New Android P beta is 'very close', 'near-final' but also just 'early'

How excited to be? Cautiously, unless you need to get cracking with testing for P's big changes

Google has emitted a new beta of Android P, but it's not obvious how excited to get about it.

We’re conflicted because Google has described the new release as "an early release candidate build" and says the full release is due "later this [northern] summer". Which suggests this release could probably be skipped given the season has many weeks to run.

But Google also described the beta as offering "near-final system behaviours and the official Android P APIs". Well that sounds a bit more exciting.

More exciting still is the tease that this release is "very close to what you'll see in the final version".

How close? Google is not saying.

What we do know is that Android P's features were frozen just under four weeks ago, so it's not as if the new beta will teach you anything new about the OS.

But it can teach you how your apps will behave under Android P. Google says this beta offers "everything you need to test your apps or extend them with Android P features like multi-camera support, display cutout, enhanced notifications, ImageDecoder, TextClassifier, and many others".

And those tests are worth running because Android P restricts access to some interfaces not supported in the Android SDK. Google has warned developers about this since February 2018.

The first chance to smoke out use of those interfaces before Android P debuts probably tips this release over into something of decent importance for many Android developers. So despite all of Google’s almost-contrary language we seem to have figured out how excited to be: a bit, but for utilitarian reasons. ®

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