For a couple of years now, Google has been offering up upcoming versions of Android in a Developer Preview format. We first saw this with Android L which became Android 5.0 Lollipop as well as last year’s Android M release which we now know and love as Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Typically, these Developer Previews are only available for Nexus hardware and devices from Google. This year was no change up until just recently, when Sony announced that the Xperia Z3 from 2014 is able to run the Developer Preview of Android N just like a Nexus device. This is of course something of a first, but it’s also not surprising to see, as Sony have been experimenting with the Android Open Source Project for some time and they’ve recently been offering beta software of their own.
So, Xperia Z3 users can get their hands on the Developer Preview of N, but what about everyone else? The more recent Xperia Z5 line of devices is seemingly out, but the Xperia Z3’s older brother, the Xperia Z2, is seeing the Developer Preview just the same, thanks to an intrepid XDA-Developer member. Considering that the two devices are so similar on the inside – even sharing the same software numbers at times – this doesn’t seem like too big a deal, but it’s no mean feat to port something like this, especially when it’s just a preview. The Android N ROM for the Xperia Z2 started soon after the Xperia Z3 release, but the first version of the ROM won’t be available until early next month.
This might be something of an annoyance to a lot of users, but crushing bugs and making sure everything – as much as possible with a Developer Preview – works as intended should make the wait worth it. So far, the Developer says that the Preview is a little choppy in multi-window and that the camera doesn’t seem to work quite right, either. For a lot of curious users however, the biggest blow might be that your custom recovery and root will no longer work when using this. As always however, those looking to experiment with this new release should be aware of the risks involved and be careful when doing anything like this with their devices. Either way, this is cool to see and could lead to the Developer Preview of N reaching more devices before long.