If you’ve been paying close attention to the mobile space recently, you’ll know that Google’s release track record for new Android versions has been all over the place. Last year, Android 12 debuted in early October. This year, Android 13 launches today.
The company has announced that updates should be going out to supported Pixels starting today, with devices from Samsung, Asus, HMD Global, iQOO, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, vivo, Xiaomi, “and more” joining the party “later this year”.
So, what’s new? Looks-wise, you’re getting an evolution of the Material You theme, with the theming engine now supporting icons of third-party apps, while the updated media player automatically changes its appearance based on the music or podcast you’re listening to.
You can assign specific languages to specific apps, and Bedtime mode is getting more customizable too, with wallpaper dimming and a dark theme.
Apps won’t get access to your entire media library just to be able to share one item, your clipboard history gets automatically cleared “after a period of time” if you copy sensitive data like your email, phone number, or login credentials, and apps are going to have to explicitly ask you to allow them to send notifications, rather than having that ability by default.
Spatial Audio is now supported in Android, provided you have supported headphones for the feature which allows head tracking. Bluetooth LE Audio is also supported, and again you’ll need accessories that can work with this, but if you have them you should expect lower latency Bluetooth sound, enhanced quality, and support for broadcasting audio to multiple devices at the same time.
The newly updated taskbar on tablets lets you see all your apps at a glance, and allows you to easily drag and drop any app in your library into split-screen mode. Tablets are also getting palm rejection support when a stylus is used, so you don’t have any more accidental touches.
There’s HDR video support on third-party camera apps in Android 13, a new media output switcher, and braille displays for Talkback. “Soon”, you’ll be able to copy content like a URL, picture, or text, from your Android phone to your Android tablet, or viceversa. Similarly, “soon” you’ll be able to stream your messaging apps to your Chromebook, if you have one of those, so that you can respond to chats from the laptop, not the phone.