Google today launched the first beta of Android 13 and, as usual, this means that if you’re an early adopter who isn’t afraid of a few broken features here and there, you can now install it as an over-the-air update as well. As of now, you’ll need a recent Pixel phone to do so, with the Pixel 4 being the oldest device it will install on.
For the most part, there isn’t a lot that’s new in the beta, but that’s to be expected as Google already launched most of the new developer-centric features during the preview phase. Those features included things like themed app icons, per-app language support, Bluetooth LE audio and, for the musicians out there, MIDI 2.0 support over USB. Maybe the most important update in Android 13, though, is that push notifications will now be opt-in.
In this first beta, Google is adding more granular permissions for media file access to this lineup. Apps can now request access to specific file types, so developers can now ask for permission to specific media types like images, video and audio files. There is also some better error reporting, especially in the contetx of key generation, and a new audio API that helps “media apps anticipate how their audio is going to be routed.”
As Google VP of Engineering Dave Burke notes in today’s announcement, now is the time for developers to test their apps for compatibility with Android 13. As of now, Google expects to launch one more beta before hitting platform stability in June. By then, all of the app-related system features and APIs should be stable.
Chances are we will hear quite a bit more about Android 13 at Google I/O, which is now only a few weeks away.