The first beta of Android 13 QPR2 (Quarterly Platform Releases) is currently live for select Google Pixel models, giving us a sneak peek at the features and tweaks that should eventually arrive on more Android phones.
Get a beta version of the phone, According to Google’s Android Developers page (opens in a new tab), Pixel 4 (4a and 4a 5G), Pixel 5 (base model and 5a), Pixel 6 series and Pixel 7 series.The release notes don’t say what’s in the release, but renowned Android expert Mishaal Rahman breaks everything down into long twitter thread (opens in a new tab). Everything in the beta can be broken down into two categories: design changes that all listed Pixel devices will get, and features exclusive to a few.
For starters, desktop mode on Android 13 gets “improved window options” with a new title bar that makes it easier to drag windows across the screen, go back to the previous page, or open the toolbar.However, this is very wrong, because Rahman posted a video (opens in a new tab) He dragged a window in desktop mode only to have it crash within seconds.
Entering other notable changes, healthy connection Now is a preloaded app that allows you to aggregate all your personal health data from multiple sources into one app.
A new “temporary taskbar” will make the navigation bar on the Pixel home page appear in browsing apps (and possibly others) whenever you swipe up from the bottom. As the name suggests, the taskbar is temporary and quickly retracts to avoid distractions. Google is returning to the old design, where ringtone and notification volumes are now separate. For years, you couldn’t tune them individually, so it’s nice to see that return.
What wasn’t mentioned in Rahman’s thread is that the apps on the home screen have extra space around them (opens in a new tab). This means there will be less space on the launcher, and you may have to scroll down further to find the app you want, but the new padding does make the menu look less cluttered.
Some of the more interesting features are arguably exclusive to specific models. For example, the Pixel 6 Pro has updated display drivers that allow users to select a “1080p screen resolution option,” which is lower than the native 1440p resolution. This option can improve battery life.Additionally, spatial audio is present on the 6 Pro alongside the base Pixel 6 model, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro, as well as the Pixel Buds Pro next month (opens in a new tab).
There’s a lot more to the beta than that, but these are the most notable highlights. It’s unclear if and when these features will officially roll out, but Rahman claims the beta will lead to a stable release sometime in March.If you want to try out the beta, you can join Android Beta for the Pixel program (opens in a new tab) on Google’s website, then install it through settings. In the release notes, Google notes that the beta has some performance and stability issues, so be aware of that when trying it out.
Be sure to check out TechRadar’s List of the best Pixel phones One year, in case you’re still undecided.