Just over a week ago we brought you news that BlackBerry was starting up a beta program for PRIV owners who wanted early access to the Android Marshmallow update. The idea is simple: Get a wide base of users testing and sending diagnostics, in return, they get the latest software and BlackBerry gets to identify and iron out any bugs before the public rollout. Right on schedule, the first batch of beta testers will get access to the OS from today, before a wider beta rollout begins.

In an update only visible to Android OS beta participants, BlackBerry informed the test group that a small rollout would begin from today. Providing the first wave of participants show no signs of experiencing major issues, BlackBerry will then push the software out to more beta testers, with the hope of having the software on every registered device by Sunday, April 16.

Some participants will start to receive Marshmallow software tomorrow (Wednesday, EST). We will take a similar approach to how we brought people into the program when rolling out the software update: start with a small group, monitor for any critical issues, then expand to larger and larger groups. We expect to have everyone updated by the end of the week (and for clarity this time, weeks end on Sunday in Waterloo! :] )

If you own a PRIV and haven’t signed up to test yet, head on over to the BlackBerry Beta Zone and see if the Android OS beta program is available to you. When you click to register, you’ll more than likely be placed on a waiting list, that’s if BlackBerry is taking any more applicants.

If you have already signed up, be sure to check the program updates on the Beta Zone, it includes instructions on what you need to do to get your device ready for the update. These steps include enabling the ability to prepare and send diagnostic reports manually, and automatically every time you reboot the device.

With the beta starting its rollout on time, we can only assume BlackBerry is on schedule to release the public version late next month, slightly later than when CEO John Chen said it would be launched. With a beta period of 4-8 weeks, we’ll likely see the software be pushed to the public in the second half of May, or beginning of June.

If you have the beta already on your phone, let us know what your experience is like in the comments below. Is the PRIV better or worse for having the latest publicly available OS onboard?

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