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Android 13 begins rolling out to Google TV developers

Android 13 promotional graphic distributd by Google and Android Open Source Project
(Image courtesy Google/Android Open Source Project, Graphic by The Desk)

The next version of the Android operating system has started rolling out to developers of Android TV and Google TV, according to a developer note published this week.

The new version, Android 13, has been offered to those with an ADT-4 compatible developer dongle or streaming TV gadget since February 1. The rollout was first noticed by Ben Schoon at tech publication 9to5Google on Tuesday.

Many supported devices currently run Android 12, the previous generation of the Android TV operating system. The differences between Android 12 and Android 13 are marginal for the television space: Both offer access to the next-generation Google TV user interface, which collates streaming TV apps and recommended movies and TV shows from a single screen.

According to the Android Developers note published last week, Android 13 brings only a handful of improvements compared to the previous generation, most of which affect a device’s behind-the-scenes operation and won’t be readily apparent to streaming TV users.

Those improvements include an update to audio tracks and codecs that are supported by Android 13; the ability to set a preferred resolution and refresh rates on supported HDMI devices like the Chromecast with Google TV; updated controls for the Google Assistant microphone on streaming TV remote controls; new keyboard layouts  and better handling of changes impacting HDMI inputs on some TV sets.

While the transition from Android 12 to Android 13 won’t bring a significant amount of new user interface changes, users should still upgrade when prompted, since newer versions of the Android operating system tend to fix known bugs and deliver much-needed security updates.

Google hasn’t released a timetable on when Android 13 will be ready for consumer devices, but the update could land on the Chromecast with Google TV, the TiVo Stream 4K, the Nvidia Shield and similar devices over the coming months.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).