Google Announces Android 13 Developer Preview 2

Google has announced Developer Preview 2 (DP2) for Android 13, which will be released later this year. This announcement comes more than a month after the first preview of the OS was announced and offers a glimpse into some of the changes that will be part of Android 13 when it is released.

First, since this version of Android 13 is for developers, it does not contain huge changes in the user interface, and the features in this second review version that we will mention in this article may not be part of the final version of Android 13 that will be released late summer next year (or in early fall), and Google may remove them at any time, or delay them for a later release of Android.

Starting with Android 13, users will have more control over what permission apps get, as developers of apps targeting Android 13 (API level 33) will be required to include runtime permission to send notifications from an app (POST_NOTIFICATIONS).

This means that apps will need to request permission to send you the push notifications, as with permissions to access location, messages, contacts, etc.

For Android 12 and earlier, the system will handle the upgrade flow on your behalf, but you still need to give apps permission to send notifications to you.

Speaking of permissions, developers can add a new API to their apps to enable them to lower the permissions they have previously gained, to protect user privacy.

Suppose, for example, that a certain app has requested and obtained access to your location to provide you with a specific feature in this app, but in a future version, the app no longer needs location permission to provide you with this feature. In This case, and with this new API, the app will get rid of access to your location automatically.

Next, Android 13 users in Japanese with improved text wrap, as TextViews can now wrap text by phrases (Bunsetsu) instead of by character, which results in a more polished and readable text in Japanese applications.

The display of non-Latin scripts (such as Tamil, Burmese, Telugu, and Tibetan) will be improved on Android 13 as well, by using a line-height that’s adapted for each language. The new line heights prevent clipping and improve the positioning of characters, and apps can take advantage of these improvements just by targeting Android 13.

Android 13 users who speak Chinese and Japanese will be able to get search results faster in applications thanks to the new Text Conversion API, as it will convert, for example, the Hiragana to kanji in real-time for Japanese speakers to enable them to perform searches easier and faster.

On the other hand, Android 13 adds rendering support for COLR version 1 fonts and updates the system emojis to COLRv1 format. COLRv1 is a new, highly compact, font format that renders quickly and crisply at any size and is supposed to improve the way emojis are displayed in apps or on the web and make them clearer.

Android 13 also adds support for Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) audio which is used on most modern devices to share and broadcast audio without consuming a lot of power.

This DP adds support for the new MIDI 2.0 standard as well, to Android OS, including the ability to connect MIDI 2.0 devices through USB, providing features such as resolution for controllers, better support for non-Western intonation, and more expressive performance using per-note controllers.

Last but not least, Android 13 will allow users to stop foreground services from the notification drawer using the new Foreground Services (FGS) Task Manager. FGS shows a list of apps that are currently running a foreground service. This list is labelled Active apps, and next to each app is a Stop button.

When the user presses the Stop button next to an app in the FGS Task Manager, the entire app stops, not just the running foreground service.

Besides, Android 13 DP2 has the following system UI changes:

  • Add quick settings (QS) tile to scan QR codes.
  • The "Device Controls" QS tile gets renamed to "Home".
  • Do not disturb mode has been renamed priority mode.
  • Minor UI updates for the Now Playing notification and the media player.
  • Add the app drawer to the taskbar on tablets.
  • Hints for a major UI update in progress, for screensaver settings.
  • Grain vibration sliders have been added to control alarm and media vibrations.
  • The "Font Size" and "Display Size" settings are combined in "Display and Text Size".

The second preview version of Android 13 is a version under development of Android, which means that it may be unstable and has some bugs that may make the device it is installed on sometimes unusable, and therefore it is not recommended to try it on the device for daily use and prefer to install it on a secondary device or In the Android emulator.

Android 13 DP2 can be installed on Google Pixel 4 and above, or you can use a 64-bit system image with an Android emulator in Android Studio Dolphin. A13 DP2 (GSI) general system images are also available so if you know what you're doing you can use these images to try out this preview version of Android 13.

Finally, and as a note, if you have already installed a preview version on your Pixel device, you will receive this update automatically, and no need to flash this preview image manually, as well all later previews and Betas over the air.

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