At I/O 2017, Google made a number of key announcements including the launch of Google Assistant on iOS, Android Go lightweight OS for entry-level devices and more. Google also detailed the new features that are coming as a part of Android O update, including Picture-In-Picture (PIP) mode, Notification Dots, battery-life improvements and more. Google also announced the launch of Android O Public Beta program for Pixel and Nexus devices.
Until now, Google used I/O developer conference as a platform to announce the new Android version. However, since last year, Google had been launching the Developer Preview before I/O, giving enthusiasts an early access to try out features before rolling out the Public Beta. If you have Pixel or Nexus device, and can’t wait for the official rollout of Android O, you can download and install the beta version right away. While there are two ways to go about it, let’s look at the installation steps in detail.
Android O Public Beta compatible devices
The Android O Public Beta is compatible with both Pixel and Nexus range of devices. These devices include – Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C tablet, the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6P and the Nexus Player. ALSO READ: Google Photos updated with new features like Suggested Sharing, Photo Books
How to install Android O Public Beta via OTA
This is probably one of the easiest ways of getting Android O Public Beta on your Nexus or Pixel devices. If you own any of the compatible devices, simply head over to android.com/beta and sign-up for the Android Beta Program. Remember to use the same Google ID from which you have signed in on your Android device. ALSO READ: Google I/O 2017: Here are the top 5 features coming to Android O
Once the sign-up is complete, wait for a couple of hours and head over to Settings About -> System Updates on your Pixel or Nexus device. If the update is available, tap on download and install it. Once the installation is complete, the phone will automatically reboot to the latest operating system. ALSO READ: Google I/O 2017: Standalone VR headsets is what we needed; WorldSense technology from HTC, Lenovo coming soon
How to install Android O Public Beta using factory images
It is a traditional method of installing the operating system on your smartphone. The procedure for flashing factory images is a little tedious and geeky, as even the slightest of mistakes can potentially brick your smartphone. This procedure may also erase the data on your smartphone, so ensure that you take complete backup of your data before proceeding. ALSO READ: Google I/O 2017: Android exceeds 2 billion monthly active devices
Getting your Pixel or Nexus device ready
Head over to Settings -> About Phone -> and tap for 7-8 times on Build Number to unlock Developer Options. Once this is done, go to Settings -> About Phone -> Developer Options and enable USB Debugging.
Next, head over to Android Developer website to download the factory image for your compatible device. For instance, if you have a Pixel device, you will have to download this file – sailfish-opp2.170420.017-factory-58351371.zip, or if you have a Nexus 6P, you’ll have to download this file – angler-opp2.170420.017-factory-dd10cede.zip. Once the file is downloaded, rename it to something as simple as ‘pixel’ or ‘nexus6p.’ ALSO READ: Google I/O 2017: Android Go for India, Brazil and other emerging markets announced
Next, you’ll have to download and install Google’s latest USB drivers here, followed by ‘Minimal ADB and Fastboot’ from here. Unpack the .zip file on your desktop and open the folder. Next, hold the ‘shift’ button on your keyboard, right click and then click on ‘open command window here.’ Now, connect your Pixel or Nexus device with your PC using the data cable, type adb devices in the command prompt window and hit enter. Here, your device should show under ‘connected devices.’ If the device shows up, you’re all set to flash the factory image. In case your device isn’t showing up, you’ll have the repeat the steps again. ALSO READ: Google I/O 2017 Live: Google Assistant comes to the iPhone, reaches 100 million users on Android
Flashing Android O factory image on Nexus and Pixel devices in four easy steps
Unzip the factory image file that you downloaded earlier, and copy the contents inside the ‘Minimal ADB and Fastboot’ folder. Now, follow the below-mentioned steps to flash the factory image.
Step One: Hold ‘shift’ button on your keyboard, right-click and then click on ‘open command window here.’ Now type adb reboot bootloader. (Alternatively, you can also switch off your device, and press a combination of — Volume Up + Volume Down + Power buttons when the device boots.)
Step Two: If the bootloader of your device is locked (as shown on your smartphone screen), type fastboot flashing unlock and hit enter. If you have an old device, type fastboot oem unlock and hit enter. (In case the bootloader is already unlocked, directly head over to step three)
Step Three: Type flash-all and hit enter. This will flash all the required files such as bootloader, baseband firmware and the operating system itself. After the installation is successful, your device will automatically reboot to the new OS.
Step Four: Now, boot to fastboot mode again, and relock the OEM by typing fastboot flashing lock and hit enter. In case of older devices, type fastboot oem lock and hit enter.
Disclaimer: Be very careful while flashing the factory image as even a single mistake could brick your device. Proceed at your own risk.