Ahead of its first public unveiling, Google has made the first beta version of Android 10 "Q" available to download and install. Android Q's first developer preview and beta is here.  

There are two different routes you can take if you want it: the traditional developer route, or the super-friendly Android Beta Program route. Read on to find out more.

What is a beta/developer preview?

A public beta is a "work in progress" build that is released prior to a consumer rollout of the final software. Google offers the beta to collect and incorporate user feedback.

In these super early phases, where the software hasn't even been announced officially yet, it gives Google chance to iron out some issues before they even give us the lowdown on what exactly has changed. 

At this point in the rollout, it's mostly aimed at developers, to give them as much time as possible to get their software/apps running on the new code and making it work without hiccups before the software lands officially. 

Which phones support Android Q beta/developer preview?

In the initial phases Google is offering Android Q for:

So far there's no mention of any other handsets in the list, but we suspect that will change by the time Google I/O comes around and the company launches it officially. One of Android's own developers stated that this year's list of manufacturers and devices will be longer than last year. 

That's some claim. With Android Pie, the public beta was available on smartphones made by Sony, Xiaomi, OnePlus and Oppo, among others. We expect that will be some time this summer for Android Q. 

How can I get the Android Q beta?

Android Beta Program

Google wants to make it as easy as possible for you to try Android Q on a device, so it's offering the Android Beta Program again this year. It allows anyone enrolled to update their Android devices to the preview and receive over-the-air updates. It's very much like Microsoft's Windows Insider programme.

The same beta program was used for Android Nougat, Oreo and Pie and is very simple, meaning you don't have to get involved in flashing updates or anything complicated.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Visit google.com/android/beta to sign-up to the Android Beta Program.
  2. Sign into your Google account when prompted.
  3. Your eligible devices will be listed on the next page, click to enrol in the Beta Program.
  4. Go to Settings > System > Advanced > System Update to check for available downloads. It should show up within a few minutes.

That's it, it's so simple. We managed to get it installed on our Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL immediately after signing up. 

Once you're enrolled, you'll continue to be updated to every new version of the Android Q beta automatically, over-the-air. 

If you don't want those updates, or if you decide you no longer want the beta software, you can follow the steps above, but then click to "unenroll device".

It's important to note that if you've used the Android Beta Program before and enrolled your device for the Android Oreo or Pie program, you will need to re-enroll your phone. You won't automatically get upgraded to Android Q. Follow the steps above to make sure you keep getting beta software. 

Traditional system image

The more traditional way to get the Android Q developer preview is to go the system image/manual flashing route. You can download images from Google and then flash them onto your device, but it will be a fresh install, with everything erased. Here's the site where you can download them.

This page details how to flash while also providing step-by-step instructions that'll get you going.

Keep in mind flashing a system image will wipe all the information off your device, so ensure you back up important data beforehand. Also, flashing additional Android Q preview images will cause more data wipes, and if go this route, you will not get automatic OTA updates like you do with the Android Beta Program (as above).