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    Android 13 will be unveiled tonight and here is what we know about new features

    Android 13 will be unveiled tonight and here is what we know about new features

    Android 13 will be unveiled tonight and here is what we know about new features
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    By Vijay Anand   IST (Updated)

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    Android 13: The public beta of Google's next Android iteration has been out in the wild for two weeks, and here's what we know so far about the features the new OS version will pack.

    On Wednesday evening (IST), Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take the stage at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, and unveil the next version of the world's most popular mobile operating system — Android 13.

    The public beta of Google's next Android iteration has been out in the wild for a couple of weeks, and here's what we know so far about the features the new OS version will pack.

    First let's get the crucial information out of the day.

    Google I/O 

    When: 10.30 pm IST

    How to watch: You can stream the event live, on Google I/O website, or its official YouTube channel.

    What's in a name?

    Remember the days when Android versions used to be named after sweets? Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean, Kit-Kat, etc? Well, public releases stopped being named after desserts after Android 9, or 'Android Pie', in 2018. Since then, Google fell back on numerical nomenclature for its annual OS releases — though internally, they still had "sweet" code names: Android 10 was referred to as Quince Tart, 11 as Red Velvet Cake and 13 is Tiramisu.

    Now, onto the features we know are coming based on reports of Android 13 developer beta tests.



    Tap-to-transfer

    The seeds for tap-to-transfer were sown in the early days of Android, with the introduction of Near Field Communication, or NFC, which would allow two smartphones to transfer files, links and more with a mere physical tap. It was novel, but didn't always work the way it was supposed to. Over the years, NFC has come to be replaced by more reliable file-transfer technology like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi — and Apple's proprietary AirDrop.

    It looks like Google is resurrecting tap-to-transfer. Android Police reports that it is privy to a demo process dubbed "Media Tap To Transfer", which the website says is just the first step in enabling a wide range of applications, such as tapping to control smart home devices, possibly through Google's own Nest Hub technology.

    More 'Material You' themes

    Last year, the biggest talking point of Android 13 was Material You, a new design language that automatically adjusts the colour palette of the entire smartphone — app icons, logos, settings menu and volume/brightness sliders — based on any custom wallpaper selected by the user.

    Android 13 will reportedly take that forward by giving a wider range of colour palettes to more accurately "theme" the system. Android Police says under Android 13, users (or android manufacturers) have the option to choose from three colour schemes —"vibrant", "expressive", and a desaturated, near monochromatic "spritz".

    Android 13 also sports something called "cinematic" wallpapers, a feature that could enable custom "live" wallpapers based on images from a user's photos library — akin to cinematic images in Google Photos.



    Opt-in notifications

    It appears that this year, Google is taking a leaf out of Apple's playbook and making it mandatory for newly installed apps to ask for permission to send notifications. In beta, users can only allow or deny permission. As Android 13 development evolves, other options could be baked in.

    Android has been historically better at handling notifications — a user will not even have to leave the notifications panel to read and respond to entire texts and email addresses, or have near-full-fledged interactions with apps.

    ‘Multilingual’ per-app language settings

    According to developer reports, Android 13 will offer users the option to set a language per individual app, which could come in handy for multilingual users, which most Indians are. This means Indian users can set English or their own native language as the preferred choice on a per-app basis.

    Battery measures

    Android has always been something of a resource hog, running multiple processes in the background, which in turn has a direct impact on battery health/life. Android 12 introduced systemwide, mandatory battery-saving measures that made it nearly impossible for apps to run in the background. This affected the quality of some apps, which relied on background processes to run at their best. Android 13 reportedly offers a toggle switch to turn this feature on or off. The latest iteration also supposedly has a feature that constantly evaluates apps, and limits or frees up access to resources on a "need-to" basis. Android 13 will also warn the user of apps that are running in the background without permission, resulting in excessive battery drain.

    Support for Bluetooth Low-Energy Audio

    Android 13 could introduce Bluetooth Low-Energy Audio, which boasts of lower energy consumption without compromising audio quality, multi-stream, simultaneous support for multiple headphones/speakers (with appropriate hardware), and full support for hearing aid devices.

    Home button Assistant toggle

    Android 13 leaks point to the possibility of long pressing the smartphone's home button to summon Google Assistant, much like iPhone users can do to activate Apple's AI assistant Siri. This option can be disabled in favour of gesture based controls, reports indicate.



    Spatial audio

    Android 13 Beta 1 sports a spatializer effect, which could become Google's version of the iPhone's Spatial Audio feature. Apple's Spatial Audio feature simulates a 360-degree surround system through AirPods, and it appears the feature is coming to Android users later this year, when the OS releases to the public.

    Gaming

    According to reports, Android 13 will have an option that will boost CPU speeds temporarily, allowing games to launch quicker.

    Photo picker

    Similar to the way photos are handled on Apple's devices, Android 13 will reportedly sort photos automatically into their own albums/categories.

    Third-party Material You icons

    In Android 12, the Material You theme was limited to just first-party Google apps. Android 13 looks to rectify that, bringing the functionality to third-party apps as well, potentially giving the phone a uniform look.

    More powerful clipboard

    Android 13 will allow users to copy text and change it in the clipboard before sharing it.

    As we go deeper into the development testing cycle, it is par for the course for Google to add more features, remove others and tweak some to make them better. We will bring you constant updates as and when there are changes.

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