The second developer preview of Android 13 is now available for download. It’s not as feature-packed as the first preview that hit last month, but it still offers a glimpse of some of the new abilities coming to Google’s next-gen OS.
One of the more exciting bits of this software drop is that Android 13 will allow you to shut off notifications before they even happen, which can help combat notification fatigue. Apps built to target the new OS will request permission from you before pushing them through. You’ll get a pop-up window asking you to allow the newly installed app to ping you with notifications, or you can disable it.
Japanese speakers will see specific language-based improvements in Android 13, including better text wrapping of words and phrases. Android will also take care of converting languages that use phonetic input. For instance, if you speak Japanese, you’ll be able to type out a search term in simplified Hiragana, and the search bar will convert it and autocomplete it to Kanji. This is much simpler than before when Japanese users had to manually convert Hiragana to Kanji in another app before using the search engine.
Non-Latin scripts, such as Tamil, Burmese, Telugu, and Tibetan, are also more legible within the operating system. They’ll have better line-height adaptation so that essential characters aren’t cut off on screen.
As with every developer preview, the software is infused with new tools for devs. Developers can now program their apps to downgrade any previously allowed permissions after a software update. This will help make apps more secure, as it ensures that an app doesn’t have access to, for example, your location data when it no longer requires it.
Android 13 will have built-in support for Bluetooth LE audio. Bluetooth LE replaces Bluetooth classic and will enable Android devices to share audio with other devices and listen to public broadcasts. Developers who code their apps specific to Android 13 will be able to take advantage of the additional features of this particular specification.
Lastly, Android 13 adds MIDI 2.0 support. If you’re blinking your eyes at what this means, know this: it means it’s easier to connect music-making peripherals to your Android device. With Google’s push to make tablets a thing again in its ecosystem, this could be exciting news to musicians with Android leanings. Whether this will turn an Android 13 tablet into a music-making maestro like Apple’s iPad is another thing entirely. The iPad already offers MIDI 2.0 support.
According to Google’s release chart, this second developer preview is likely the last one before Android 13 goes beta. We should see the release of that official beta sometime in April. Google is aiming for Android 13 to reach Platform Stability by June 2022.