Android 13 Beta Release Reignites Big Tech Debate

Critical Overview

Google has announced the release of the first public beta of Android 13 for users of compatible Pixel devices. While the company is expected to unveil more information about the update at its annual developer conference next month, end users can already experience some of its features through the initial two developer previews. The public beta includes new features that are more developer-focused, such as changes to app permissions and updates to the cryptographic key components of Android.

End User Features

The initial two developer previews of Android 13 have introduced several features that are likely to be of interest to end users. Among these are support for Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) Audio, which provides improved audio quality and lower power consumption for wireless headphones and speakers. Another notable feature is a new photo picker that allows users to restrict an app’s access to their photos. Additionally, new app icon theming options have been introduced, along with a new permission to help reduce notification spam.

Developer-Focused Features

While the public beta of Android 13 does not introduce many new end user features, it does include several changes that are aimed at developers. One such change is an update to the app permission for accessing shared media files in local storage. This permission will now be specific to the type of media that an app needs to access, rather than asking for permission to access all files. Additionally, the cryptographic key components of Android, known as Keystore and KeyMint, have been updated to provide more informative error codes. Finally, new APIs have been introduced to enable better audio playback.

Downloading the Beta

Users can visit Google’s Android 13 developer site for more information on how to download the beta. Those who are already running the developer preview of Android 13 should automatically receive the new beta.


Google’s release of the first public beta of Android 13 provides a glimpse into what users can expect from the upcoming update. While the initial two developer previews introduced several notable end user features, the public beta is more focused on updates aimed at developers. However, these changes are no less important, as they aim to improve the security and usability of Android for both end users and developers. Overall, the public beta represents an important step in the ongoing evolution of Android, and users can look forward to more improvements and features in the final release later this year.