Ahead of a full release later in the year, Android 13 is coming, with a release out almost entirely for developers.
You might still be waiting for the latest version of Android — Android 12 — to hit your phone, but don’t let that stop Google, which is clearly working on the follow-up.
Only a few days ago, Google has launched a developer beta for the next edition of the mobile operating system, as a very early release of Android 13 is out, but clearly not made for everyone. It’s pretty much just developers making and testing apps at this time, as well as anyone who lives on the bleeding edge and likes to live dangerously.
The first iteration of Android 13 comes in “Developer Preview 1”, and it is really not made for prime time, so even if you’re one of those folks who does like to live dangerously, you might want to tread carefully. This is clearly a release made primarily for developers, and even Google hasn’t yet announced the whiz-bang amazing new features we can expect to find. Frankly, we’ll expect that at a Google I/O conference before September, where the company will likely talk up what’s coming that hasn’t been added to the Developer Preview just yet.
However, if you are interested, there are new ways to share photos securely, new permissions and security features for WiFi, plus the ability to theme app icons and improve graphics with some new bits and pieces, too.
Google says Android 13 will be optimised between lots of devices, not just for phones and tablets, but also foldables and Chromebooks, and will also be updating more of the operating system using the Google Play Store in time, meaning bits and pieces will be able to change gradually and more consistently across devices, not necessarily in one lump for an operating system update. That could mean that phone you’ve been waiting to see an upgrade to Android 12 will make its way to Android 13 more quickly, or to other updates after that.
Google does expect Android 13 will be stable in the middle of the year following proper betas in April, suggesting we’ll hear more about those whiz-bang features very, very soon.
For now, developers and folks who live dangerously can try out the preview if they dare, with support for Android 13 previews on Pixel devices from the Pixel 4 and up, including the Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a with 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 6, and Pixel 6 Pro. Sorry Pixel 3 owners, but you won’t be getting this release, and will be stuck at Android 12.