Google’s Android 13 TV beta adds a cool feature

In the aftermath of I/O 2022, Google quietly deploys Android 13 Beta 2 for TV which brings new features and quality of life (QoL) changes.

Please be aware that the new beta is currently available to Android developers only as a way to test apps on the operating system and provide feedback on them. However, chances are that most, if not all, of the features listed will be incorporated into your smart TV in the future.

Develop features

The central theme of this new Android 13 beta for TV is to increase the customization options allowing users to adjust their interaction with the platform. A key new feature is picture-in-picture, which will anchor a show to the side of the screen as you navigate your smart TV’s menus. The idea is to allow people with large TVs to get more out of their screens and improve multitasking.

The release notes don’t say how big the mini window will be, but according to a recent in-depth analysis of Android 13 Beta for TV 2 (opens in a new tab), developers will be able to choose between an aspect ratio of 1:2.39 or 2.39.1. None of this is set in stone, so it may change.

New changes are also being made to the Keyboard Layouts API to support different layouts in addition to the traditional QWERTY standard that most are familiar with. Android 13 Beta 2 includes performance changes to the system’s audio and HDMI interface, but it’s unclear how these will manifest to consumers. If you’re really curious about these changes, Google has provided a set of instructions on how to install the beta and recommends you purchase the ADT-3 SDK.

The roadmap

Google releases its Android 13 beta for TV pretty quickly. Beta 1 launched less than a week ago, May 6. Again, this was only for developers to test if their app was compatible with the operating system and how the audio would be routed.

After that there will be two more beta releases and then it will be the official release of Android 13 Beta for TV. Beta 3 will see Android 13 beta for TV in a more stable state. Beta 4 is ready for final testing of apps and features. Looking at the roadmap, Android 13 is expected to launch after July.

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