It’s impossible to be an Android fan right now and not be excited about the progress being made on Android 13. We just received our first Beta at the end of April, and with Google I/O starting in just a few days, we can almost guarantee we’ll hear about a lot of cool new functionality that’s on the way. But, so far, the Android 13 conversation has been dominated by talk about what it means for mobile devices like phones and tablets, and it’s easy to overlook the full range of product types it touches — including Android TV. Google released Android 13 Beta 1 for Android TV this week, giving developers their first look at the updated platform.
We haven’t heard much about Android 13 changes that will have a significant impact on Android TV, but there are a few. One interesting addition appears to be support for varying content aspect ratios when viewing picture-in-picture windows — not a game changer, but the kind of polish we appreciate seeing.
Another, potentially more significant change in Android 13 on Android TV is the addition of a new low-power mode, which could reduce energy and bandwidth usage when devices are in standby mode.
Unfortunately, unlike the Android 13 Beta 1 releases, which can be installed on any modern Pixel phone, testing this Android TV edition is a little more difficult, and chances are you don’t have the necessary hardware. Outside of an emulator, your only option right now is Google’s ADT-3 dev box, as we saw with the Android 12 Beta.
Mishaal Rahman, an Android expert, got the new release up and running, but it appears that neither the new PiP experience nor the low-power mode are currently present — we’ll presumably have to wait for a future build, assuming Google moves forward with them.
That’s understandably frustrating, so please bear with us as we wait a few more months for a public release — and hopefully, updates for your existing Android TV hardware.