Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Hands-on with Android P on the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

Yesterday, Google officially released the Android P Beta Program. One of the most exciting things was the inclusion on non-Google devices for the first time. Besides the typical Pixel and Nexus devices, the Beta Program is also available for the Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6, and Essential PH‑1. We were able to try the Android P build for the Mi Mix 2S and talk to some of the Xiaomi engineers to learn more about the P beta program.

The first thing to note is that this build is basically Google's stock Android framework. It's not MIUI-based so there aren't any new features not already available on the Google Pixel devices. The final release of Android P for the device, however, will include the MIUI framework changes. The Mi Mix 2S will continue to get developer builds as Google releases them, though we don't know if all future developer previews will be stock Android-based.

If you're hoping to run stock Android P after the final release, you won't be getting those builds from Xiaomi. The company has told us that they will not offer stock Android P builds after the developer preview is over. So you might ask yourself "what is the point of this beta program then?" The purpose, we're told, is so that developers who are interested in making apps targeting Android P can use the Mi Mix 2S as a relatively cheaper test device (at least, compared to the other flagships smartphones that were announced as a part of the program).

While the prospect of stock Android on a Xiaomi device is exciting, keep in mind that this is still very much a developer preview. It's not stable enough to be your daily driver; currently, the secondary camera is not working. For those of you who are still interested in running this P beta build, you can sign up for the beta program here. There is a single flashable Android P build for both the Chinese and global variants of the device.

Lastly, for those of you wondering if your Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro or Xiaomi Mi A1 will receive the P Developer Preview, then you'll be disappointed to hear that Xiaomi will not be offering Android P to other devices at this time. Qualcomm offers Android P-based BSPs for the Snapdragon 636 and Snapdragon 660 so it's certainly possible for them to offer the update to some of their other devices, but the company is choosing to focus on providing the P preview to its flagship device to avoid spreading themselves too thin.



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