Google’s beta programs may be difficult to navigate for those not following closely. Currently, the company is testing the upcoming Android 14 in its developer preview phase, while also conducting Android 13 betas to test its quarterly Pixel Feature Drops. With the March Feature Drop already available to users, Google has launched its Quarterly Platform Release 3 (QPR3) beta for Android 13 on March 15th, which includes several new features.
Below, we’ll go over everything new in the Android 13 beta.
A smoother app drawer
Google has introduced a new feature in Android 13 QPR3 that allows for the automatic display of the keyboard when opening the app drawer, enabling users to immediately initiate a search. However, some users have noted that the keyboard and app drawer animation speeds do not match, resulting in a disjointed experience. To address this issue, Google has released a fix in Android 13 QPR3 that ensures both elements move at the same speed, providing a more seamless and satisfying user experience. While this may appear to be a minor change, it can make a significant difference in enhancing the overall usability of the platform.
Minor adjustments to design
According to independent analysis, the transient taskbar for tablets and foldables has returned in Android 13 QPR3. This feature hides the taskbar when it’s not in use, and it reappears when you swipe up from the bottom. It was previously included in QPR2 Beta 2 but was later removed. However, users can only access this feature when their device’s DPI is set to 600 or higher and when using gesture navigation rather than buttons. Another change introduced in Android 14 DP2 is the full-screen view of the wallpaper preview, making it easier to determine whether or not the new wallpaper is desirable.
In Android 13 QPR3, there are several changes to enhance the user experience. One of the most noticeable updates is the option to automatically display the keyboard when opening the app drawer to jump right into search. Additionally, the weather report and smart space in the top left corner of the home and lock screen on Pixel phones have been decoupled, allowing users to disable the weather card on the lock screen. The battery percentage is also back in the notification shade, making it more convenient for users to see hard numbers rather than a time-based estimate. Lastly, the transient taskbar for tablets and foldables has made a comeback, disappearing automatically when users don’t interact with it.
Pixel Launcher may receive new popup menus
Google has made some tweaks to the launcher that provide a more aesthetically pleasing experience. For instance, the menu that appears when an app icon is long-pressed has been redesigned. To differentiate between the various available sections, the redesign includes three separate boxes: one containing app info, widgets, and other administrative options; another containing in-app shortcuts; and a third containing notifications. Additionally, the opening animation has been altered, with the menu now flying in directly from the pressed icon and bouncing back slightly upon reaching its desired size. While these changes are also available in Android 14 DP2, they are hidden in both versions and require hidden developer flags to be activated.
More tweaks in the Android 13 beta
There are several additional changes that are noteworthy and deserve attention:
- Android 13 QPR3 Beta 1 includes groundwork for personalized lock screen shortcuts, enabling users to choose from a few predetermined alternatives besides smart home controls and wallet functionality.
- The latest update incorporates code for customizable emoji backgrounds; however, similar to Android 14 DP2, this feature is not enabled by default at the moment.
- Additionally, some Reddit users observed that colors seem more vibrant and deeper on QPR3, which is especially appealing when using an app in dark mode. Unfortunately, this might merely be a glitch, as explained by 9to5Google.
Join the beta
If you wish to experience the changes mentioned in the article, you can enroll in Google’s beta program. However, it is important to note that while updating to the beta is simple, returning to a stable build requires a complete reset of your device, so you should proceed with caution. It is advisable to wait for the stable build to be released if you don’t want to lose any data.
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