Google has for several years now been providing the world with access to early preview builds of its latest versions of Android OS. It all started back in 2014 with Lollipop, then followed up with the Marshmallow OS in 2015. This year saw the Developer Preview of Android N arrive earlier than expected. Sadly, in order to take the plunge and explore the newest Android OS version’s early preview, which is yet to be gifted to the general public, one has to have a current Nexus device.
Though smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung and Sony are already making efforts to test the beta builds of their homegrown skinned preview versions for a few markets, it appears that Google has plans to officially allow its OEM partner devices to run on the Android N Developer Preview.
Reddit user FUNExtreme made an interesting discovery in the HTML code used on the Google established Android N Preview page. Apparently there are a few things that may have gone unnoticed in the “What’s New” section. The most notable include: “more supported devices, including devices from OEM partners” as well as “ Seamless OTAs for your devices, from initial release to final N release without flashing.”
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In layman’s terms, it appears that Google could indeed have plans to induct devices from other OEMs into its Android N Developer Preview program, and all this will possible without the need of flashing. This is welcomed news and is very comforting to owners of non-Nexus devices or anyone who wouldn’t go for a Nexus device for that matter.
Before you start imagining the endless possibilities that the Android N Developer Preview would introduce to your Android device, it is worth mentioning the significant hurdle for this said initiative.
Note that some of the recently released devices such as the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S7 Edge and the LG G5 are currently running on heavily skinned versions of Android that basically touch every single aspect, oftentimes even the functionalities of the devices.
Even for something that appears as frivolous as the Always On Display feature, is a function that Android OS does not in and of itself support, not to mention the newest Android N Preview. Therefore it seems unlikely that these devices would sacrifice the same functionalities that were initially marketed by their manufacturers to customers, just to be compatible with the build.
There is a very particular reason why a Stock setting option is missing on these devices, especially considering that most expert users take every opportunity to redress the TouchWiz UI as well as other softwares they perceive as bloated.
What is more of a possibility, assuming Google does go through with these plans, is that Google may allow devices to run the OS, if their Android builds are ‘de-skinned’. This would mean that the features offered in a specific Android device would need to visually as ‘Stock’ as a non-Nexus device can be.
Only time will ultimately tell what Google intends to do. In the meantime remember that this entire story is best taken with a heap of salt, as the suspicious code could have been placed on purpose or accidentally.
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June 16 2016