Google I/O 2022 started yesterday at Mountain View, CA, with a live audience, which is the first time post the pandemic. For the previous two years, it was an online-only event. Google I/O every year primarily focuses on developers and the search giant’s newest operating system, i.e. the latest Android version features. But this time, the event has brought more than just the Android 13 and its software side of things.
Google has announced new hardware, including Pixel 6A, Pixel Watch, Pixel Buds Pro, a sneak peek of the Pixel 7 series, a new Pixel tablet for 2023, and its working prototype of AR Glasses.
Android 13 — Material You and Large Screen Devices
Android 13 is the next big release from Google at the I/O, and it carries forward the Material You from Android 12, announced last year. While it brings the Material You design language to the Android 13, Google suggests the new OS will continue to improve the quality and performance of the platform. That includes personalisation, privacy, security and its unique focus on large screen devices. Android 13 is said to be built around the same foundation that brings new multitasking capabilities for tablets. For tablets, Google already has Android 12L, an optimised version of Android 12 for large screen devices.
It includes a newly updated taskbar with which users can split a single screen view to a split-screen quite swiftly. With a single drag and drop from the freshly updated taskbar can conveniently multitask on large-screen devices with the Android 13.
Many Google Apps and third-party apps don’t take full advantage of the large screens, as some appear to be blown out versions of mobile apps, and that’s supposedly changing with Android 13. Google promises nearly 20 of its apps will take full advantage of them in the coming weeks.
Third-party apps like TikTok, Facebook, and Zoom will also be some of the first third-party apps updated for a better large screen experience. The new OS also brings improvements to the stylus for writing and drawing tasks.
Android 13 — Privacy and Security
Android 13 also brings control over the personal information you regularly share for apps. Previously, apps used to seek permissions for ‘Files and media’; for instance, after granting it, apps used to have full access to all media and files stored on your Android phone. With Android 13, Google has split the same permission into ‘Photos & Videos’ and ‘Music & Audio’. These new permissions on Android 13 give you to choose specific permissions and add more flexibility.
With Android 13, you can further find app notifications improvements and modify app-specific permissions. Also, location access for apps will be more significant on the new operating system. The other privacy options comprise app access to your clipboard, and with Android 13, the clipboard history will be deleted automatically after a short period.
Android 13 will introduce a new Security & Privacy settings page later this year. The new page will have all the device’s data privacy and security options in one place. Further, the options will be colour coded to indicate safety status, as green is for safety, and a red would probably be a risk alert that needs to be addressed as early as possible.
Android 13 — Material You
The Material You now lets you adapt your phone according to your preference with new personalisation features that include pre-made colour variants. This will allow users to set a colour option; then, the theme colour can be witnessed across the system. The feature first introduced with Android 12 now comes with enhancements on Android 13. The upgrades include new themed icons, which can be toggled on/off as per preferences. The other nifty features come to media controls as well that bring in a new look as per album artwork.
The other prominent feature of Android 13 is an added new ability for language preferences. Imagine being a multilingual person who wants to use certain apps in English and a few other apps in their native language. And that’s now a possibility in Android 13, as it allows you to select each app to set its preferred language instead of putting the device’s default language as a whole.
Android 13 — Second beta roll out
Google already rolled out the first beta of Android 13 a while ago, and the second beta with the aforementioned features is now available for testing. The supported devices list prominent devices from brands like Asus, realme, Lenovo, OnePlus, and OPPO, to name a few. Full list can be here.