Google is quickly marching toward the next release of Android. The company announced the “final” Android 13 beta yesterday, beta 4, with word that an official release is “coming in the weeks ahead.”
After the massive overhaul of Android 12, Android 13 seems to be a smaller release focusing on various improvements and tablet features. A lot of Android 13 is building on the work from Android 12 and the tablet-focused mini-release, Android 12L. There are more Material You color options and more tweaks to the new notification media player. The tablet interface has a new app-drawer button for the taskbar and split-screen drag-and-drop support for notifications. You get more control over apps with a foreground app task manager and a new permission that requires apps to ask for notification access. Under the hood there is some serious virtualization power and support for Bluetooth LE Audio. There’s even finally a standard QR Code reader now.
Android 13 solidified a while ago, and this latest release is just about bugfixes. 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 enroll in the beta at android.com/beta.
As for the final release, Android 12’s final beta came out in September, with a final source code release a month later in October. Official builds took a bit longer, as Google held them back for the Pixel 6 launch date. It’s not known how the Android 13 release will be handled. Google’s timeline, above, is always purposefully flexible about the final release.