It’s definitely an interesting time of year, as we have some new phones to play with, and more on the way over the next couple of months. But between all that, Google went ahead and surprised everyone by releasing Android 13 earlier this month.
We originally expected the final version of Android 13 to accompany the official launch of Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, and Pixel Watch. Fortunately, Google decided that Pixel owners weren’t going to have to wait any longer, giving us a new version of Android “sooner” than what we’ve grown accustomed to.
Not much has changed, aesthetically
You’d probably be hard pressed to tell the difference between Android 12 and Android 13. Last year’s release was groundbreaking in many ways, with the introduction of Material You. This is an attempt to make theming on your phone easier and more consistent, without needing to worry about what’s going on with third-party launchers or finding a good icon pack.
And as someone who really ditched third-party launchers after my switch to foldable phones, it was definitely a step in the right direction. Instead of implementing a whole new interface overhaul, Google did the right thing with Android 13 and simply expanded what it already had to offer.
There are more colors to choose from, with a total of 36 color combinations, depending on your choice of wallpaper, of course. But you already knew all that, so why am I talking more about the theme?
Well, to be completely honest, there really isn’t much to write home about the look and feel. Android 13 is the same as Android 12, but let’s dig a little deeper into why that’s not a bad thing.
It’s (mainly) a question of optimization
Google unveiled its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, with Android 12, on October 19, 2021, during the company’s Pixel Fall Launch event. And even before the phones were released, Pixel fans ran into frustrating issues, as pre-ordering either device was next to impossible.
After the actual release of the phones, it hasn’t really improved, and there’s certainly an argument to be made that it has gotten much worse. Phone calls were automatically rejected, an update in March worsened haptic feedback, and there were a plethora of connectivity issues plaguing users. The list goes on and on, and of course, includes the unresponsive fingerprint scanner and the head-scratching bug that made it impossible for some users to even make an emergency call to 911.
For the most part, Google has responded well to most of the bugs that Pixel 6 and 6 Pro owners have had to deal with. Later security patches or “Feature Drops” aim to fix issues, while others are fixed with an update to Play Services or the app. And that brings us to a sentiment that seems to be shared by more than a few others who live in “the tech space.”
I think pixel devices are the only devices that get better over time.August 22, 2022
It’s an interesting thought when you sit down and look at the rest of the phones on the market. There are a few exceptions to this rule, as Samsung does a pretty decent job of backporting some features introduced with a new build. For example, the company has already confirmed that the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 taskbar will be coming to Galaxy Z Fold 3 owners.
So, from the Pixel 6’s perspective, you get monthly security patches, new features (big or small) on a quarterly basis, and then the next major Android release before starting the cycle all over again. But what makes Android 13 so great is that it really made my Pixel 6 Pro feel like new, even without needing to completely wipe the phone to “remove all cobwebs”.
There are still frustrations
The biggest frustration I encountered, aside from the battle between my right fingerprint and the Pixel 6 Pro’s fingerprint scanner, was battery life.
Before jumping onto the Android 13 developer preview and later beta, I was able to get through a day, for the most part, before I reached for my charger. Then, switching to pre-release software felt like I was picking up the Galaxy Z Fold 3 on a daily basis, barely getting to the end of the day if I was lucky.
But with the public release of Android 13 in tow, it’s mostly an entirely different experience. Whether I’m browsing Twitter and Reddit all day, or downloading a bunch of open-source apps that look interesting, the Pixel 6 Pro really hasn’t let me down. Part of it has to do with how I use my phone, but it also shows that Google’s optimizations are definitely working.
There was an incident that happened over the past week that still has me scratching my head. I was on my back porch assembling my new gas grill, and the Pixel 6 Pro had between 70 and 75 percent battery. When I returned, about two hours later, the Pixel 6 Pro was not only down to around 25%, but it was also warm to the touch.
Mind you, I was connected to Wi-Fi, had no music or videos playing, and it stayed in my pocket the whole time. I really hope it was just a “bad day” for my Pixel, but it left me wondering what in the world happened.
As for the fingerprint scanner, it seems that my right fingerprint is not allowed to work properly on the Pixel 6 Pro. I’ve installed all the updates, reset everything, restored everything, registered multiple fingerprints, and still can’t put my thumb on the screen to unlock it.
Considering I’m right-handed, it’s safe to say that this drove me absolutely insane, and it made me miss the rear-mounted fingerprint reader more than ever.
There’s more than meets the eye
It’s very obvious that Android 13 is more of an iterative update than anything else. You could go so far as to say that’s what Android 12 really should have been, but that’s just not the way Google rolls it. And to be completely honest, Google didn’t need to try to reinvent the cogs or shake up the foundations of what Android is capable of – it already has.
You might have come this far and wondering why I haven’t talked about the “ins and outs” of what Android 13 brings. are quite a few more features than I’ve touched on, such as the new media player widget which adds a bit of fun and, more importantly, brings back some important controls. There are also per-app language settings you can change, and even improvements to how Android handles app notifications.
That’s kind of the point, isn’t it? It’s arguably Google’s most stable version of Android, and aside from a few weird quirks, my Pixel 6 Pro runs better than it did a year ago. Google’s Tensor chip still tracks pretty much anything you could or would like to do. The camera system is still as good as it’s ever been, and Google’s best phone is much better than some experts might suggest.
It’s very possible that this sentiment will change with the release of the Pixel 7 series, but I doubt it. It’s also likely that my feelings about stability will eventually be reversed after the first Android 14 developer preview arrives. But for now, I’m just going to enjoy my Pixel 6 Pro and a more stable version of Android. .
#Android #boring #perfect