Android 12 QPR 3 Beta 1 is not the result of football, but the next version of Android 12, after the recent launch of Android 12L on some Pixel devices earlier this month. If you’re a little confused, you’re not alone. There seems to be an alphabet soup of different types of Android 12 to choose from right now, especially when it comes to beta and pre-release versions.
First, there’s Android 12 itself, which was released last October and has been rolling out to different phones over the past few months.
There is Android 12L, which was released as a base update for large screens but was recently rolled out to some Pixel phones as “March Feature Drop”.
And now the new version of Android 12 QPR3, which is the platform’s quarterly version 3, is available for testing through the Android beta program before it launches in June alongside the next Google Pixel “Feature Drop.”
In any of these cases, though, if you look under System > About phone on any device running the base Android 12 or 12L, or even the new Android 12 QPR3 — you’ll just see “Android 12.” Google doesn’t provide any details about the exact flavor of Android 12 you’re running.
What does all this mean?
The problem here is not with the software itself, but with the vagueness of the brand surrounding it. Given the messages from Google, many people would assume that Android 12L is only for tablets and foldables – a separate branch of Android for these devices that looks like the old Android 3.0 Honeycomb exclusive to the tablet.
“QPR3” also indicates that there were previous quarterly releases for the platform – so if the latest beta is indeed QPR 3 for Android 12, what happened to the first two? And is this “QPR” a continuation of Android 12L or is it a separate branch of Android 12? From the brands, it is not at all clear.
Google (Sorta) explains what happens in this statement on its official developer site:
“Following the stable release from Android 12 to AOSP, we continue to update the platform with fixes and improvements that are then rolled out to supported devices. These releases occur at a quarterly cadence through Quarterly Platform Releases (QPRs), which are delivered to AOSP and Google Pixel devices As part of the Drops feature.”
In the past, Google quietly used QPRs for previous Android versions like Android 11, 10, and 9 without public fanfare. (Before that, in older versions like Android Oreo, they were called maintenance releases – MRs – and weren’t tied to a quarterly schedule.)
So QPRs are not new. But the fact that Google is testing it publicly He is New – and perhaps not a bad thing given the relatively buggy state of early Android 12 releases. On Google’s latest phones in particular, an embarrassing series of software bugs resulted in the Pixel 6’s first major software update pulled in late 2021, leaving users on an older build with a different (albeit less serious) set of bugs until mid- January 2022.
By publicly testing the third quarter platform release of Android 12 a few months before launch, Google hopes to avoid a repeat of this situation.
As for the first and second premium versions of the Android 12 quarter platform, it turns out that they are already there.
as Mishaal Al-Rahman from Esper explains on TwitterQPR1 was the big Android 12 bug fixing update released in December – the update that was eventually held up on Pixel 6 phones due to notable bugs. The QPR2 was the recently launched Android 12L – which included several minor updates to the phones along with the widely deployed tablet and foldable features.
No hashing here – Android 12L has everything that was already in the December patch. And QPR3 includes everything in Android 12L.
Couple of unusual things be Notwithstanding: First, Google is already talking about QPRs now and letting Pixel owners test them months in advance of release. And second, we have the anomaly of Android 12L that combines a second QPR with a suite of new tablets, foldable features, and new APIs for developers.
A look into the past
To further demystify these things, let’s look back at how Android versions were numbered, before we had Ls and QPRs. Android has a decimal version number similar to many other types of software.
Major Android releases are the ones that use to get nice nicknames – big yearly Android releases with a bunch of new user-facing features and new APIs for developers that let apps do new things. They’ll usually arrive in late summer and be accompanied by a new Nexus or Pixel phone — think Android 6.0, 7.0, or 8.0.
Then sometimes you have bitmap versions – like Android 5.1, 5.2 or 7.1. this was not leaked Dealing in terms of new user-facing features, but they introduced new APIs for developers. New APIs tend to increase the version number by 0.1.
Finally, there were minor Android updates like Android 5.1.1 or 7.1.1 – usually small bug fix updates that changed a few things behind the scenes but didn’t introduce new APIs or anything as large-scale as a full-score release.
If Google had still numbered Android versions this way, things would have been shaken up like this:
- border Android 12 It will, obviously, be Android 12.0.
- Then the first big bugfix update in December 2021, QPR1it could be Android 12.0.1.
- Android 12 forWith new APIs for tablets and foldable devices, it would have been Android 12.1.
- Then Android 12 QPR3which does not include any new APIs, will eventually appear as Android 12.1.1.
The older numbered versions give a better idea of what happens behind the scenes, and how important each subsequent release is. But they also give the impression that once a point is released, the original is outdated. That’s not really the case, especially since we now have monthly Android security patches that arrive independently of whatever Android version your device may be running.
This is probably a large part of why “Android 12” now appears when you look at the version number on your phone’s About screen. Google doesn’t want you to comment too much on anything besides the major annual release of the operating system you’re running. (And of course the history of the Android security patch).
With the arrival of public beta versions of Android QPR versions, we’re headed toward three software “channels” for Pixel phones. Like Google Chrome and Chrome OS, these offer varying levels of stability depending on how quickly you want to play with new things.
- First, you have developer look Builds – The stage that Android 13 is currently at, where you can expect things to be early and possibly quite broken. You need to flash these manually, so they are aimed at tech-savvy users, engineers, and developers.
- In the middle, there is a file Android beta programAimed at a more general audience. Technically still Pre-releasebut things like Google Pay and DRM still work, and you can play with new Android features three months early.
- And then there stable structuresWhich will work with the vast majority of Pixel phones.
So what’s next for Android?
The new Android 12 QPR3 beta gives Android fans a chance to test the operating system’s next minor update before it launches with a June Feature Drop in a few months. This version is the successor to Android 12L, and will eventually be succeeded by Android 13. Once released, expect Android 13 QPR1 beta testing to begin in earnest at the end of 2022, followed by QPR2 in early 2023. The new natural rhythm for Android beta releases.
All of this means that future Android versions will be more stable on today’s best Android phones — especially compared to the early days of Android 12. By getting more eyeballs in the coming months before launch, Google also hopes you’ll never have to pull a major software update. hardware, as happened with the Pixel 6’s QPR1 back in December.
While branding can be somewhat confusing, more beta testing means more stable Android is moving forward.