Last week, Google released the fifth (and final) beta build of Android 12 for Pixel phones. Google says we should expect the stable update to launch in just a few weeks from now, but they never gave a firm date. Now, we’ve seen evidence pointing to what may be the tentative launch date of the Android 12 stable update for Pixel phones.
Earlier today, I tweeted a screencap from an internal Google document that details when the company will cease approving software builds based on Android 10, Android 11, and Android 12. In case you’re not aware, Google must give its stamp of approval to every software release that OEMs claim have passed the required compatibility tests to ship with Google Mobile Services (GMS). To make sure that OEMs don’t just keep releasing devices running older versions of Android, Google eventually stops approving builds based on older Android OS versions. The document I shared lists when that happens, and it also lists when Google releases the source code for a particular Android release to effectively start the countdown for when the approval window will close for that release.
According to this document, Google will publish the source code for Android 12 on October 4, 2021. This source code will be published on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Gerrit, and it will very likely coincide with the release of the Android 12 stable update for Pixel phones, if we go by prior history.
The source code for Android 9 Pie was released on August 6, 2018, the same date that the stable update went live for the first two generations of Pixel devices. Similarly, the Android 10 stable update rolled out for Pixel phones on September 3, 2019, and it was soon followed that same day by the source code being uploaded to AOSP. Last year, Google released the Android 11 source code on September 8, 2020, shortly after rolling out the stable update to Pixel phones that very same day. Thus, there’s a strong chance the Android 12 stable update will roll out for Pixel phones on October 4, 2021, as that’s the tentative release date for the Android 12 source code.
This date could change, though, because Google has yet to officially announce the Android 12 release date. If you’re wondering why the release date seems to be happening a bit later than in previous years, we unfortunately don’t have a definitive answer. However, it’s worth noting that Android 12 is a much more substantive release than the last few OS releases, so Google may just need a bit more time to iron out all the kinks. The company is also working on an interim maintenance release, which could end up being the first Android point release in years. In any case, we won’t have to wait much longer to find out what Google’s plans are. The only question left is, will the Pixel 6 series be announced before or after the Android 12 stable update?