Earlier this month, it emerged that Google was working on adding partner OEMs in the testing of Android N Developer Preview. As it seems, this is really true as the latest developer preview of this OS is now available on Sony Xperia Z3.
This is huge news as it has never happened before. It is the first time a non-Google device is being used to test a beta version of Android. It gets even better as those using the 4G Android One smartphone from General Mobile can also get the second beta of Android N; however, this device runs on the stock Android.
Recent times have seen smartphone manufacturers accused of delaying software updates and now that Sony has joined the beta testing phase of Android N, it shows how determined the Japanese company is at making things rights. Sony has yet to avail the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to all of its compatible devices. While others such as Xperia Z5 series have received it, not all Xperia Z4, Z3, and Z2 series devices have been updated with the latest mobile operating system from Google.
The delay has been due to the fact that the company has to, first of all, customize the stock Android OS from Google before rolling out to its devices, either directly for unlocked versions or through carriers for locked versions.
Last year Sony launched a Beta Program and included the Xperia Z3. Later on, this year the Japanese tech giant added Xperia Z2 users to the beta program. Choosing the Xperia Z3 for this latest Android N Developer preview program is also another interesting decision by Sony, especially given that the device is a little older when compared to the current Xperia Z5 series. Despite this, the move signals at looming chances in the way Sony will be handling Android software updates in the near future.
Google Nexus users have an easier time when it comes to the Android N Developer preview as they only need to enroll in the program to start receiving OTA updates. On the other hand, Sony will only be providing users of Xperia Z3 with an option to download the Android N preview and flash it manually on the device. Once this is done, future OTA updates will hit the device right from Sony’s servers.
Sony’s Xperia Z3 and Android One now join the likes of Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus Player and the Google Pixel C in running on the second version of Android N Developer preview. It still remains to be seen whether other OEMs such as Samsung, LG, HTC and even Motorola will jump onto this bandwagon.