Android P, the next major Android iteration after Oreo, has received its final beta preview ahead of its public debut that is scheduled for later this summer. The new beta preview that comes as the Android P Beta 4 aka Android P Developer Preview 5 is a release candidate build with final system behaviours to set the stage for the public release. Google has also offered "everything" that developers need to accomplish their testing before the arrival of the official Android P release. Similar to the previous Developer Preview that was released earlier this month, the latest beta update is initially designed for Google Pixel devices and is available for users who have enrolled in the Android Beta programme, which will deliver over-the-air (OTA) updates to users.
"Beta 4 is the last preview milestone before we launch the official Android P platform later this summer. Take this opportunity to test your apps and publish updates, to make sure you offer a great experience to users transitioning to Android P!" writes Android's VP of Engineering Dave Burke in a blog post while announcing the new beta release.
The schedule for the public release of Android P is a mystery so far. However, it is expected to arrive sometime in September - matching the timeline of the public Android Oreo launch.
Meanwhile, Google has provided Android P APIs (API level 28), Google Play services version 12.4.46, and the July Android security patch through the latest Android Developer Preview. Release notes for the Android P Beta 4 are available on the Android Developers site.
Notably, the past Android P beta versions already brought an updated notification panel, new Colors menu to view an image in different colour modes, revamped emoji design, quick reply for bundled notifications, and a new Security API with the addition of Face and Iris authentication alongside the original fingerprint authentication. The previous versions also included a new gesture navigation system and enhancements such as Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness, App Actions, revamped Quick Settings, Slices, and an Android Dashboard.
Developers can leverage the addition of new features and APIs within the latest Android P Developer Preview by downloading the official API 28 SDK and tools into Android Studio 3.1 or by using the latest version of Android Studio 3.2. Google Play's beta testing feature is also available to help developers release their apps for a small group of beta testers before making them public for the masses.
Android P Beta 4 or Developer Preview 5 is initially available for Google Pixel devices, including Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL. Users who have already enrolled and received the Android P Beta 2 on their Pixel device will automatically receive the update to the Beta 3. However, users who are new to the beta world need to enrol in the Android Beta programme to start testing the latest update. It is recommended to install the Android P Beta 3 on a secondary device as it may contain some serious bugs.
In case if you don't want to install the latest beta version on your Pixel device, Google has provided the new version for Android Emulator as well. Partner manufacturers who are already participating in the Android P Beta programme will receive the Beta 3 over the coming weeks. This means the new beta will soon also debut on other devices, including the Essential PH-1, Nokia 7 Plus, OnePlus 6, Oppo R15 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X21, Vivo X21 UD, and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S.
Last week, the Android engineering team hosted a Reddit AMA to detail the experience that is debuting with the public release of Android P. The team highlighted features such as Adaptive Battery, Quick Settings tiles, Background Restrictions, Dark mode, and Gesture navigation.