Google has started officially rolling out the year’s major Android update — Android 13 — for Pixel phones, the tech giant announced.
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The search giant is releasing the annual update a little earlier than usual, following the release of Android 12 release in October 2021 and Android 11 in September 2020.
“Android 13 is packed with these and many other features, like HDR video support on third-party camera apps, an updated media output switcher, braille displays for Talkback and more. And it goes beyond the phone to give you a connected set of experiences across your other devices like your tablets and laptops,” Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management (Android and Google Play), wrote in a blog.
The list of updates includes the ability to customise non-Google app icons to match the homescreen wallpaper — glimpsed during Android 13’s first developer preview, a new permission to reduce notification spam, and an option to limit which videos and photos an app can access.
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In January, it was revealed that Google planned to spend this year catching up with Apple and its ecosystem integrations, evidenced in Android 13’s release. The later update comes with support for spatial audio with head tracking, similar to a feature on Apple AirPods, the ability to stream messages directly from apps such as Google Messages to a Chromebook, similar to the Mac’s iMessage. This feature is also likely to work with the messaging app Signal and “many of your other favorite messaging apps”. The update also allows users to copy content from an Android phone and paste it on an Android tablet and vice versa.
Other features on Android 13 include a redesigned media player, the ability to set languages on a per-app basis, support for Bluetooth Low Energy and reduced latency, improved multitasking on large-screen devices with support for drag-and-drop, and better palm rejection while using styluses.
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Developers or anyone in the Android 13 beta programme will be entitled to the final release and then stay enrolled for beta updates for future Feature Drops. Android 13 can be installed on Pixel phones through OTA updates or using the web-based Android Flash Tool.
The Android 13 update, which arrived for Pixel devices on Monday, will reach manufacturers such as Oppo, Samsung, HMD Global (Nokia), OnePlus, Motorola, Sony, Realme, Asus, and Xiaomi “later this year”.