Google starts beta testing Pixel Feature Drops with Android 12 QPR3 Beta 1
Google has defied the usual release cycle for new Android updates over the past few months, with the release of Android 12L earlier this month while the first Developer Previews for Android 13 are also available. Now the company is throwing us through another loop: Google is starting to beta test its Pixel Feature Drops.
Google wrote in a Reddit post on Wednesday, “the Android 12 beta continues with the next round of updates for our June feature drop starting with Beta 1. These are known as Quarterly Platform Releases (QPRs) and delivered to Google Pixel devices as part of Feature Drops. Beta 1 (S3B1.220218.004) includes improvements to functionality and user experience as well as the latest bug fixes, optimizations, and the March 2022 security patches.”
Google says anyone currently running the Android 12L beta on Pixel devices will be automatically updated to QPR Beta 1, instead of being moved to the stable release channel, like Google usually does when a new Android version is finished. In other words, it seems like Google is maintaining three release channels for Pixels, at least for the time being — the regular stable OS (now Android 12L/12.1), QPR betas (now testing the June Feature Drop), and the Developer Previews (now Android 13). That roughly mirrors the release channels for Chrome.
The first QPR Beta 1 is available now for the Pixel 4, 4a, 5, 5a, 6, and 6 Pro. Google is ending software updates for the Pixel 3a and 3a XL soon, since they are nearing three years old, so those phones will be updated to the stable March update instead of QPR Beta 1.
Download Android 12 QPR Beta 1 for Google Pixel devices
You can enroll in the beta program from the Android Beta for Pixel website, and as mentioned above, anyone who was in the Android 12L beta (minus Pixel 3a/3a XL owners) will be updated to QPR Beta 1. Download links are also available below for manual flashing/sideloading.