HMD Global is now seeding a new Android P aka Android 9 Pie Beta version for the Nokia 7 Plus. The new version, which is also known as Android P Developer Preview 5 or Beta 4 comes with a new build number of V3.150. It's being rolled out via OTA and users can manually flash the update by downloading the system image. One of the primary features of this Beta 4 update is it brings back the Android P gesture navigation controls, which were absent on the last Beta version. Notably, the new Beta version could be the final one under the Nokia phones Android developer preview programme as HMD might roll out the stable Android P update for the smartphone in the coming weeks. "This brings fans one step closer to the final Android 9 Pie experience," said HMD Global in a media statement issued earlier today.
The Nokia phones beta labs programme was introduced last year to roll out Android Oreo beta update for the Nokia 8. Later on, the company introduced Nokia phones Android developer preview programme for the Nokia 7 Plus, rolling out the Android P Beta update. "To date, more than 65,000 Nokia smartphone users have participated in the beta labs and developer preview programs," added HMD Global.
As part of the Nokia phones Android developer preview programme, the company has released four Android P Beta versions to date, with the V3.150 being the latest one released on August 8. With the Beta 3 update, for some unknown reasons, HMD Global removed the gesture navigation, however, it has now been added again with the Beta 4. The gesture navigation allows users to switch quickly between apps using the new omnidirectional home button, as well as making split screen views simple to activate.
As for the new Android 9 Pie Beta 4 update for the Nokia 7 Plus, it feels a lot stable when compared to Beta 3. I have installed it via the OTA method on my Nokia 7 Plus, which surprisingly formatted my device and I had to set up the device from scratch again. So if you're in a mindset that the OTA method will dirty flash the Beta 4 ROM on top of the existing ROM, then you're probably wrong as it wipes the entire user data.
The performance of the Nokia 7 Plus is improved with the latest Beta 4 update. Furthermore, I have sideloaded the Digital Wellbeing beta APK which was released for Pixel devices, and it's working fine as well. A bug which I noticed is the absence of Mobile Data symbol in the status bar. Besides that bug, everything's working absolutely, and yes, it's usable as a daily driver.