Google surprised everyone with a big revelation it made on 21 March 2017 with the introduction of Android O built with the latest in software technology.
However, it does make you wonder as to why is the software giant hurrying with the new OS. The previous version, Android 7.0 Nougat has not hit most of the markets yet. Many Android device users are still grappling with Marshmallow, and others are running on Android 5.x Lollipop. A vast majority of Android market, which is the Indian & Chinese smartphone users still operate Android 4.4.X KitKat version.
To settle all your worries, Google has only released the Developer Mode for Android O so far and has said that the Beta version will be available in late 2017, although no date has been set yet. Developers from around the globe are losing their minds over this new introduction, and want to get their hands on developing not only versatile standalone applications but several other interdependent features that can make a complete use of Android O.
Although Google has announced that this pre-release is only for certified developers, it is out of the question that it has not gotten most of the non-developer minded bunch out there curious as well. It is, however, mandatory to inform you not to proceed with downloading, or installing the brand new OS on your Android device, because once you install it, there is no turning back from it. It will erase all of the data ever saved on the hard disk unless backed up properly, and you may find yourself in an entirely dark spot!
Nonetheless, if you think you are a maverick and want to tackle this ordeal head on, then download Android O from the link given below.
DOWNLOAD ANDROID O FOR YOUR DEVICE
Android O is currently only available on certain devices:
- Nexus 5X
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus Player
- Pixel C
- Pixel XL
If you have any experience installing an operating system on a PC, whether Windows OS, Linux or Macintosh, then you will find this process a bit similar.
First of all, you need to download a system image for the relevant device as listed above. Secondly, you need to flash it to your device.
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Some Useful Details to Know Beforehand
Bear in mind folks; this is just a Developer Preview being released as a factory image. It is not to be confused with Android O’s Beta version (not released yet), so there is no OTA (over-the-air) release for this. The only reason you non-developer bunch need to know is, Android O is still in its development stage, and that is why only opted by developers for now. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, you are putting the device in harm’s way, and it may brick your smartphone as well. Proceed with sheer caution!
To (or “intending to”) update a phone or tablet to Android O, you will first need to unlock the bootloader on your device.
Ahead of unlocking the bootloader, you need to possess a strong background in working with the Android SDK environment which is also known as the Android Software Development Kit and Terminal either in OS X or Linux or the Windows Command Prompt. It is very much likely that something will go wrong along the way if you are not sure about what you are doing.
For those of you who are Android coders, and have been waiting for this lifetime opportunity, then you need to download Android Studio which is an Official IDE for Android.
DOWNLOAD ANDROID STUDIO 2.3 FOR WINDOWS
Follow all the listed instructions on how to install it correctly. Going ahead, you will need the ‘adb’ and ‘fastboot’ files which can be found in the Platform Tools folder.
Side Note: Commands are written in the terminal on a Linux or os x platform contain the “./” which is not required if you are using a Windows platform.
Steps to Enable Developer Settings and USB Debugging
Before proceeding, ensure that your device falls under the above-listed device models currently running on Android 7.x Nougat. If this is not the case, turn back and abort!
- Go to Settings and scroll down to About Phone/Tablet
- Tap on the Build number exactly seven times until you see a dialogue box informing you that you are now a developer
- Now, go back to the Settings menu and scroll down to see a new option called Developer options. Then, click on this option
- Check the developer option and USB debugging option to turn ON.
- Also, ensure that Enable OEM unlock is checked.
- Using the USB cord for your device, plug it into the USB port of the laptop or CPU, and when prompted to Allow USB debugging, click “OK” on the dialogue Keep the phone connected to the computer at all times. Alternatively, you may also choose always to allow access to your Android device to the computer it is connected.
Make sure everything is working as it should so far. If there is a mistake somewhere, go back and trace back your steps.
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Unlock the bootloader
If you own a Nexus or Pixel phone bought directly from Google, your device must have a bootloader that you can unlock. On the off chance, you need to flash the software manually; you must do this instead.
First of all, you must boot into the bootloader. To perform this action, you have the following two choices-
- Turn off your phone or tablet and hold down the power button and the volume down button to enter the Bootloader menu.
- Alternately, you can also enter the following set of commands from the terminal or command prompt as stated in the paragraphs above.
Before proceeding to the next step, you need to make that the device is properly connected and it is recognized by your computer. Enter the following command:
If the command returns a string of characters, it means you are ready to proceed to the next step, which is to start updating your device.
Enter the Bootloader menu by running the following command:
./adb reboot bootloader
You will now see a tremendous amount of information listed under. Among them will be the lock state of the connected device. Unless it has been unlocked in the past, it should display the locked, although a device can be locked and unlocked several times.
It is important to remember that unlocking the bootloader is only required under compelling circumstances, either to fix or modify Android software or when flashing a stock firmware image, which is what we are doing in this case. The image you intend to flash into the bootloader manually can be obtained from the link provided before for the particular device type.
Side Note: When unlocking Nexus’ bootloader, the device will factory reset itself, and delete any existing data on the device. This process is unrecoverable and does not allow auto-backup. So, before proceeding any further, if there is anything you would like to backup before unlocking the bootloader, simply power ON the device and perform the backup action.
Once you are all set to proceed, enter the command:
./fastboot flashing unlock
A dialogue will display on the screen to make sure you want to proceed with unlocking. This step will perform a factory reset and is the last option for you to back out by pressing on the ‘No’ option with the power button. If you wish to progress, then push the volume up button and then the power button to confirm the unlocking of the bootloader.
It is always a good practice to recheck that everything is working as it should. The reboot action will do just that before moving onto the subsequent steps.
Download ADB installer
- The ADB installer is a lightweight application that installs all the necessary files on your PC that communicates with the supported phone as listed above.
- Install the software, and click YES, when asked if you want to install ADB system-wide, and install the relevant drivers. Once the installation is finished, restart your PC.
- The program will be found installed in C:adb (if C: is your default hard drive).
- Plug in your phone to the PC using USB cable (keep the phone connected throughout this process).
Gather the required system image files
After the download of Android O is successful, you need to move it to a different location.
Install 7Zip to unzip the file containing the Android O image. Then extract the files in C:/adb, if that is your default driver.
Flashing Android O to your device
- Enter the fastboot mode for the above-listed devices in the method listed. Once it has rebooted in fastboot mode, open up the folder on PC wherein the extracted Android O image lies.
- Look for a file named “flash-all.bat”, and double-click it to begin installing the new software onto your device connected via USB.
- Simply wait for the process to be finished in a few minutes, it may take longer if your computer’s processing speed is less.
- If you encounter any error due to a locked bootloader, again, scroll up and look for methods to UNLOCK the Bootloader. In the C:/adb folder, hold Shift+Right click in an empty space. Select “open command window here,” and type in the following set of commands.
- fastboot devices– to display your phone’s serial number. A confirmation that it is recognized by the computer.
- fastboot flashing unlock– this will unlock the bootloader and wipe everything on your device, so make sure you backup beforehand!
If you are a developer who likes to experiment quite a lot with the device and does not actively use it for personal means, then you may leave the phone unlocked if you ever want to roll back to Nougat or Marshmallow, etcetera. If this is your first and only attempt, then it is better to lock the device using this command: fastboot flashing lock.
An unlocked bootloader won’t ask for your PIN or fingerprint scan authorization after booting. If the phone is stolen in this scenario, the thief will be able to wipe everything!
You made it!
Congratulations on installing Android O!
After the completion of above steps and procedures, your device must start rebooting on its own and then it will run the Android O Developer Mode. It is not yet released to the general public so do not have high expectations of what this OS can do for you just yet.