Android 13 is almost here, and it’s a pretty minor update from Google. Well, we say minor, but that’s only in comparison to the positively gargantuan number of changes that were in Android 12 — as well as Google’s policy of trickling out improvements to Android apps over the course of a year as soon as they’re ready. Android 13 is more of a tune-up to the engine that powers your phone than anything else. But it’s still one worth getting excited for.
Tablet and foldable owners will see the most benefits, along with some updates to Material You to Improve Android’s customizability. There really isn’t much else to say about Android 13. It’s a very under-the-hood update whose value will only become clear in the months after its launch.
As for timelines, Google says it’s releasing Android 13 in either August or September, with the Pixels getting it first and the likes of Samsung and Oppo following shortly after. Here’s when you can expect it to land on your phone.
Although not every smartphone maker has announced its Android 13 availability plans quite yet, we expect Android 13’s release to be similar to Android 12, Android 11, and other previous versions. Google’s Pixel phones will be among the first to get the update, Samsung will follow soon after, and other brands will filter in over the coming months. We fully expect to see Android 13 updates from the likes of OnePlus, Xiaomi, and others, but pinning down exactly when those updates will be available is still a little tricky.
Google has announced that all Pixel devices from the Pixel 4 would get Android 13. This means the Pixel 4, 4XL, 4a, 4a 5G, 5, 5a, 6, 6a, and 6 Pro. The 3a and 3a XL have seen their final updates, while the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro will launch with Android 13 onboard. Furthermore, since Pixels are among the first devices to get new Android updates, we can expect all eligible Pixel phones to get Android 13 as soon as it’s released in August or September.
Samsung’s Android 13 update takes the shape of One UI 5. Samsung first began rolling out its One UI 5/Android 13 beta on August 5 in the U.S., Germany, and South Korea. The beta is currently only available for the Galaxy S22 series, but the final update will be available for a wide array of Samsung devices. More specifically, we expect every A-Series and S-Series Samsung phone released in the past four years to get One UI 5 and Android 13 pretty quickly, though the tablets and foldables will, as we’ve mentioned, benefit the most.
OnePlus has announced Android 13 and OxygenOS 13 for the OnePlus 8 and newer models, as well as the OnePlus Nord 2 and newer. The OnePlus 10 Pro and OnePlus 10T are slated to get Android 13/OxygenOS 13 first, with other OnePlus handsets following after. The OnePlus 10 Pro will get OxygenOS 13 “soon,” the OnePlus 10T will get the update “later this year,” and it’s anyone’s best guess when it’ll be available for older OnePlus smartphones.
Xiaomi is currently testing Android 13 for the Xiaomi 12, 12 Pro, and Mi Pad 5, while Oppo has a preview program for its Find N and Find X running. Likewise, Realme has a beta program for the GT 2 Pro but has yet to announce a comprehensive launch list. As in previous years, we expect those to come out after Google has announced the final release of Android 13.
If you’re impatient, Google has released Android 13 as part of a public beta for Pixel phones. Any supported Pixel can download Android 13 right this moment, allowing for a taste of what will be coming down the pipeline. With Android 13 all but done, it’s basically a painless and risk-free process. Some apps and games may not work properly prior to release, but those are few and far between in our testing.
Yelp updating its Android app to introduce a new vertical Home Feed and search results with maps for better restaurant discovery, following last year's release of a similar update for Yelp's iOS users.
The company said the new vertical feed features highlights from local businesses and popular dishes from the restaurants around you. Yelp also plans to soon feature user-generated content, like reviews, on the app's home screen.
The Android redesign also brings an updated map to explore functionality to bring a visual element to search. This comes after Instagram rolled out a searchable map experience for place discovery last month.
The changes arrive at a time when younger generations are searching and discovering more places of business through social networks and visual content, instead of more traditional utility-like services. At a accurate conference, for example, Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan noted that younger users are turning to apps like Instagram and TikTok to find new places.
Yelp's new Home Feed design for Android. Image Credits: Yelp
With the update, Yelp redesigned the sign-up page and business pages with a focus on highlighting photos. The company said it also made back-end improvements for a snappier app experience.
"In addition to our improved homepage, search results and business pages, we've also made significant enhancements on the back end to Improve app load times, significantly reduce app errors and provide a better overall app experience. Users can also expect to see new Android updates roll out faster in the future," Yelp noted in a statement.
Yelp's new update is rolling out to Android users in 900 U.S-based cities in the coming weeks.
Earlier this year, the company expanded its partnership with Hazel Analytics to show accurate health ratings across 700,000 business pages.
The first Google-blessed Android tablet launched in 2011, and now more than a decade later, Google has rediscovered tablet apps. After neglecting large-screen devices for most of the intervening years, the company has announced new, tablet-friendly features in some of its most popular apps.
