With Google’s Android 12 in the process of rolling out to phones and tablets, and with Android 12L mid-cycle, the company is already working on the next version. The next features of android 13 have been spotted by XDA Developers, among others, citing sources with access to internal builds.
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XDA Detectives have been pretty good with Android preview leaks, so they’re very trustworthy, with a few caveats that we’ll cover below.
What’s coming in Android 13?
In a nutshell, we can’t say for sure. While a few features have leaked here and there, Google generally keeps its consumer-focused cards close to its vest ahead of the big I/O event in May.
There are hints of what might be coming in the code, but it’s possible that any unannounced features simply won’t make it to consumers due to technical, strategic, or even legal issues, so take this more as a rough indicator, rather than what is definitely to come.
Android 13 release date
If patterns hold, the first Android 13 developer previews should arrive in February or March. Google won’t tell us what Android 13 is really about then, especially with the release of Android 12L still just around the corner.
We’re expecting that reveal to come at Google I/O, or around May, with a release anytime between August and September 2022.
Even More Stuff You
Material You debuted with Android 12 as Google’s enhanced customization feature for Android that pulls colors from your wallpaper to create a theme for your apps and your phone’s interface.
It’s already available on Pixels and some other phones running Android 12, while Google is working to make it broadly ready for all devices running Android 12L and later.
With Android 13, the sources they spoke with AndroidPolice have shared that Google plans to allow users to change the way those colors are displayed. Right now, Material You is very pastel.
Although that is to the liking of some people, not everyone agrees with that appearance. It also gets a bit boring, especially when Android 11 counter intuitively had a much larger and immediately available pool of colors to choose from.
With Android 13, Google plans to improve color tones with four new options. Material You will still choose colors from your wallpaper, but how it displays them is up to you, to a certain extent.
The current options are “Tonal Spot”, “Vibrant”, “Expressive” and “Spiritz”. as pointed out Ars TechnicaGoogle’s Pixel 6 promotional images show more vibrant colors than you can get on Android 12, so this could be a way for Google to fix that while putting more power in the user’s hands.
If Google isn’t messing with notifications on Android, can it really be called a major update? Settings have been detected in Android 13 indicating support for notification permissions.
What this means is that Google will not allow any Android app to send you notifications out of the box. Just like you’ll see in Chrome or other modern browsers, they’ll have to explicitly request and receive access to send you notifications.
For apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, most users would do so without hesitation, but gaming and shopping apps may find it a bit harder to get away with the notification spam they’ve been inflicting for years.
Between your iPhone and HomePod, Apple offers a feature known as Tap-to-Transfer. When playing a song on your iPhone with Apple Music, you can tap HomePod to transfer playback to the speaker for richer sound without fiddling with onscreen controls.
Google is reportedly working on it for Android 13 according to a mockup shared by AndroidPolice. Not much is known about it other than that it exists right now, so it’s more of a possibility than a certainty.
Even with Google selling the Nest Audio and Nest Mini speakers, as well as the broader ecosystem of Cast-enabled smart speakers, this would be a pretty neat feature.
QR code scanner easier to access
QR codes have become much more important in the age of COVID-19, and Google may be working on a way to make them easier to use in the future. It’s worth noting that you can already scan QR codes through Google Camera or an equivalent third-party Android phone app.
With Android 13, Google is reportedly working on a built-in QR code scanner which will work directly on the lock screen and can be accessed through the quick settings app.
It will be more convenient than the camera, although it practically does not change much. Google’s QR code scanner has recently come under fire for security flaws, so hopefully the company irons out the issues before launch.
Google is adding native support for per-app language settings for Android. Currently, users can set a default system language that all apps on your phone use, but Google is working on a new setting that will let you choose which apps use which language.
Your WhatsApp can be in English, your Telegram in Russian, your WeChat in Chinese, etc. It’s a nice little tool for people who speak multiple languages and communicate with other people all over the world.
Android Police reports that Google is working towards a deadline for Android 13, so we may see this as a featured feature at Google I/O this May.
At this early stage, there’s nothing really big about Android 13. Google is working on a QR code scanner to integrate with Android, but now you can do it with the built-in camera apps on many of the best Android phones, or just download and use Google Lens.
There are hints of an iOS-like music transfer feature, which lets you transfer music to speakers just by touching them, and the operating system could improve support for multilingual users with per-app language options.