Brace yourself, my dear Android: You’re about to go through a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. Ready?
First things first: Google just rolled out the first official beta of its Android 13 update this fall! If you have an existing Pixel phone, that means you can download it to your device right now and see all the latest and greatest that Google has prepared for the future. our future. (Yay!)
Now, for the twist: Not like most Android betas, this first release of Android 13 beta still lacks most of the key features of the software. It focuses mainly on foundational elements and hidden improvements, and on the surface, it is quite similar to previous previews. Honestly, it’s almost like another developer preview than a beta – at least, in typical Android terms. (Aww…)
When you step back and think about it, that probably comes as no surprise. Google’s massive I/O developers conference is now just two weeks away, and that’s when the traditional Le Googlé comes to a close on its flashiest new Android innovations. Android 13 development started crashing earlier than usual this year, so we technically hit that beta milestone earlier than usual – but for all intents and purposes, the big reveal is still ahead of us.
But wait! Don’t accept also disappointed. Thanks to the way Android is made, you can peek through Google’s Android 13 code and see some of the still-unfinished elements that are being actively developed. There’s no guarantee, of course, that all of that will turn out to be the final piece of software in its exact current form – and it’s also possible that Google will have more surprises in store that we don’t yet know about.
But overall, these clues paint a pretty cohesive picture of what Android 13 is most likely shaping up to be. And despite the fact that this week’s beta doesn’t give us much in terms of tangible newness, it does offer a fascinating preview of what’s almost certainly right around the corner.
In particular, here are three big (and mostly still hidden!) reasons to get excited.
1. Android 13 will pave the way for a better big screen experience
After years of neglect and essentially abandoning the Android tablet model, Google has turned its focus back to big-screen Android computers with Android 13.
All indications are that the Android 13 release will build on the big-screen optimizations introduced in the awkwardly named (and mostly unpretentious) Android 12L drop-in. not released) which Google did shortly after launching Android 12 last fall. And from traditional tablets to expanding foldable phones, the arrival of Android 13 opens up a number of extremely remarkable new options.
Specifically, Android 13 will eventually start optimizing the core Android interface for a larger screen experience – um, again. (Google briefly did this during the Android Honeycomb era of 2011, as longtime Android lovers among us will recall, but then abandoned that notion a few years later. Hey, What can we say?Sometimes, Google just needs to do Google.)
That means when you’re using a tablet or foldable phone with Android 13, you’ll see different elements on different halves of the screen and get access to some multimedia tools. powerful desktop-like tasks – including Chrome-OS apparently – the attractive new taskbar lets you access your favorite apps from anywhere and even pull them up to create a Split screen quickly.
Some of these concepts first appeared in the Android 12L update we covered a minute ago, but that version of Android hasn’t rolled out to any of the devices involved. Android 13 improves upon the elements and will mark the first time anyone has actually experienced them in the real world.
And speaking of tablets…
2. Android 13 will essentially create a whole new device category
Besides the core interface improvements, Android 13 is poised to introduce some new tablet-specific features that could change the meaning of the term “tablet” in our minds.
As discovered by sharp-seein’ supervisors at Esper, Android 13’s code includes loads of documentation regarding the new “mode-centric” for large screen devices. This new feature appears to allow tablets to be treated as shared devices when they are docked – with access to a specific group of “shared apps” selected in that context – and then allow Allows multiple users to select a tablet and log in to their personal profile.
As part of that, Android 13 introduces an improved interface to Android’s long underappreciated multi-user support system. And it includes an improved screensaver system, which apparently allows you to add widget-like “complications” to your device’s idle time screen to make it rich and more useful.
Taken together, these factors add up to create a whole new kind of use case for Android tablets – a conspicuous type of case that opens a lot of interesting doors even on the front of the house. , in offices and other business environments. It’s no wonder that Google’s Android tablet and Chrome OS tablet are so confident they can coexist harmoniously and address completely different needs.
3. Android 13 will make notifications even smarter
Android notifications have always been one of the platform’s strengths and advantages over other smartphone ecosystem, but Google isn’t one resting on its laurels – and with Android 13, the company is working on adding some powerful punch to the notifications arena. Android.
First, early versions of Android 13 included a sophisticated new system where you could touch and hold any notification, then drag and drop it onto either side of the screen. to create an instant split screen between the linked app and whatever. other you saw. You’ll never know it’s there unless you just happen to try the action, but it totally works.
Especially combined with the taskbar pull-up option we just talked about, this brings Android’s long-neglected and buried split-screen feature back to the forefront and makes it’s like a root part of the core interface instead of a clumsy- afterthought. It also makes notifications more useful and interactive. And it might just turn split screen into something many of us actually use.
Additionally, Android 13 introduces a new notification permission that requires all apps to ask you for permission to send alerts before they can do so (at least in theory; so far, I’ve only seen that with new apps installed on this first beta). That means by default, no apps will be allowed to notify you unless you explicitly say that you would like to receive its notifications. Reasonable, no?
It’s a subtle yet significant change that gives strength to ours and should significantly cut down on unnecessary notification noise.
And remember: All of this is still scratching the surface. The full picture of Android 13 probably won’t become clear until Google’s I/O conference kicks off on May 11 – and even then, the company can envision some surprises. later this year, close to the final Android 13 rollout.
However, based on what we’re seeing so far, there’s plenty of reason to get excited – and plenty of reason to keep a close eye on what happens next in the weeks and months ahead.
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