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How to download and install Android O

Update: Public beta and Developer Preview 2 are now available

While the official release date for the final version of Android O is still unknown, as we've seen in the years before, we got a glimpse into Android O at the Google I/O Developer conference during the keynote on May 17. The public beta has just been made available, and the second Developer Preview has arrived. Here's how to download and install them.

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Android O final release timeline

Google has posted the new release timeline on their developer site, which tells us that the final release of Android 8.0 is expected in Q3 2017. Before that happens though, you will be able to install and try the Developer Preview and the public beta.

android o timeline 1
The release timeline / © Google

How to install the Android O Developer Preview

Along with the announcement of its features, the Android O Developer Preview images were made available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel and Pixel XL. Be warned that the Developer Preview isn't intended for the general public or for daily use, so it may not be stable.

The Developer Preview will last from March 21 until the final release of Android O. Preview 1 is already out, and Preview 2 was just released after the Google I/O keynote on May 17. Preview 3 and 4 will happen in June and July respectively. Here are our first impressions of the Developer Preview 1.

You can download the system images here, and then flash (install) them to your device. The following section contains the instructions from Google on how to flash a system image. For information on specific devices, see here if you need more help.

To flash a system image:

1. Download the appropriate system image for your device below, then unzip it to a safe directory.

2. Connect your device to your computer over USB.

3. Start the device in fastboot mode with one of the following methods:

• Using the adb tool: With the device powered on, execute:

adb reboot bootloader

• Using a key combo: Turn the device off, then turn it on and immediately hold down the relevant key combination for your device.

4. If necessary, unlock the device's bootloader using one of the following methods:

• If you are updating a Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P device using the hammerhead or angler builds, update your fastboot tool to the latest available version (>=23.0.1), and then run this command:

fastboot flashing unlock

• If you are updating an older device, run this command:

fastboot oem unlock

The target device will show you a confirmation screen. (This erases all data on the target device.)

See Unlocking the bootloader for more detailed instructions.

5. Open a terminal and navigate to the unzipped system image directory.

6. Execute the flash-all script. This script installs the necessary bootloader, baseband firmware(s), and operating system.

Once the script finishes, your device reboots. You should now lock the bootloader for security:

1. Start the device in fastboot mode again, as described above.

2. Execute:

fastboot flashing lock

or, for older devices, run:

fastboot oem lock

Locking bootloader will wipe the data on some devices. After locking the bootloader, if you want to flash the device again, you must run fastboot oem unlock again, which will wipe the data.

How to install the Android O public beta

The Android Beta Program website has had a bit of a refresh, and something big is on its way. The Android Nougat beta is officially complete, and it's time to make way for the Android O public beta. It's available now here.

For those who don't know, the beta program allows users with Google's Pixel and Nexus devices to try out new builds of Android before they roll out to everyone else. They tend to be buggy, but fans don't let that hold them back from testing the very latest. The Android O Developer Preview has already been released, but now it seems the public beta is here now for everyone else who wants to opt in. 

Devices which were enrolled in the Android Beta Program already have all been updated to the most recent public, stable version of Nougat, 7.1.2. Note that if your phone is still running the Nougat beta for some reason, you can download the latest OTA image and sideload it without wiping the device.

Let us know what you think of Android O in the comments.

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