Today, Google officially released the first Android 11 Developer Preview for Pixel smartphones. Although the release is still internally referred to as Android R, Android 11 won’t be getting a dessert name as Google changed Android’s branding with Android 10 last year. Like previous beta releases, this first Android 11 Developer Preview is aimed at helping developers test the latest Android OS release ahead of the stable launch in August. In fact, Google has released this build a few weeks earlier than expected, just so they could give developers more time to prepare. Google will continue to release new previews until stable, but don’t expect the main features and APIs to be revealed until Google I/O 2020 in May.
The first Developer Preview is available now for manual flashing on the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4 XL. Sadly, the Essential Phone won’t be joining the list now or in the future as the company has ceased all operations. However, smartphones from other manufacturers could be supported in future preview releases as we’ve seen with Android 9 and Android 10 betas. Google typically shares the source code of the latest Android release with its biggest partners so that they can prepare for the new Android update, after all. Expect to see more Android 11 Developer Preview releases in the coming months followed by a stable update for Pixel phones in August.
For developers interested in reading up on the new APIs and behavioral changes, you can get started at the preview site that Google set up.
To get started with the latest release on one of the aforementioned Pixel devices, you can download the latest system image from the link below. This release is only intended for developers to test their apps against the latest behavioral changes and platform features, which is why Google hasn’t opened up sign-ups on the Android Beta site and why this first release is called a Developer Preview rather than an Android Beta. If you have a Project Treble-compatible device with an unlocked bootloader that launched with Android 9 Pie or Android 10, you can flash an Android 11 Generic System Image using fastboot. For developers who don’t have a supported Pixel or Project Treble-enabled device, you can download the latest system image from the SDK Manager in Android Studio.
Stay tuned to XDA for our extensive coverage on the new Android OS Developer Previews and Betas. We’ll be flashing it on several of our own Pixel devices and will dive into the firmware to detail everything that’s new on the surface and under-the-hood. Be sure to follow our Android 11 tag to catch up on all the news we’re going to be posting soon.
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