As we approach autumn, we have four constants in the phone world to look forward to — the launch of new phones from Apple and Google (that's the iPhone 14 and the Pixel 7 this year) and the arrival of software updates such as iOS 16 and Android 13.
It's Google's upcoming software update that has me interested at the moment, though I admit I'm a sucker for Android stuff. But the interesting development right now is that it appears the full version of Android 13 isn't arriving as soon as we thought.
Going off language used in Google's latest Android 13 August security bulletin (opens in new tab), it looks like the next version of Android could launch in September. The security bulletin details security vulnerabilities, and then further elaborates on how Google has mitigated the danger... in the September security patch.
So that leaves us to wonder if Android 13 will launch with all of these vulnerabilities addressed via the September patch, or if it'll launch without the fixes. The latter seems unlikely since Google probably isn't in a hurry to release Android 13 this month — the Pixel 7 isn't rumored to release until October.
We want to note that Google releasing Android 13 to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) doesn't equal a launch for Pixels. Remember that Android 12 took two weeks between the AOSP commit and Pixels receiving the update, so it's possible that such a thing could happen again.
The reason many of us thought Android 13 would release in August comes down to Android 13's entire timeline thus far. The first Developer Preview came out all the way back in February, way earlier than any Android version prior. Then the first beta dropped in April instead of at Google I/O like usual. Even the platform stability timeline vaguely hinted at an August timeframe.
Last month, Google released Android 13 beta 4, the last beta release before the full update. At the time of that July 13 release, an Android developer blog post (opens in new tab) said that we were "just a few weeks away from the official release of Android 13," implying an August rollout.
So what could have happened? The security bulletin might have the answer and it's pretty simple. Google may have discovered something critical in Android 13's code and needed to fix it. Since things this year seemed ahead of schedule versus prior versions, maybe Google decided to step back and address the problem(s). That's just speculation, though.
We should also note that the Pixel 6a just got added to the Android 13 beta program. It would certainly be odd to add a new phone to a beta list when the final release was imminent, but Google has done weirder things before.
Take all of this with a grain of salt, but don't expect to see Android 13 this month. If it does come out this month, then it'll be a nice surprise, but September now seems like a more likely target.