Most notably is the new setup for quick settings being relocated to where Samsung first started putting them back in the Gingerbread days and (finally) multi-window support. Below are some screenshots that I have taken while I’ve been playing with the new OS: