Could Android N Be Coming to Non-Nexus Devices As A Consumer Beta? UPDATE: Perhaps Only Android One

Reddit user FUNExtreme discovered an interesting tidbit buried in the html code comments on Google’s Android N Developer Preview page that suggests Google might not only release a consumer beta of Android N, but might also release it for devices built by their “OEM partners.” If the code comments accurately reflect Google’s plans, this would be an unprecedented move by the Mountain View company, though it might result in slightly faster adoption of the latest Android releases by OEMs in the long-term. With their own internal testing augmented by feedback from consumer beta testers, manufacturers might more quickly get in front of any unforeseen issues with their apps running on Google’s latest and greatest.

One possible caveat applies though: if a consumer beta does indeed get released with support for non-Nexus devices, they’ll likely be carrier-unlocked variants of devices that already have little or no custom skin out of the box. After all, can you imagine Verizon allowing you to flash an Android beta straight from Google on your Droid Turbo 2? Neither can I. Also, installing the beta would likely void any manufacturer warranty that came with the device. It’s also possible that the preview would only be available for ‘OEM partner’ devices that haven’t even been announced yet, let alone released (in which case it could almost be like a rebirth of the Google Play Edition program). Of course, the “OEM partners” might just be those who Google partners with in their Android One program.



You can see the code for yourself at http://developer.android.com/preview/overview.html#timeline by using your browser’s ‘inspect element’ feature and choosing the element just above the “Timeline and updates” header. I checked out the page myself to verify the presence of the html comments, and you can see the result below (the selected element is highlighted in blue in the inspection panel on the right, and the code comments are in green below it):

Android N Beta possibly coming to OEM partner devices - fullsize1

As you can see, the code does indeed contain the following comments:

<p>New in the Android N Developer Preview: </p>

<ul>
<li> Accompanying Android Beta Program for consumers, starting later in the preview</li>
<li> More supported devices, including devices from OEM partners</li>
<li> Seamless OTAs for your devices, from initial release to final N release without flashing</li>
</ul>

It’s easy to read too much into simple comments left lingering in html code, hidden from view unless you use the element inspection feature in your browser. Still, it would definitely make for an exciting few months ahead of Android Neopolitan’s (wink wink nudge nudge) final release!

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that General Mobile, an Android One partner with Google, has already supported the Android N beta for some time, so the comments might simply be a reference to Android One manufacturers.

Via: Reddit