If you want to get an early look at the next version of Android, now you have the chance. Google is launching the public beta for Android P today, which you’ll be able to sign up for at this link. And in a nice twist, the beta is open to more than just Google-made phones this year: you’ll be able to get it on the Essential Phone, Oppo’s R15 Pro, Nokia’s 7 Plus, Sony’s Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 2S, Vivo’s X21, the still-unreleased OnePlus 6, and of course the Pixel and Pixel 2.
Depending on what phone you have, you’ll have to take different steps to get started with the beta; it’ll be easiest on a Pixel, which just lets you download it through the existing software update feature. The downside of testing is — and this is a big warning — once you’re in the beta program, there’s no going back. Not easily, at least: you’ll have to wipe your phone if you want to opt out and return to stable releases of Android Oreo. Keep in mind that you’re likely to encounter some bugs and probably shouldn’t try this on the phone you use daily.
Android P includes some major new features that ought to make your phone a little bit less stressful to use. The update allows you to set time limits on apps, switch your phone to grayscale at night, and easily hide all notifications when you’re on vacation, going to bed, or just don’t want to see them. On top of that, the update includes a rethought control scheme, which meaningfully updates Android’s back / home / multitasking buttons for the first time in years.