Just last week we saw Google update their developer preview page hinting that the release was imminent. It seems this was correct with the first develop preview for Android 11 being released overnight.
For Google Pixel 2 & 2 XL, Pixel 3 & 3 XL, Pixel 3a & 3a XL, and Pixel 4 & 4 XL you can now go and grab an Android 11 system image from the Android 11 developer site and see what is in store for us with Android 11. It is possible to install it without unlocking your bootloader by simply sideloading an OTA image. If you have your bootloader unlocked or don’t mind doing so then you can flash the full factory image.
The reason for the change in process from last year where all someone had to do was opt in on the beta/dev preview website and then not long after get at OTA notification was to ensure people didn’t opt into something accidentally.
Today’s release is an early baseline build for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use, so we’re making it available by manual download and flash only.
While this is the first developer preview for Android 11 it will not be the last. Google have provided a timeline for the releases. The second and third developer previews are slated for March and April respectively with the first beta coming in May — most likely at Google I/O.
Google have introduced a new milestone called “Platform Stability” to “help you plan your final testing and releases” and it means that Android 11 has reach final internal and external APIs, and final app-facing behaviours. This is expected to arrive with Beta 2 in June. There will be a final Beta 3 in Q3, a release candidate build, and if that goes well final release not long after.
To install it you will need all the correct drivers and ADB installed as well — and of course know how to use it. If you do decide to install it be mindful that this is the very first developer preview and is likely to contain numerous bugs and issues and may not be suitable for day to day use.
Using the developer preview though, even for a short time, will give you a good idea of some of the goodies to expect when the full version is release later this year. Those who need their Pixel as a daily driver it may be worthwhile waiting until the first beta is released before installing as they tend to be more stable.