14th Mar 2022

Android 13 – Developer Preview 1

Mobile App

Written By, Yagnik Vadgama

Overview

Hello folks, hope you are doing well. Android has come up with a new android version that is Android 13 (Developers Preview 1). Currently this is available for developers but let’s have a look at it and see what’s new in android 13.

 

Here is the list of new things that have been introduced in android 13.

  • Photo picker API
  • Nearby device permission for wifi
  • Quick setting placement API
  • Theme App Icon
  • Pre-app language preference
  • Faster Hibernation
  • Programmable shaders 
  • OpenJDK 11 updates
  • App updates through Google Play
  • Optimising for tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks
  • Easier testing and debugging of changes
  • Android 13 stability milestone

Okay so let’s start by exploring each changes one by one

Privacy and security

In current times users want to be safe from outer threats like hacking, data leaks. Since Android 12 the android is making a more secure environment for users to keep their data safe.

In Android 13 google has introduced 2 new features that are

  • Photo picker API
  • Nearby device permission for wifi

So let’s have a look at it.

Photo Picker API

This feature is beneficial for both users and developers. The main benefit of users is that android 13 has inbuilt support to pick their local or cloud photos and video to share over other apps. The reason that it is beneficial for users is that their data (photo and video) is secure from other threats. As generally for photo and video picker developers using third party libraries because android does not have any inbuilt photo or video picker at least before android 13 but now android has come up with this feature. And the benefit for developers is that applications can use photo or  video pickers without needing permission so developers don’t have to manage permissions.

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Nearby Share Device Permission for wifi

This is another cool feature or can say secure feature for apps. Now apps can connect over wifi without asking for location. Before Android 13 the location permission was required to connect apps with wifi but it wasn’t actually needed. So now apps can connect by wifi and this can be done by NEARBY_WIFI_DEVICES  (instead of neverForLocation flag) and it is part of the NEARBY_DEVICE permission group.

Productivity

Android 13 has also made developers’ work easy with this. Developers can be more productive and overcome developers’ headaches by implementing new android API’s.

Quick setting placement API

 Now users can change the setting in the notification shade by using Quick Setting without leaving their current context of the app. This feature can be used with apps that have custom tiles. The app’s tiles can be added to quick settings so users can change their setting by their needs without switching over other apps or leaving their current apps.

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Theme App Icon

You are aware about Material You and its features but if you don’t then click on the link. Okay so now another cool feature for Android. Android 13 has come up with  Theme App Icon so the device that will run on android 13 and the apps that are targeting android 13, then app Icon can be changed as per the device scenario. For example if Dark Theme is enabled the App Icon Tile will be the darker colour.

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If the Light Theme is enabled the App Icon Tile will be lighter colour. (colours are auto adaptive from wallpaper) Something like.

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If users don’t like this feature and want a traditional android look then this feature can also be turned off and the look will be our traditional android.

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Now how to implement this feature right?

So to apply this feature in an app just use monochromatic app icon and adaptive icon xml. Now that is a cool feature isn’t it?

Pre-App Language Preference

Sometimes users need a different language from the system language (system in the since Android OS) and most of the apps are offering multi language support means the app asks the user which language to be shown in app content. So to overcome this and make compatibility with android OS Android 13 has introduced Pre- App Language Preference and this can be done implementing New Platform API . This also helps developers to overcome boilerplate code and reduce development time.

Faster Hyphenation

In Android 13 hyphenation is faster then older versions. The question is: What is Hyphenation? In simple words Hyphenation is a process in which wrapped text eases to read and makes UI more adaptive. Now you can enable it to your textviews with fillFast or normalFast frequencies in setHyphenationFrequency().

 

Programmable Shaders

Now in Android 13 new RuntimeShaders object is added. In this the behaviour defines using AGSl (Android Graphics Shading Language). Android internally uses this feature to implement ripple effect blur and stretch over-scroll. The AGSI and GLSL syntax is much similar because AGSL shares much of their syntax with GLSL. and it works with an android rendering engine to customise painting in canvas and filtering the view content of the device screen.

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AGSL animated shader, adapted from this GLSL Shader

OpenJDK 11 Update

In android 13 the google developers is updating android’s view library to the latest OpenJDK 11 release. And google is planning to bring this change within google play updates. (for those device who is running on android 12 or higher)

App Compatibility

With each new android version is getting faster, smoother and making the android SDK more compostable with apps. In this new version google has updated their tools and processes.

Apps updates through Google Play

Now in android 13 google developers want apps more secure, compatible and more smoother with attractive features as well as UI. So in the older version google will push updates in which they include Photo Picker API, OpenJDK 11. And also Android 13 has new modules, like Ultra Wideband.

Optimising for Tablets , Foldables and Chromebooks

In this new android version the development application for Tablets, Foldable Phones and Chromebook became easy with fully adaptive design.

To learn more about that check out their official documentation optimising for tablets , build for large screen and develop apps for foldables.

Easiest Testing and Debugging of Changes

Google makes it easy to test and debug the applications they have given toggles in the developer options to force enable or disable some changes which are needed at the time of testing or debugging. But this only works in SDK VERSION 32 and above (Android 13).

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Android 13 stability milestone

Same as in Android 12 the google will release this newer version of android in 3 steps first is  Developer Preview which is at current. Second is in Beta version  which will come after a month and Third is Final Release which is ready to get updates in devices.

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Want to Start with Android 13?

  • For testing apps in android 13 you can use Android Studio Emulator and if you want to test it in physical device then you must have one of this mobiles Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 4a, Pixel 4 XL, or Pixel 4 with flashing a system image.
  • When you are done with these you must keep in mind these things.
    • Try the new features and APIs 
      • Add new features (Android 13 features) and give feedback to google developers so that they can make more improvements in these new versions as well as upcoming versions.
    • Test your current app for compatibility 
      • Firstly check that your app is having any wired behaviour in Android 13 and make it properly compatible so users can enjoy their content in apps.
    • Test your app with opt-in changes
      • Android 13 has opt-in behaviour so it makes it easy to test apps for developers and test your app also to see that after integrating android 13 your app is affected or not. It is good to understand the changes early.

Conclusion

So, that’s all about android 13 developer preview. One more thing to keep in mind is Developer Preview is not the final  release so it is not stable and may contain bugs. It is not for daily or consumer use, this is only for developers. And Android 13 Beta is not available yet

Written By,

Android Developer at Yudiz Solutions Pvt. Ltd