Brace yourself, animal in love with Android: you are about to experience a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. ready?
First things first: Google just released the first official beta of the Android 13 update this fall! If you have an existing Pixel phone, that means you can download it to your device at this very moment and see the latest and greatest things Google has cooked up for our future. (Yay!)
Now, to evolve: unlike bone Android Beta This Android 13 beta version still does not have most of the major features of the software. It focuses primarily on foundational elements and improvements under the hood, and from the outside, it’s very similar to the previews that came before it. Honestly, it’s more like another developer’s preview than a beta — at least, in typical Android terms. (Uh …)
When you take a step back and think about it, this probably isn’t a huge surprise. There’s only two weeks left until Google’s massive I/O developer conference, and that’s when Le Googlé traditionally takes the lids off of its shiny new Android improvements. Android 13 development in skosh started earlier than usual this year, so we Technically I reached this experimental milestone sooner than usual — but for all intents and purposes, the big reveal is still ahead.
But wait! Do not get very Disappointed. Thanks to the way Android was built, it’s possible to peek at Google’s Android 13 code and get a glimpse of some of the still-in-development items that are actively being developed. There’s no guarantee that all of this stuff will make it into the final software in its exact current form, of course – and it’s always possible that Google will get more surprises that we don’t get yet.
But when viewed together, these clues paint a fairly coherent picture of what Android 13 will likely be. And while the beta version this week doesn’t give us many tangible new touches, it does provide a tantalizing preview of what’s almost certain soon.
Here, specifically, there are three big (and still mostly hidden!) reasons to feel excited.
1. Android 13 will set the stage for a better experience on the big screen
After years of neglect and essentially abandoning the Android tablet model, Google has put its focus back on big-screen Android computing in a big way with Android 13.
All indications are that the release of Android 13 will build on the big screen improvements introduced in the strangely named (and barely introduced) Android 12L “drop feature” that Google worked on right after the launch of Android 12 last fall. And from traditional tablets to expanding foldable phones, the arrival of Android 13 should bring some incredibly noteworthy new options.
Specifically, Android 13 will finally start improving the core Android interface for a bigger screen experience – erm, again. (Google did this briefly in the 2011 Android Honeycomb era, longtime Android geeks among us remember, but they gave up on that idea after a few short years. Hey, what can we say? Sometimes, Google just has to Google.) )
This means that when you use a tablet or foldable phone with Android 13, you’ll see different items on different halves of the screen and have access to some powerful desktop-like multitasking tools – including a new Chrome-OS-inspired taskbar It allows you to access your favorite apps from anywhere and even pull them up to create a split screen setup on the go.
Some of these concepts first appeared in the Android 12L update we mentioned a minute ago, but this Android version hasn’t been released to any related devices. Android 13 refines the elements further and will be the first time anyone has actually experienced it in the real world.
Speaking of tablets…
2. Android 13 will basically create a whole new class of devices
Aside from the basic interface improvements, Android 13 is gearing up to introduce some new tablet-specific features that could change what the term “tablet” means in our minds.
As spotted by Esper’s sharp intelligence men, the Android 13 code includes loads of material related to the new “hub mode” for large screen devices. This new feature appears to allow the tablets to be treated as shared devices when docked – with access to a specific set of “shared apps” defined in this context – and then to allow multiple users to choose the tablets and log into their personal appearance.
As part of that, Android 13 brings a newly revamped interface to the long-underappreciated Android multi-user support system. It includes an improved screensaver system that seems to allow you to add widget-like “complications” to the device’s idle time display in order to make it more informative and useful.
Combined, these add up to create a whole new kind of use case for Android tablets – one that’s easy to see and opens a lot of interesting doors whether in the home front, in the office, or in other work environments. No wonder Android tablets and Chrome OS tablets so confident in Google can coexist harmoniously and handle completely different needs.
3. Android 13 will make notifications smarter
Android notifications has always been one of the strengths and advantages of the platform compared to, ahem, that else The smartphone ecosystem, but Google isn’t one of the companies to rest on its laurels — and with Android 13, the company is working to add some powerful extra power to the Android notification arena.
First, the early builds of Android 13 already include an innovative new system where you can touch and hold any notification and then drag and drop it on either side of your screen to create an instant split screen between the associated app and anything else You were already watching it. You’d never know it was there unless you tried this procedure, but it actually works.
Especially combined with the taskbar pull-down option we were just talking about, this brings the long-buried and neglected split screen feature in Android to the fore and makes it look like an original part of the primary interface rather than an awkward-after-think. It also makes notifications more informative and interactive. And it might turn split screen into something many of us already use.
On top of that, Android 13 introduces a new notification permission that requires all apps to ask you for permission to send alerts before they can do so (in theory, at least; so far, I only see it with newly installed apps in this first beta). This means by default that no app will be allowed to notify you unless you explicitly say so You want to receive notifications. Reasonable, isn’t it?
It’s a subtle but important transformation that puts strength into it for us hands and should greatly reduce unnecessary notification noise.
And remember: all this is still just scratching the surface. The full picture of Android 13 likely won’t become clear until Google I/O kicks off on May 11 — and until then, the company could hold some surprises for later in the year, with the final Android 13 launch approaching.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, there are plenty of reasons to be excited — and plenty of reasons to keep a close eye on what’s going to happen in the coming weeks and months.
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