Along with releasing the first developer preview for Android 12, Google also provided a detailed roadmap as to what the release schedule looks like. As is the case with every new version of stock Android, there are quite a few hurdles to jump between releasing the first developer preview and the final launch.
Last year, Android 11 saw its first developer preview released in February, but the final version didn’t hit Pixel devices until early September. With Android 12, it seems that Google will be keeping a similar schedule, although we could see the first betas made available as early as May.
The reason for the time gap between the developer preview and the final release is for Google to get the software into the hands of developers. This makes it easier for bug fixes to be issued, along with additional features to be added or removed before the final version is released.
Android 12 Release Schedule
As for the timeline for Android 12, we’re looking at a similar schedule to that of Android 11.
- February 18th – Google launches first Developer Preview – This aims to get the software into the hands of developers so that the API’s can be interacted with, for developers to provide any feedback on.
- March – Developer Preview 2 – Google provides incremental updates with potentially new features and changes to the API’s in Android 12.
- April – Developer Preview 3 – Development begins to ramp up, as Google nears launching the first public beta for Android 12. Final compatibility testing and updates are released for stability and performance.
- May – Beta 1 – Google releases the initial Android 12 beta for those enrolled in the Android Beta Program. Over-the-air updates arrive for participating devices. Putting the software into hands of more and more users makes it easier to find any bugs and release fixes.
- June and July – Beta 2 and 3 – Compatibility testing continues, while taking and integrating feedback from those who have joined the Beta Program.
- August – Beta 4 – Final Beta is released, providing any last-minute or glaring issues that need to be rectified before the final version is released.
- August – Release Candidate (RC) – This build is potentially the final version that will make its way to the vast sea of Pixel owners. Final bug fixes, while giving developers time to prepare to release app updates that are compatible for mass usage.
- Final Release – Expected in late August / Early September – Final version of Android 12 is rolled out to the public.
Should you download the Android 12 Developer Preview?
In short, you should avoid downloading any Developer Preview unless you are a developer. Even though there don’t seem to be many major feature additions, app compatibility is easily broken, and you could even end up with a phone that doesn’t work properly. It can be tempting to try out the latest and greatest software ahead of its final release, but bugs can be nasty and you could lose important data on your phone.
If you really want to jump on the hype train for Android 12 before it finally releases, we would recommend waiting until the 2nd beta release of Android 12. That’s when things seem to stabilize for the most part, and it’s all downhill from there until Android 12 sees its final release later this year.