Google is on track to release the next major version of Android in the third quarter of 2018, and today the company has released Android P Beta 3, also known as Developer Preview 4 (because naming has never been Google’s strong suit).
The latest factory images are now available for Pixel and Pixel 2 smartphones, or Pixel users can enroll in the Android Beta program to receiver an over-the-air update. Google’s Engineering VP David Burke also notes that other phone makers who are participating in the beta program will begin rolling out Beta 3 in the next few weeks.
So what’s new in Android P DP4/Beta 3? Not a lot in terms of new features, and that’s according to plan.
According to Google’s timeline, Developer Preview is the initial release candidate. The company already made final APIs and the official SDK available in the previous update. The goal for this release was to fix bugs, improve stability, and generally get the operating system in shape for a final release.
There are a few minor design changes though, including a new look for the back button and screen rotate icon.
And there is one more Developer Preview expected before Google is ready to roll out Android P for everyone. So there’s still a chance some things could change between now and the stable release.
Android P brings a bunch of small and larger changes to Google’s mobile operating system, including:
- Gesture-based navigation (swipe up on the home button to switch apps, etc)
- Native support for phones with notches/display cut-outs
- Native support for phones with multiple cameras
- Background app restrictions on mic and camera usage
- Notification and smart reply updates
- UI changes (colorful settings icons, etc)
- Support for HEIF images and HDR VP9 video
One thing we still don’t know? What the P in Android P stands for. Google will probably hold that secret tight to its vest until it’s ready to launch the first stable version of the operating system.