In less than a week from now, Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take to the stage at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, and unveil the next version of the world’s most popular mobile operating system – Android 13.
Google’s new Android developer beta has been out in the wild for a week, and here’s what we know so far about the features that the new OS version will pack.
Remember the days when Android versions were named after sweets? Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean, Kit Kat, etc? Well, the public versions stopped naming them after sweets after Android 9, or “Android Pie,” in 2018. Since then, Google has dropped numerical designations for its annual versions of the operating system — although they still have “sweet” code names. Internally: Android 10 has been referred to as Quince Tart, 11 as Red Velvet Cake, and 13 Tiramisu.
Now, in terms of features we know to be coming based on beta testing reports of Android 13 developers.
Tap-to-transfer was seeded in the early days of Android, with the introduction of Near Field Communication, or NFC, which would allow two smartphones to transfer files, links, and more with just a physical tap. It was a novel, but it didn’t always work the way it was supposed to. Over the years, NFC has been replaced by more reliable file transfer technology like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi – and Apple’s owned AirDrop.
It looks like Google is reviving click to move. Android Police says it is familiar with an experimental process dubbed “Media Tap To Transfer,” which the website says is just the first step in enabling a wide range of apps, such as tap to control smart home devices, possibly through Google’s Nest hub technology.
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Last year, the biggest talking point in Android 13 was Material You, a new design language that automatically adjusts the entire smartphone’s color palette — app icons, logos, settings menu, and volume/brightness slides — based on any custom background selected by the user.
Android 13 is said to take this further by giving a wider range of color palettes to the system’s “theme” more accurately. Android Police says that in Android 13, users (or Android manufacturers) have the option to choose from three color schemes – ‘Vibrant’, ‘Expressive’ and a desaturated, semi-monochrome ‘Spritz’.
Android 13 also has something called “cinematic” wallpapers, a feature that can enable custom “live” backgrounds based on photos from a user’s photo library — similar to the cinematic ones in Google Photos.
It appears that this year, Google took a sheet of Apple’s playbook and made it mandatory for newly installed apps to ask for permission to send notifications. In the trial version, users can only allow or deny permission. As the development of Android 13 progresses, other options can be taken advantage of.
“Multi-language” language settings for each app
As per the developers reports, Android 13 will give users the option to set a language for each individual app, which can come in handy for multilingual users, which most Indians do. This means that Indian users can set English or their native language as the preferred option on a per-app basis.
Android has always been a resource hog, running multiple processes in the background, which in turn has a direct impact on battery health/life. Android 12 introduced mandatory system-wide battery saving measures that made it nearly impossible to run apps in the background. This affected the quality of some apps, which relied on background processes to run at their best. Android 13 is said to provide a toggle to turn this feature on or off. The latest version is also supposed to have a feature that constantly evaluates apps, and limits or frees access to resources on a “need-to” basis. Android 13 will also warn the user about apps running in the background without permission, resulting in excessive battery drain.
Bluetooth Low Energy audio support
Android 13 can offer Bluetooth Low Energy audio, which features lower power consumption without compromising sound quality, multiple streaming, simultaneous support for multiple headphones/speakers (with appropriate hardware), and full support for hearing aid devices.
Home button Switch Assistant
Android 13 leaks suggest that long-pressing a smartphone’s home button can invoke Google Assistant, just like iPhone users can do to activate Apple’s artificial intelligence assistant Siri. Reports indicate that this option can be disabled in favor of gesture-based controls.
Android 13 Beta 1 features a spatializer effect, which could become Google’s version of the iPhone’s Spatial Audio feature. Apple’s Spatial Audio feature mimics a 360-degree surround system through AirPods, and the feature appears to be coming to Android users later this year, when the operating system is released to the public.
According to reports, Android 13 will have an option that will temporarily boost CPU speeds, allowing games to run faster.
Similar to how photos are handled on Apple devices, Android 13 will reportedly automatically sort photos into their own albums/categories.
Third Party Material Icons
In Android 12, the Material You theme was limited to first-party Google apps only. Android 13 is looking to correct that, and bring functionality to third-party apps as well, giving the phone a unified look.
Android 13 will allow users to copy and change the text in the clipboard before sharing it.
As we delve deeper into the development testing cycle, it’s on par for the cycle that Google is adding more features, removing others, and tweaking some to make them better. We will keep you updated as changes occur.