Amidst the unveiling of the new range of Pixel devices such as the Pixel 7, Pixel 6a and Pixel Buds ProGoogle also presented the next generation of mobile operating systems that will power these devices the I/O developer conference -Android 13.
Google has stated that the new operating system has a much greater focus on privacy, security and personalization, and has a slew of new apps and features that reflect the same.
Google is keen to build its own ecosystem, something that could rival Apple’s ecosystem. The tech giant believes that Android 13 has a crucial role to play in this by creating a more connected space for all Android-based devices. The company announced that the number of Android phone activations surpassed 1 billion in the last year, with over 3 billion active Android devices per month. Coupled with the fact that a number of well-known smartphone manufacturers are promising 4 years of continuous updates, this means that Google now has to support a wide range of devices as well as tablets. In such a scenario, security, privacy, and customizability become a major concern.
We’re taking a look at some of the features we’ll see in Android 13.
A revamped Google Wallet
Users can now store digital versions of documents, including debit or credit cards, vaccination records, government-issued documents, and even digital car keys if the car in question uses a sensor-based key. Google Wallet was first introduced in 2011, but didn’t catch on then. Google now believes that with a broader and better range of support and features, it will be more profitable in 2022. To do this, Google intends to integrate Google Wallet along with other apps for faster and more seamless transactions.
RCS or Rich Communication Service chat is a system that adds a variety of features to a standard SMS. Think of it like iMessage or WhatsApp, but it’s powered by the SMS or Chat app. This brings a wide range of features to texting, including support for photos, messaging over WiFi, group messaging, and typing indicators (to let you know when someone is typing). Google is also working on end-to-end encryption for group messages and expects to roll it out by the end of the year. It already offers encryption for one-on-one calls
Google is going big with customization and personalization. One of the biggest new features is multi-language support, allowing users to use one app in one language and another app in a different language. Users must now opt-in for app notifications. This basically means that by default apps don’t have permission to show notifications and users can only select the apps they want to see notifications from. Previously, users had to turn off notifications from apps they found intrusive.
There are also a number of other small improvements. Apps can now, for example, take the color from the theme or the wallpaper you choose. Additionally, the media toolkit now changes its appearance depending on the type of music you’re listening to.
Google also announced ELS, or Emergency Location Services, which helps rescue workers easily locate a user after sending an SOS alert. The emergency feature that was included in Android 12 is now extended to WearOS with Android 13.
Google had also tested and introduced an earthquake early warning function in 25 countries. The tech giant will now roll out this feature to other high-risk countries as well. The system works by using a device’s accelerometer to detect if an earthquake is occurring. It then shares the information across the region before shock waves reach other areas.
The final version of Android 13 will be rolled out later this year.
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