“Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1” brings a new level of complication to Android betas

By | March 10, 2022

Enlarge / What covering the latest Android releases feels like. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Ars Technica)

Android is going to have a busy month, and this is probably the new normal going forward. So listen up. On Monday, Android 12L exited beta and launched as the new stable build of Android, with some version strings calling it “Android 12.1.” Today, Google is launching another Android beta, the smoothly named “Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1.” We’re also expecting the second developer preview for Android 13 any day now. That’s three current Android releases, all existing simultaneously and giving various glimpses into the future.

You know how Chrome has three release channels called “Stable,” “Beta,” and “Dev?” Android looks like it’s doing that now.

Android usually does a major release around October every year. Behind the scenes, there are also pushes for “Quarterly Platform Releases (QPR)” that usually don’t get much promotion, though Google has started to pump up these releases for Pixel users by calling them “Pixel Feature Drops.” This year’s Android 12L is a special midcycle release focused on tablets, but it’s also a souped-up Android 12 Quarterly Platform Release 2. Given the new API level and tablet changes, we can understand why 12L would have a three-month beta. But now Google is immediately launching Quarterly Platform Release 3 Beta 1, even though there aren’t any drastic 12L-style changes in it.

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