The cycle is starting over again. According to a benchmark test spotted on Geekbench, Android R has surfaced running on a Pixel 4. Now you might wonder why, if Google has dropped the dessert naming tradition, the OS would be referred to as Android R; that raises the suspicion that the test is a fake. But one theory which we had mulled around in our mind (yes, we actually think about things like this) is that Google would continue to refer to the developer preview by the appropriate letter and switch back to the numerical system when the final version is dropped. This is what happened last year with the Android Q developer preview giving way to the launch of Android 10. So under this theory, the next developer preview would be called Android R and switched to the Android 11 moniker when the final version of the next build is officially released.
Google first announced the Android Q developer preview last March and released six beta versions before dropping Android 10 on September 3rd. So we might be just six to eight weeks away from the first appearance of Android R. Pixel users had the first crack at joining the beta program last year and eventually, a number of other Android phones became eligible. We should expect the same for 2020.
Unless you're a risk-taker or have another phone to use in a pinch, you might want to stay clear of the first few releases. These are very unstable builds. Last year, the fourth Android Q developer preview was the first to allow developers to publish apps to devices running it. By the time the sixth Android R developer preview is available, all of the heavy lifting will have be done except for some minor tweaks. If you must beat the official release, that could be the best time to install it from a risk/reward perspective.
We expect that Airplane mode will become a little smarter in Android 11 and will not automatically disable Bluetooth when it is turned on as it currently does. If you are on a plane and are using wireless Bluetooth earbuds, when you activate Airplane mode Android 11 will understand that you still want Bluetooth to remain on. And Android 11 could also bring an increase in the size of videos that Android users can record from the current 4GB; in one test a 32GB video was captured without being split into multiple files.
Of course, there will be more new features and capabilities coming so stay tuned.