We don't yet know exactly when the next version of Android will land, but Google's development timetable provides a few clues.
Update: Looking like it's gonna be August 22! Read More
For about as long as Android has existed, a major new platform version has dropped every fall. And starting with 2014's Lollipop release, Google has preceded that with developer preview builds designed to help devs get their apps ready for new Android releases. This year, that process kicked off a couple of months earlier than expected, with an initial Android 7.0 Nougat preview (then just called "Android N") in early March.
That's one of the many signs pointing to a slightly earlier release of Nougat than in years past. So when exactly will the next version be finalized by Google and unleashed as a stable release? And when will we learn the version number of the next version of Android? Well, Google's timetable offers a few clues.
Above is Google's official dev preview timeline for Android Nougat, which it has stuck to in the months since the first Nougat preview. Right now we have Developer Preview 4, with final APIs and the ability to target Nougat on Google Play. Next up is a "near-final" system image for "final testing."
Google's roadmap is less specific about when the final "stable" version of Android Nougat will be released to developers and Nexus devices, offering only a vague "Q3" window. That all but guarantees a launch before the end of September, but we wouldn't be surprised if, given the timing of the "near final" dev preview 5 in July, we saw something in mid-to-late August.
As in years past, any new Nexus handsets would likely arrive alongside the final release of Nougat, whether it comes in August or September. This year, rumors are swirling around the possibility of a duo of HTC-made Nexus phones. There's also a strong case for Huawei making a Nexus tablet this year.
When do you think Android Nougat will eventually arrive? What about future Nexus phones and tablets? Shout out in the comments and share your thoughts!