Jack Wallen has installed the first beta of Android 13 and while there isn’t much to see yet, he was seriously impressed with what Google has done with the operating system.
The first beta of Android 13 is now available to the general public. I installed it on a Pixel 5 to get an idea of what was to come for the platform’s next release. Going into this, I knew Android 13 would be a huge disappointment after how dramatically different the previous iteration turned out to be. It wasn’t like Google would pull out another Material You to push the platform even further forward.
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Instead, I assumed Android 13 would be the smallest step forward for Google’s mobile operating system, and I wasn’t wrong. Much of what’s coming to Android’s latest upgrade is primarily focused on the backend, where users won’t see much of a difference. The truth is, the difference between? Android 12 and 13 is almost indistinguishable… unless you pay close attention.
A new level of smoothness
The first thing I noticed with Android 13 is that everything seemed a little smoother. It’s probably not as noticeable if you haven’t been using the platform for as long as I have, but with Android 13 the animations are seriously smooth. Everything seems to glide effortlessly across the display like liquid. There is no jitter, stutter or skip when navigating the user interface at any level. For me that is a big step forward. I’m running Android 13 on a lower-powered device (compared to my Pixel 6 Pro with Android 12), and 13 seems much more polished than 12 (which was already a big step forward from 11).
That should bode well for anyone looking to see improvement in the Android visuals department.
Random thoughts on Android 13 as I dive in
Besides that initial infatuation with the smoothness of the user interface, the next thing that caught my eye was the addition of a QR code reader quick tile (Image A†
You no longer need to go through the Assistant or install a third-party app to scan a QR code.
The next thing that strikes me is a very welcome addition for fans of privacy (which should mean everyone). When you install a new app, the first time you open it, you determine whether the app can send you notifications (Figure B†
While you can already control which apps have access to the notification system, if you can configure that on each app’s first run, it makes this process significantly easier (and easier to remember). Kudos to the developers for adding this important privacy feature.
There is a nice little addition to be found in the media play card in the notification shade. While a song is playing, you will see a winding indicator showing how far the media has played (Figure C†
As for the look of Android, a nifty update is the ability to adjust the screen and text size at the same time. If you go to Settings | † going to Show | Screen size and text, you can easily change the font size and display (Figure D†
One thing that was missing is the Search your phone feature configured in Home Settings on Android 12. This option no longer appears in Android 13 and I’m not sure if this option will continue to exist or where to find it. In Android 12, you can enable/disable Shortcuts, People, Settings, and Pixel Tips in your search results. Android 13? Not so much.
Speaking of Home Settings, if you open that section in Android 13, you’ll notice that Suggestions has returned (Figure E†
You can enable Suggestions in the all apps list and/or on the home screen.
One of the coolest features I’ve come across with Android 13 is the new clipboard editor. Let me set the tone: you visit a website and you want to copy/paste the URL. However, when you paste the URL, you notice that it contains a long string of random characters that probably contains information that you don’t want to share. Android 13 allows you to actually edit the clipboard contents.
After copying the URL, you will see a small indicator at the bottom of your screen with an edit button (Figure F†
Tap the Edit button and you can then edit the content before actually copying the asset.
OK, so Android 13 isn’t going to be a huge release packed with tons of new features to amaze and excite users. But everything that goes under the hood, combined with the few new features revealed with the first beta, makes me really excited about this release. Android 12 was already the best release of the platform so far. That Google is just adding some serious shine to what Android had already made for a seriously exciting update. I think every Android user will be excited about what’s to come. And since this is just the first beta, you can bet there’s more excitement to come.
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