Today, Google announced that Android 13 is coming to Android TV OS. This most recent update includes additional performance and accessibility enhancements that will assist TV app developers in creating interesting applications for the next generation of televisions. This announcement comes just weeks after the launch of the Chromecast w/Google TV that debuted with Android 12. Shortly thereafter, the 4K version of the Google TV Chromecast received an update to Android 12. To clarify, this update is the last for the Android 13 TV OS build that developers use for testing. It could be some time before we actually see Android 13 rollout to consumer-facing devices.
Android 13 introduces new application programming interfaces (APIs) for the large screen, which will assist developers in providing users with high-quality experiences regardless of the type of device they are using. Because of recent enhancements to the “AudioManager” API, developers are now able to anticipate which audio attributes will be supported by the active audio device and select the most appropriate format before playback has even begun.
Additionally, users now have the ability to adjust the default resolution and refresh rate on supported HDMI, which results in a much more enjoyable playback experience. Also, HDMI state changes will now be accessible to apps, which means that TV dongles and other HDMI source devices can pause content and preserve power in response to changes in the HDMI state.
To address accessibility, Android 13 on Android TV OS will also introduce new features that make it easier to adapt to different ways of interacting with TV. For example, a variety of keyboard layouts will now be supported, and game developers will have the option to support these various layouts by referencing keys based on their specific physical locations on the keyboard. Apps will also be able to query the newly implemented system-wide audio preference setting thanks to a newly created audio descriptions API. This will assist developers in automatically providing audio descriptions that conform to a user’s preferences.
This new release is available for ADT-3 as well as the Android TV emulator. Devs will also have the option of testing on either the Google TV or regular Android TV interface as needed. This launch begins a new era of exciting apps that developers can now build to provide users with the best TV viewing experience. I am very excited to see many of these innovative apps arrive on my Google TV dongle, particularly the support for different keyboard layouts.