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Android 11: Here's when you can expect to get Google's latest update

Google released the first developer preview of Android 11 this week, along with a schedule of future updates.

android-11

The Android 11 developer preview is live. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Google on Wednesday released the first developer preview of Android 11. Though the update is available to download and install right now, I'd encourage you to wait. 

Why? Not only is the installation process convoluted, but also the first Android 11 beta will likely have bugs and other issues that can make the phone you rely on daily practically unusable. 

Android 11 includes several new features for users and developers. For example, there's a new Conversations tool that includes chat bubbles like we first saw in Android 10 last year, improved security features, and support for new screen types. 

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The first developer preview is just that, for developers

The only way to install Google's developer previews is to manually flash the factory image or OTA files using ADB and command-line tools. If none of that makes sense to you, then that's exactly why you should stay away from installing Android 11 until later (more on that in a few). 

Installing the preview will factory-reset your phone during the upgrade. And if you decide you want to go back to Android 10, well, you'll have to wipe your device again. Not to mention, if anything goes wrong during the installation process, you could easily brick your phone. 

Even if you're comfortable with the installation method, you're sure to encounter bugs and issues that could render your phone or certain apps useless. Last year, for example, the Android 10 beta broke all of my banking apps for at least a few updates, and at one point it prevented me from sending or receiving text messages (something I didn't realize for several days). 

It's a good idea to wait until Google has rid Android 11 of the early bugs. 

Google's Pixel 4 XL phone

You can only install Android 11 on Google's Pixel phone lineup right now. 

Stephen Shankland/CNET

There's good news, though

We have a pretty good idea of when we can expect Google to release future updates, including the launch of the public Android beta program. 

Google published a detailed release schedule on its developer site, shown here.

android-11-beta-timeline

A timeline of the developer and beta releases for Android 11. 

Google

As you can see from the schedule, we can expect developer preview updates in March and April, with beta releases starting in May. 

Google I/O

Google I/O is usually when the first public beta is released. 

Gabriel Sama/CNET

Wait for Google I/O 

Google's annual developer conference runs May 12 through May 14 this year. The opening-day keynote is when the company will likely release the first public beta. 

For the past couple of years, Google has used the conference to launch a public beta for the next update under the Android Beta program and to announce which of its hardware partners would take part in beta-testing the upcoming release. 

Meaning, while the developer beta is limited to just Pixel phones, the first public beta release will likely work on devices from companies like OnePlus, Asus, Sony and Huawei

In addition to having fewer bugs and issues, the public beta is installed via over-the-air updates, making it accessible to anyone who has a compatible phone. 

android-11.png

Google has turned Android up to 11. 

Google

We are several months away from a final release

The final release of Android 11 will take place at some point during the third quarter, most likely (if history is any guide) in August or September. 

My advice? Resist as long as you can before installing Android 11, even after Google releases the first beta in May. Sure, that build will have fewer issues and bugs than the developer previews do, but it won't be perfect. The longer you can wait for more updates to be released, the better. 

To tide you over, read more about Android 11 and everything it includes