Thanks to Google, flashing Android builds on your Pixel just got much easier
Getting AOSP onto Pixel devices has not always been that straightforward, yet it’s often a necessity for developers. Google wants to make the process a lot simpler so devs can get to work that much easier. Over on the Android Developers Blog, Google just announced the new Android Flash Tool which lets you flash stock AOSP onto your Pixel device from within your browser.
Users will still have to manually enable USB debugging, unlock the bootloader, and install the ADB drivers onto their computer. Once that is done, the new Android Flash Tool will do the rest. All you need to do is go to the Android Flash Tool website, connect your Pixel device with USB debugging enabled, grant the website permission to access your ADB keys, select your device, and search for the builds you want. Then, you just send the files over, and the deed is done.
The tool also gives users the ability to disable verification, force-flash all partitions, and a few additional options. Any browser that supports WebUSB should work with the tool, including Google Chrome. Other browsers based on the latest Chromium builds should also work unless they strip out this functionality for some reason. This includes the new Microsoft Edge, Brave, and Vivaldi.
Apart from Pixel devices, the Android Flash Tool is also compatible with the HiKey reference boards, but we don’t know if Google plans to open this functionality up to other devices or not. We hope Google builds upon the Android Flash Tool’s capabilities. It would be cool to see the website add support for more devices, include the ability to flash custom ROMs, or even just let users flash the latest security updates. Until then, this is a great tool for professional Android devs, even if its functionality is a bit limited.