Google is rapidly marching towards the next release of Android. The company yesterday announced the “final” beta version of Android 13, beta 4, saying that it will have an official release “in the coming weeks”.
After the massive overhaul of Android 12, Android 13 seems to be a smaller release that focuses on various improvements and tablet features. Much Android 13 builds on the work of Android 12 and its tablet-focused mini-release, Android 12L. There are more Material You color options and more customizations to the new notification media player. The tablet interface has a new app drawer button for the taskbar and support for split screen drag and drop for notifications. You get more control over apps with a foreground app task manager and a new permission that requires apps to request access to notifications. Under the hood is serious virtualization power and support for Bluetooth LE Audio. In fact, there is now finally a standard QR code reader.
Android 13 was solidified a while ago and this latest release is all about bug fixes. Google notes that the Play Store is ready to accept your Android 13-compatible apps, and if you have a recent Pixel phone, you can sign up for the beta at android.com/beta.
As for the final release, the final beta of Android 12 came out in September, with a final release of the source code a month later in October. Official builds took a little longer, as Google held them back for the Pixel 6’s launch date. It’s unknown how the Android 13 release will be handled. Google’s timeline, above, is always purposefully flexible about the final release.