How stable is the Android P beta developer preview?

The first Android P developer preview arrived in March 2018, but only for Google’s Pixel devices. Then, at Google I/O in May, the company released the second Android P preview for not only its Pixel phones, but also seven other OEM smartphones. This is the first time an Android developer preview has ever been available for a non-Google device.

We’ve already taken a look at Android P on the Pixel XL and the Essential Phone. But after using it for two weeks as a daily driver, how stable is it? Is Android P stable enough to use on your main smartphone? Find out below.

Android P beta bugs, stability, and battery life

Don’t miss

As with just about every other beta software build, app crashes are very much a thing with this Android P beta. However, it’s not often, and it never happens with apps that I absolutely need to stay open for a long period of time. Instagram and Slack close every once in awhile when I scroll through my feed, but that’s really the only trouble I experience on a semi-regular basis. Google Maps navigation works just fine, and so does podcast streaming with Pocket Casts.

I have run into a few random reboots, though. My Pixel XL has rebooted twice since installing the Android P beta, though it doesn’t do any long-term damage to the device. Our friends at 9to5Google unfortunately can’t say the same.

Battery life has been surprisingly good. I’m still getting about four hours of screen-on time on the Pixel XL, which is slightly less than I was getting on the stable build of Android 8.1 Oreo.

android p beta

Other known issues

Google’s release notes page lists many more bugs associated with this update:

  • Users who depend on Accessibility Services — such as Talkback and Switch Access — may have challenges using this Android beta build, particularly the new system navigation, Overview, and the Launcher.
  • System and app performance is known to be periodically slow and janky, and devices may become occasionally unresponsive. These problems may become more acute with prolonged use.
  • Battery life may be regressed in this release for screen-on and screen-off use cases.
  • System navigation still experiences some jank and frozen states on Pixel devices.
  • Playback over Bluetooth may be unstable in some cases.
  • Paired devices may be unable to change device volume.
  • Devices cannot communicate with NFC readers.
  • Device cannot be factory reset. Workaround is to remove all Google accounts from the device first.

There are many more known issues in this developer preview, which you can find at this link.

When should you give Android P a shot?

We still have three developer previews to go until we see a final Android P release in Q3. So, one would assume that Android P isn’t stable enough to install on their main smartphone. But we all know what happens when you assume.

In my experience, the Android P beta is stable enough to install on your main smartphone as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into. You’ll experience bugs and possibly bad battery life. Don’t be surprised if you see a fair share of app crashes, either. If you can live with these things, I’d say go for it. If you need your smartphone to be as reliable as possible, you might want to wait until the third developer preview lands in June.

  • Preview 1 (initial release, alpha)
  • Preview 2 (incremental update, beta)
  • Preview 3 (final APIs and official SDK, Play publishing, beta)
  • Preview 4 (release candidate for testing)
  • Preview 5 (release candidate for final testing)
  • Final release to AOSP and ecosystem

Now I want to hear from you. Have you used the Android P beta yet? If so, how has your experience been so far?

Next: How to install Android P beta on the Essential Phone

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