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How to get the Android L developer preview

Curious and like living dangerously? If so, you might want to load the Android L developer preview on your Nexus 5 or Nexus 7.

Nexus 5 with Android L Jason Cipriani/CNET

On Wednesday Google unveiled Android L, its next version of the popular mobile operating system. While the OS was only briefly previewed, it was mentioned there would be a developer preview available shortly after the event, with a full release planned for this fall.

Before you get too excited about loading a developer preview of Android L, you need to know a couple of things:

  • This build is very unstable and isn't recommended for use on the device you rely on every day.
  • The loading process isn't all that straightforward. You should be comfortable using command line tools and troubleshooting issues if something goes wrong.
Android L warning Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Even Google has a strongly worded warning when it comes to loading L on your device; both on the download page and on the first screen you see after L fully boots up (above).

All that being said, you can download the system image for a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7 from Google's developer site. A paid developer account isn't required to access the preview.

Once you have downloaded the appropriate file, you'll need to use the instructions found here in order to load it. I ran into a couple of issues during installation myself, and ended up finding this post on Android Beat helpful.

After installation finished, my Nexus 5 took about 10 minutes to reboot and then I was up and running. If you end up taking the plunge, be sure to let us know what you think of the update, or any extra goodies you find in the comments below.