Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the release of Android 13, fifty new features of Android, Samsung Galaxy’s Android problem, Overclocking the Pixel 6a screen, ColorOS 13 launched, Nokia T10 tablet on sale, and why our favorite phone features are removed.
Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).
Android 13 Now Available
This week’s big ticket item is the release of Android 13. Although it has been in public beta for some time, the version number has ticked over, and we are in the consumer phase of the release. Unlike Apple’s iOS, which only has to address a single tightly defined set of handsets, Android’s near universality means that the roll-out of your handset’s flavor of Android 13 will be dependent on your manufacturer.
Owners of Google’s own Pixel handsets will get as speedy a service as iPhone owners, with the roll-out of Android 13 commencing on the various Pixel 4, 5, and 6 handset families. Handsets from Asus, HMD, Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo, RealMe, Samsung, Sony, and Xiaomi should see Android 13 before the end of the year:
“Android 13 helps ensure your devices feel unique to you – on your terms. It comes jam-packed with new capabilities for your phone and tablet, like extending app color theming to even more apps, language settings that can be set on an app level.” , improved privacy controls and even the ability to copy text and media from one Android device and paste it to another with just a click.”
(Google’s Offical Keyword Blog).
Fifty Ways To Love Android 13
Android 13, like any major software release, has an over-arching philosophy (see Google’s blog post linked above for that), and lots of tiny details; some quality of life, others reflecting the new ideas, and still more for security and stability. What are those minor points in Android 13 that are worth noting? Mishaal Rahman has gathered their top fifty features in Android 13. Here’s just one; on the new Photo Picker, which will no doubt be appearing in third-party apps in the near future:
“There’s a new Photo Picker that will let you quickly pick images or videos to share with apps. Those apps then get temporary, read-only access to those media files. Apps have to add support for the Photo Picker, but this is quite easy to do and will be available through many libraries soon. Plus, the Photo Picker has already rolled out to Android 11-12L devices through a Google Play System Update, so expect to see a lot of apps add support for this in the near future. “
Samsung Galaxy Fold And Flip’s Android Problem
An interesting point following the release of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4… Samsung’s technologically adept masterpiece may have all the hardware wins, but software wise the South Korean’s mid-year please pretty much guarantees that they are the last of the big hitters running the previous year’s Android version. The foldable launched with 12, just as 13 became the public face of the platform.
“But that still doesn’t excuse the fact that the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is launching with Android 12, let alone the $1800 Galaxy Z Fold 4. It’s one of those issues Samsung just can’t seem to address no matter how much better its It’s especially jarring considering how close Google and Samsung are: can’t Google provide Samsung with the necessary code for the newest version of Android ahead of time so they are both in sync?”
Pixel 6a’s Secret 90Hz Refresh Rate
Eagle-eyed smartphone watchers clocked the Pixel 6a’s screen specifications and wondered why Google’s mid-range Pixel was locked to 60 Hz refresh rate. And the adventurous broke out their custom ROMs and modding software to overclock the screen to 90 Hz. A risky endeavor that sacrifices longevity or a hidden feature to be turned on by Google?
“Verge Senior Editor Sean Hollister has tested the mod on his own Pixel 6a, and has confirmed it works. What we don’t know is whether the display panel truly supports 90Hz, or whether this is effectively overclocking it to get to the faster refresh rate. We’ve reached out to Google to comment on whether 90Hz is simply software locked, or if there are indeed display panel constraints.”
ColorOS 13 Launches
With over 500 million users around the world, Oppo’s ColorOS has a significant footprint in the Android world. This week’s release of ColorOS 13 brings Android 13 to a small but growing number of Oppo devices, starting with the Fin X5 and X5 Pro. I spent time with the release ahead of the launch and found some of the small touches that help an OS stand out:
“One pleasant change is a new font. Designed by Oppo to aid readability, ‘Oppo Sans’ allows you to scale the weighting of the font to get the best look possible. For me, this was a very heavy weighting – not quite a bold font, but enough to keep all the strokes thick and recognisable to older eyes.”
Affordable Nokia T10 Table Now Available
Following the affordable T20, HMD Global’s second tablet is now on sale in the UK. The even more affordable T10 is targeting the consumers looking for video calls, media playback, and a ‘second screen’ environment”:
“Nokia T10 features a bright 8” HD display and stereo speakers with OZO playback, making for clear sound and a detailed picture no matter where you use it. Whether that’s taking video calls from home or streaming your favorite TV shows together on the move, The Nokia T10 is a great portable companion. It also comes with a second screen feature to make the Nokia T10 an expansion of your PC display, providing a convenient way to maximise productivity when an important task needs finishing.
Manufacturers add features to phones, and we fall in love with them. Then they take them away for practical reasons… but the emotional moments are lost. Nicholas Sutrich laments the loss of the OnePlus alert slider and the Galaxy Watch rotating bezel and reflects on the wider industry trends:
“Both of these unique, key hardware features were things that set each respective brand apart from the pack of similar-looking and feeling devices. Yet, both companies saw fit to remove them. Why? Not only did consumers love these two features, but they were key brand identifiers that simply should not have been removed.”
Android Circuit rounds up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future, and of course read the sister column in Apple Loop! Last week’s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!