The L Developer Preview will have bugs — here's how to deal with them

Google's given us a gift, and we can help squash the bugs

I don't know what "beta" means any more. Hell, I don't even use it properly when it comes to putting out "beta" releases of the Android Central App. It basically means whatever we want it to mean. This week we got a "Developer Preview" of the next version of Android, currently known only as L. That encompasses a preview of the SDK, including 32- and 64-bit system images — and flashable factory images for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7. This is the first time Google has released a preview like this, where anyone and everyone can give it a whirl, including those of us who aren't actually developers but just like playing with new things.

And that's where we need to take a step back and remember just how early this is. There will be bugs. There will be issues. Google knows this, and it needs our help in getting things ready for public release later this year. And Google included an obvious but important warning along with this release:

Warning: This is a preview version of the Android system image, and is subject to change. Your use of this system image is governed by the Android SDK Preview License Agreement. The Android preview system image is not a stable release, and may contain errors and defects that can result in damage to your computer systems, devices, and data. The preview Android system image is not subject to the same testing as the factory OS and can cause your phone and installed services and applications to stop working.

In other words, yes, things will be broken.

But there are right ways and wrong ways to go about reporting issues in the L Developer Preview.

Alex on Google+ has highlighted what not to do.

Don't do this

It's frustrating when your favorite app doesn't work on your new toy. We get that. Hell, Twitter took a good 24 hours to work on the Android L Developer Preview. Dropbox is still wonky. The app we use for our internal chat at Mobile Nations isn't working. There are and will be others. That's the point of this developer preview — to find and squash bugs and not just to give us nerds something to play with. (Though I'm certainly not turning it down.)

Leaving 1-star reviews is not the best way to go about getting a developer's attention. Instead, we recommend dropping the developer a note. Their e-mail is on every app listing. Or find them on Google+. Public shaming over a days old developer preview says more about you than it does the developer. (FWIW, the guy who left that review says he's changing it.) Also be sure to send in a crash report via the automated tool if and when things go south.

As for larger issues with the developer preview itself, Google's got a few avenues for reporting bugs. They are:

We're pretty stoked that Google's giving us all a chance to try out L before it's actually ready. We as nerds and fans and developers and users need to make the most of it, for sure, but also be responsible about it. Have fun. Break stuff. And then help fix it.

Phil Nickinson
  • Only really annoying bug I've found is that the phone gets really hot and drains lots of battery during a phone call Posted via Android Central App
  • Android Limburger stinks! :-P Posted from my LG LS970 using my thumb
  • I hate when people do that. "this application sucks because it doesn't do exactly what I want even though it does what it says 1 star" like really. Please. Posted via Android Central App
  • My favorites are the "I suck at this game and/or I didn't read the description of the app so it sucks and i'm giving it 1 star only because I can't leave zero"
  • Also the ransom note: 'if you don't add this feature, I won't give 5*'
  • I always mark them as spam
  • Ppl like that make me wanna smash their Android 2.3 Gingerbread phones Posted via Nexus Family
  • Hahahahahahaha +10000 some of this people are whining like it's not compatible with froyo like get a new phone Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm excited that Google went this route to give anyone a chance to try out Android L, provided they have the correct devices. It's worked wonders for Microsoft with Windows Phone 8.1 dev preview giving users a chance to try it out and devs the opportunity to make sure their apps work properly. Biggest thing for people to remember is that Android L is not meant to be a daily driver mobile OS right now. And like you said, people need to communicate the issues they find with the developers behind the scenes, and take into consideration they've just now gotten the software themselves. Phil, which app do you guys use for internal communication by the way? Posted via Android Central App
  • Yes, absolutely. It's about time they start releasing developer previews, instead of users having to wait until launch day to find out what doesn't work. This is the reason why I got off the Nexus train... I got tired of being treated like an unpaid beta tester. Now I might have to hop back on :)
  • Just a note here... I hate when abbreviations like FWIW are written in articles like this. I had to go look up what it means. Posted via Android Central App
  • I agree, I didn't have to look that one up, but it is just a tad unprofessional
  • FWIW IMO itz NBD. IDK wat u think but IDC so GTFO. ಠ益ಠ
  • FU /LMAO
  • OMG. Posted via Android Central App
  • Break this one down for me please lol Posted via Android Central App
  • IIRC AFAIK As far as I Know, if I recall correctly good luck have fun GL HF
  • RISC Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5
  • NICE!
  • Sounds like a personal failing to me.
  • It's IM language. I completely agree with him it's not for writing an article.
  • Next thing you know, selfie will be in the Oxford dictionary /oh wait...
  • lol
  • Is this available only for Nexus devices or is it safe to install it on other devices as well? Posted via Android Central App
  • Just for the two devices listed. Posted via Android Central App
  • depends. do you want an expensive paperweight?
  • Some idiot was complaining about this version of Android being unusable and crashing a lot. I wanted to seriously round house his phone out of his hand. I'm not violent by any means but, seriously? Holy mother of Nexus and Father of Samsung. A beta is a beta. Just like a fish is a fish. You don't go catching tuna and then wonder why it doesn't taste like steak. Posted via Android Central App
  • I honestly am not sure that I would call it a beta, maybe an Alpha++, but yeah I agree you should have taken him out...
  • He said roundhouse. Posted via Android Central App
  • I am actually really stoked about the "l" release. It works pretty well, has a decent feature set (yeah I might not be able to call it barebones for much longer) and runs pretty smooth for an early release. I wonder what they can pack into the next 3-6 months before they actually release it....
  • People are complaining that a beta isn't working perfectly with everything? Posted via Android Central App
  • Lol basically every user using ios 7 or 8 beta user cough 14 yr Olds cough Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5
  • it's a good thing i'm 15 then Posted via Android Central App
  • Hey! I don't like Apple anyway... Posted with my Nexus 7 2012 or Moto X via the Android Central App
  • I suspect Google just want more feedback to help them fix issues. However wont this preview release just give Apple more time to steal ideas?
  • They already released this years version so they will still be a year behind
  • Google needs our help? Well I charge out at £11 or £19 per hour. Just show me where to send the invoice :P But yeah this is cool for us geeks, I won't be risking my hardware at this stage though. Posted via Android Central App
  • So far, the preview is amazing. i love what i see so far. Only reason i can't use it as a DD is because of storage issues with apps and camera. Other then that, i cannot WAIT for this release.
  • I need help! My Samsung gal s5 is not doing what I want it too do. I want to I want I want to remove TouchWiz home so when I press a key to go to my home he automatically go to my homepage not my other pages I can't set my homepage I don't know how to remove that touch with at all and I just want to have the setting as Google or Google Plus can anybody help Posted via Android Central App
  • I m having trouble with an app Dot Customizer on both my phone Model No SM -T355Y & my tablet.
    It's been a very frustrating week .Thanks Lynne Beggs