Google itself is largely responsible for the dearth of Android tablets. When it gave up on tablets in the wake of the disastrous Pixel C, it also stopped optimizing apps for the large screen, making an already bad problem that much worse. Whereas Apple has worked to standardize large-screen interfaces and provide developers with the tools to develop on the iPad, Google focused Android almost entirely on phones.
Now that Amazon and Samsung have carved up what’s left of the tablet market, Google is back at it. Part of that is the move toward foldable form factors, which can blur the line between a phone and a tablet, and the division is only going to become blurrier with time. To that end, Google is adding tablet enhancements to several of its flagship Workspace apps: Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Keep.
Multitasking is one of the key use cases for tablets and large foldables, and that is exemplified in the new drag-and-drop functionality. All the updated apps now support this feature in split-screen mode. So, you could grab an image or file from Chrome, and drag it into Google Drive to upload it. Likewise, you can select a table from Sheets and drag it into a Docs window.
The Drive app, which acts as a hub for Sheets, Docs, and Slides, is also getting a specific multitasking enhancement. Now, you’ll be able to open two instances of Drive side-by-side. This will help immensely if you need to dig around in your files, opening documents to find something in particular. It also jives nicely with the new drag-and-drop functionality.
The new Workspace functionality should be live in the coming weeks. This move comes just a few months after the most accurate Google I/O, during which Google announced it would release a raft of app updates with tablet-optimized interfaces, and it’s working with third-party developers like Zoom and TikTok. Google also plans to release a new tablet. The predictably-named Pixel Tablet will launch next year, but that’s essentially all we know about it.
Update version 2206.40000.15.0 of the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) for Insiders adds support for using controllers in Android games. That includes not only gamepads but also joysticks mapped to the conventional WASD keys. Games that use swiping gestures to aim or slide can now also be controlled using a keyboard's arrow keys. All in all, the Android gaming experience on Windows 11 should be a lot more comfortable now, presuming the game actually supports controllers and not touch gestures only.
The update also brings other improvements across the board, particularly for networking, settings, and graphics. One note that Microsoft gives Insiders, though, is that some VPN services might not work properly with WSA's Advanced Networking feature. If that's the case for you, Microsoft recommends simply turning the feature off in order to reconnect Android apps to the internet.
This news bodes well for the Windows Subsystem for Android, if not for the rather important fact that it isn't available yet anywhere outside of the U.S., at least not officially. Microsoft does plan to add five more countries to that list, but that won't happen until the end of this year. Another critical caveat is that WSA uses Amazon's Appstore and services, and some Android games and apps might not work properly in the absence of Google Play Services.
San Francisco, Aug 2 (IANS): In a bid to Improve its experience for Android users, chat platform Discord has announced that it will overhaul its Android app so that new features and upgrades come simultaneously on iOS and desktop.
The company mentioned switching to React Native for the Android app means an ever-improving experience at a more rapid pace across every platform Discord is available on while still retaining Android and iOS specific patterns in the UI.
"Android users, rejoice! Today, anyone who uses Discord on an Android device to talk with their friends and communities will have plenty of reason to celebrate. That's because Discord for Android is getting a major overhaul that brings significant improvements to the quality of the mobile experience," the company said in a blogpost.
It said that users can expect some improvements to see on their Android app over the coming weeks.
The improvements include feature consistency across platforms through a centralised and streamlined app development process across Android, iOS and desktop. Then there will be faster app update release cycles when a new feature is introduced or a pesky bug is fixed thanks to a more consolidated process.Design details and UI elements will also now be more aligned between desktop, iOS, and Android.
New Android users who install the app for the first time will be greeted with a larger font within the app that is more consistent with iOS, and existing users have an option in settings to switch.
Google is moving forward with its merger of Duo and Meet, if not quite as elegantly as some might like. TechCrunch reports Google is rebranding Duo for Android and iOS as the Meet app, complete with the video calling-centric logo. The company had already migrated many of Meet's features. However, the old Meet app isn't going away for now — instead, it will be rebranded as "Google Meet (original)."
All Duo users should see the rebrand by September. You'll have to use your Google account for any meeting features, but familiar elements (like effects and contacts) will remain intact. The original Meet app will continue to work, but won't get ad hoc calling and will eventually disappear.
As a spokesperson explained in June, the merger is meant to adapt to the "evolving needs" of video calling, including meetings, by providing a unified experience. To some extent, it's also further acknowledgment that Google's communication app mix had grown too complex. The tech firm plans to shut down Hangouts this fall to focus on Chat, for instance, and it dropped Allo in early 2019. While the old Meet's existence could still prove confusing, it should soon be clearer as to just which Google apps you should use for work meetings or keeping up with friends.
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