Google recently delivered good news to Android developers and fans, announcing that interested parties could get an early taste of Android N.
Not only that, but Google launched the Android Beta Program, which lets users test the latest mobile Android OS and send their feedback to the company. During the beta, users who enroll will get new builds via over-the-air (OTA) updates.
It was surprising to see Google announce the Android N developer preview, as the enterprise usually rolls out its latest mobile OS during the I/O developer conference. This year, the event will take place between May 18 and May 20 in Mountain View, California.
The search engine company took notes from the likes of Microsoft and Apple and introduced the Android Beta Program. The digital testing ground allows all Android loyalists who own eligible devices to join the quest of improving the latest mobile OS. As part of the program, users who enroll will be getting the preview of Android N in the form of a system update.
With no beta program available until now, Android fans previously had to go through a bit of a hassle to check out the operating system previews. Interested users had to download the image of the preview from the developer site and manually flash the image file on their device (tablet or smartphone).
Albeit it was not exactly rocket science, it certainly was not the average user's cup of tea.
Should you want to test out the Android N on your Nexus tablet or smartphone, simply head over to the official website, log in with your Google credentials and click "Enroll Device." This option will only be available if you have an eligible device.
Once you enroll your eligible smartphone or tablet, expect to see a notification about the Android N preview. For now, only the following devices are supported: Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel C, General Mobile 4G Android One and Nexus Player.
"You may remain in the Android Beta Program beyond the N release to preview future Android N maintenance releases (MRs)," Google says.
Testers who remain in the program will get OTA updates of pre-release variants of the MR automatically. When the beta program ends, testers will start receiving regular public updates, just like everyone else.
The road map for the testing phase shows the following.
Preview 1, the initial variant (alpha build) of Android N is open for download, with the second update scheduled for April. In May, a third preview should become available. According to Google, June will see the outing of the final APIs and the official SDK for Android N.
The final testing images will be released in July, with an expected live version of Android N heading to global markets in the third quarter of 2016.