Update: Google has confirmed Android 13 will come with some battery-saving features, including a notification that warns you if a background app is using too much power
Android 13 is coming right along, and now we have the second Developer Preview to play with. While most of this update is focused on developer quality of life, we found some interesting tidbits that caught our attention — one of which is a small, very iOS-like change that we're excited about.
Developer Preview 2 will adjust some things for app developers which will then trickle down to end users. Many of these are related to dev productivity, making app development and design a much smoother process, even for non-English languages and non-Latin scripts.
Here are the highlights of what's new in Android 13 Developer Preview 2.
Android 13 Developer Preview 2: What's new
The two biggest things most users will notice are notification permissions and Bluetooth LE audio.
Notification permissions: As you'll see in the image below, Android 13's notification permissions feature is basically a blatant copy of how notification permissions work on iOS. Android 13 will prompt you for permission to let an app send you notifications or not. This is an Apple initiative that we're glad to see Google outright adopt.
Bluetooth LE audio: Bluetooth LE, or Low Energy, is the evolution of the ubiquitous wireless standard. Android 13 is adding support for LE audio, meaning that you can expect the high quality audio without as much energy expenditure. Bluetooth LE audio support also allows for seamless switching.
Non-English text conversion: This is a very simple change that allows users to search phonetically and get results much faster. The example that Google gives is that a Japanese user can search in hiragana and get instant kanji results, saving on a lot of conversion hassle.
Improved Japanese text wrapping and line height for non-Latin scripts: While not relevant for most primary English speakers, Android 13 is improving support for Japanese text wrapping. Line breaks will now focus on where it makes sense based on the word versus the character as it is now. And non-Latin scripts will receive new line heights that make sense for each one individually. This will prevent clipping and improve legibility for each character.
Color vector fonts and MIDI 2.0: Android 13 adds support for COLR version 1, which is a compact font rendering format. It allows for quick and crisp text rendering. And Android 13 also has support for MIDI 2.0, meaning that MIDI 2.0 devices like controllers will function even better and smoother.
Android 13 Developer Preview 2: Outlook
To get the latest developer preview of Android, you'll have to flash the image on your Pixel via a PC; if you're on the previous Developer Preview, Google says you'll get the update over the air. Eligible devices include: Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, and Pixel 6 Pro. We've already broken down how to install Android 13 for you.
Android 13 is still several months away from a stable release, but we could see a beta as soon as next month with platform stability aimed for June. Of course, we'll hear all about what the new OS version has to offer at Google I/O 2022 in May. We might even learn more about the Pixel 6a, which some rumors say will launch at Google's annual developer conference.