The public beta of Android 13 (codenamed Tiramisu) has been out for about a week and slowly but steadily, updates are filtering in on the latest iteration of the world’s most popular mobile operating system (OS).
As is the case every year, since the Pixel lineup made its debut in 2016, Google’s own smartphones will be the first to receive Android 13, followed by other manufacturers over the next several months.
Android 13 Schedule
Google released the first developer preview of Android 13 in February, followed by a second preview in March. Last week, Google released the first public beta of Android 13.
The second beta will be released later this month, followed by beta 3 in June, with which Google aims to achieve “platform stability” – all user-facing interface and OS behavior will be finalized. The fourth beta will be released in July, which will be an almost complete build for final testing. Android 13 will then be publicly released, either in the same month or next month.
Google’s official Android 13 timeline
|february||Developer Preview 1||Early builds focused on developer feedback, with new features, APIs, and behavior changes.||Report any critical issues or requests and start an initial app compatibility test.|
|march||Developer Preview 2||Incremental updates with additional features||Prepare apps for consumer beta. continue testing.|
|april||beta 1||Over-the-air updates for early adopters enrolled in the Android beta.||Keep testing, see feedback from Android beta users.|
|May||beta 2||incremental release||Keep testing, see feedback from Android beta users.|
|june||beta 3||First platform stability milestone. Final API and behavior.||Ultimate compatibility test for apps and libraries. Release compatible version.|
|july||beta 4||Almost final build for final testing.||Release compatible versions of apps and libraries.|
|July August||final release||Android 13 Release for Consumers and Manufacturers||Release compatible versions for applications, SDKs, and libraries.|
So, which smartphones are compatible with Android 13?
More details will be released next week at Google I/O, but Google has already released its list of Pixel phones that are eligible for the update – Pixel 4, 4 XL, 4a, 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a , Pixel 6 , and Pixel 6 Pro.
Then what about other smartphones?
This is where it gets a little tricky. Each smartphone maker gets access to the latest version of Android from the Android Open Source Project, after which they customize the OS to fit the look and feel of their smartphone. Samsung has its One UI, Xiaomi has MIUI, OnePlus has OxygenOS, but the company announced last year that the codebases of OxygenOS and its sister company Oppo’s ColorOS would be merged, leading to a more consistent, streamlined release. pattern will be formed.
Due to company-specific optimizations — called “skinning” — Android releases for users of these smartphones are staggered, often delayed for months. In fact, most smartphone companies ended rolling out Android 12 for some models a few months back.
However, as shown in the table below, when some of the major manufacturers released Android 12 to their user base, we can assume that the same timeline will apply to Android 13.
|producer||android 12 release|
|samsung||December 2021 (Galaxy S Series), January 2022 (Galaxy Fold and Flip)|
|oneplus||December 2021 (OnePlus 9 Series), March 2022 (OnePlus 8 Series)|
|Sony||March 2022 (1 III, 5 III, Pro-I)|
|Xiaomi||February-March 2022 (M11 Series)|
Historically, Android smartphones have been supported for only 18 months from the date of manufacture. The biggest reason for this was the sheer level of fragmentation of the Android ecosystem – the different screen sizes, processors, RAM and storage space meant that not every smartphone would have the firepower to run the latest version of Android. Also, smartphone makers would have to optimize the software for each model, which was not worth their time.
This is in stark contrast to Apple, which releases five models per year, over which it maintains complete hardware and software control, allowing the company to support the devices for years. The iPhone 6s, which was released long ago in 2015, will be discontinued from OS support after seven years this September.
However, that is starting to change, with Android smartphone makers starting to catch up. By 2021, Samsung has promised to support its lineup of Galaxy S smartphones for three years, and other companies have followed suit. In May last year, Oppo had also said that it would support its flagship phones for three years, extending it to four years and for a wider range of devices.
Xiaomi also committed to three years of OS updates and four years of security updates for its Mi 11T series smartphones (Mi 11T and 11T Pro). In a press release, the company hinted at broader device support in the future. Vivo and OnePlus have also committed to years of software support for their existing range of smartphones.
What is Android One?
The Android One program was launched by Google so that smartphones remain on the latest version of the OS which is free of custom skins, bloatware – “Stock Android”. Phones that are part of the Android One program are guaranteed to be up to date for two years after release.
(Edit: Abhishek Jha)
First published: May 06, 2022, 05:20 PM IST