The coronavirus pandemic has turned everyone’s daily life upside down, and Google is no exception. Today the company is finally reflecting that reality in the Android 11 release schedule and delaying the first beta of Android 11, which was due out this month. Instead, Google is releasing a previously unscheduled “Preview 4” release of Android 11 today, and it’s pushing the entire schedule back a month. The good news is that Google also announced a new online event, “Android 11: The Beta Launch Show,” which will take place on June 3.
This month was supposed to have Google’s biggest show of the year, Google I/O, on May 12, but that was completely canceled in March due to the pandemic, so the Beta event will serve as a stand-in. As part of the big show, we were supposed to get the first big “beta” release of Android, which usually comes with a lot of information on what Google has been working on all year. There have already been three (and counting today, four) “Preview” releases, but these are more like “alphas.”
The beta releases are the next big step in Google’s development process, and with that step comes wider phone support and easier installation. Lately, a big collection of third-party OEMs have jumped on board the beta program—basically everyone but Samsung—and curious users can install the beta themselves at Android.com/beta. Critically, the beta releases also let you go back to the stable release if you don’t like them, while for the Preview releases, only phones with an unlocked bootloader can go backward to an older version.