On day two of Google I/O, Google has held a session for Android TV, where it went into detail about Android TV 13. Google launched the first beta for Android TV 13 earlier this month, so now it’s good to see what is actually new here.
With Android TV 13, Google is focusing mainly on three areas. That includes performance, accessibility and multitasking. Let’s start with performance. Google is using new APIs that will help apps work better with actual TV hardware. There’s an “AudioManager” API that will allow apps to better anticipate where audio is heading and what playback modes are available. There’s also the “MediaSession” API which allows for Android TV apps to better react to HDMI state changes to pause content or save power.
For accessibility, Android TV 13 is bringing new keyboard layouts for the InputDevice API. This is an API that allows for physical keyboards to better work with Android TV apps. That should be helpful for game developers, specifically. There is also a new system-wide selection that enables audio descriptions across all apps too.
Google is also improving picture-in-picture for Android TV
Android TV 13 is getting basically one major user-facing feature, which is fine. Improve the backend and make it snappier is always a good thing. But with Android TV 13, Google is expanding PiP support for more apps. With Android TV 13 you’ll be able to use video calling apps like Zoom or Google Meet and keep the video in the corner while still watching TV. This is thanks to the new “KeepClear” API that ensures that the PiP window will never cover the most important content on the screen.
Users can still change the size of the PiP window as well.
Currently, the Android TV 13 beta is only available on the ADT-3 developer device. As for when other Android TV devices will get the update, who knows. The Chromecast with Google TV will likely be first, when it launches later this year. We’d expect fall is when we’ll see a stable version of Android TV 13.