With several modifications behind the scenes, Android TV 13 is ready for prime time
The yearly iterations of Android TV’s preview software aren’t as simple to acquire as the beta versions of Android for your phone, which welcomes almost everyone with a current Pixel smartphone to give it a try. We were eager to give Android TV 13 a try when it first appeared earlier this year. Unfortunately, in order to get that far, you need a particular piece of hardware for developers. Only emulators could be installed for the second beta, which was considerably more constrained. Even while that challenge remains, Android TV 13 is now officially out of beta, which puts us one step closer to actually using the most recent iteration of Google’s big-screen OS.
Unsurprisingly, Android TV 13 is mostly focused on internal upgrades; the user interface has not been much improved. Instead, Google is offering new APIs and access controls to developers in order to improve the usability of its TV-friendly platform. For detailed information on what has changed this time around, it is worthwhile to review the changelog in its entirety, although there is certainly a lot to be excited about.
There are a few changes worth emphasising, even if it could take some time for your Nvidia Shield TVs or Chromecasts to obtain this upgrade—the most recent Google TV-powered Chromecasts just got an Android 12 update early this year. Adjustable refresh rates and resolutions are now available, which is a no-brainer suite of features that is better late than never. New power-saving techniques are now available, enabling devices to halt TV programmes and movies whenever the HDMI signal changes.
Naturally, there are many improvements made to the AudioManager API that introduce anticipatory audio routes for certain formats and speaker groups. New keyboard layouts for different languages are available via the InputDevice APIs, and there are also ways for game developers to precisely link physical keys to places in order to better support varied keyboard or controller designs.
Overall, it’s a little adjustment that won’t likely have a significant impact on consumers. However, if you’re a developer and have an ADT-3 dev machine, you may begin utilising Android TV 13 right now. You’ll need to rely on an emulator if not.