Google is moving fast towards the next release of Android. The company announced the “final” Android 13 beta, Beta 4, yesterday, with word that an official release is “coming in the coming weeks.”
After a massive overhaul of Android 12, Android 13 appears to be a smaller release focusing on various improvements and tablet features. A lot of Android 13 is building on the work of Android 12 and the tablet-focused mini-release, Android 12L. The new notification media player has more content you color options and more tweaks. The tablet interface features a new app-drawer button for the taskbar and split-screen drag-and-drop support for notifications. You get more control over apps with the foreground app task manager and a new permission that requires apps to ask for notification access. Under the hood is some serious virtualization power and support for Bluetooth LE audio. Finally there is now a standard QR code reader as well.
Android 13 froze a while back, and this latest release is all about bug fixes. Google notes that the Play Store is ready to accept your Android 13-compatible apps, and if you have a recent Pixel phone, you can enroll in the beta at android.com/beta.
As for the final release, the final beta of Android 12 came out in September, with the final source code released a month later in October. The official builds took a little longer, as Google put them back for the Pixel 6 launch date. It is not known how the Android 13 release will be handled. Google’s timeline, above, has always been objectively flexible regarding final releases.