The Beta Stage – is the software development phase following alpha. It generally begins when the software is feature complete. Software in the beta phase will generally have many more bugs in it than completed software, as well as speed/performance issues. The focus of beta testing is reducing impacts to users, often incorporating usability testing. The process of delivering a beta version to the users is called beta release and this is typically the first time that the software is available outside of the organization that developed it.
The users of a beta version are called beta testers. They are usually customers or prospective customers of the organization that develops the software, willing to test the software without charge, often receiving the final software free of charge or for a reduced price. Beta version software is often useful for demonstrations and previews within an organization and to prospective customers. Some developers refer to this stage as a preview, prototype, technical preview (TP), or early access. Some software is kept in perpetual beta—where new features and functionality are continually added to the software without establishing a firm “final” release.