Android 13 QPR1 Beta 1 rolls out with unexpected information

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After the stable release of Android 13, Google will continue Quarterly Platform Releases (QPR) to update the platform with fixes and improvements on a quarterly basis.much like Android 12. Unlike previews and developer betas, QPR builds are safe for general use and include “the next round of bug fixes and stability and performance improvements”, as well as user-facing features that are normally rolled out to Pixel devices as part of Feature Drops. Beta 1 (builds T1B1.220819.006 and T1B1.220819.007 on Pixel 6a) addresses the following issues:

Issues reported by developers
• Fixed an issue for some devices that incorrectly caused a user’s emergency contact to be dialed from the lock screen when the device was in their pocket. (Number #233159557)

Other fixed issues
• Fixed various issues for Pixel 6a devices that made it difficult for users to unlock their device or set up fingerprint unlock.
• Fixed an issue that caused the system UI to crash in some cases, such as gesturing from the edge of the screen to go back.
• Fixed an issue that sometimes caused the 5G icon to be displayed instead of the 5G UW icon, even when the affected device was already successfully connected to a 5G UW network.

Source: Android Developers

As for new features and/or tweaks that have been spotted on this beta since its rollout began yesterday, here are the most notable:

First signs of spatial audio

The Pixel Buds Pro launched with the promise of gaining spatial audio in a feature update. Although to date we’ve seen a few firmware updates on the headphones, there’s been no sign of Spatial Audio being enabled – so far. The setting to enable this feature now appears in Settings > Sound & vibration, which has an option to enable spatial audio for wired headphones. There is also an option to enable the feature for Bluetooth headphones in the individual device settings.

Although 9to5Google says the feature doesn’t really work because Android apps need to be updated, I wanted to try it myself using the Pixel Buds Pro and the Hulu app on my Pixel. I’m no audio expert, but I could tell there was a significant change in quality when I had the feature on, and I even noticed a “surround sound” of crashing waves and the wind blowing while watching the show “Alone”, which I happen to be obsessed with lately. Now, like I said, I’m not very aware of this and I’m just wrong about what my ears are telling me, so I could be completely off base.

Quick Settings tile animations

Several Quick Settings tiles, such as “Do Not Disturb” and “Battery Saver”, now feature a neat animation with their icons. It’s a minor update, but a nice touch.

Confirming a dockable Pixel tablet

From the time the next Pixel tablet was teased at I/O earlier this year, rumors swirled that this tablet could function more like a Nest Hub. In an APK teardown by 9to5Google, animations of how this will work were spotted.

More details about Face Unlock for Pixel 6 Pro

Pieces of evidence have been found indicating that the Pixel 6 Pro has been gaining Face Unlock for months now. However, since the Pixel 6 Pro lacks the hardware to make Face Unlock work the same as the Pixel 4, it is expected that a less secure form of this feature will be available using the front camera. Unfortunately, we were all waiting for this feature to appear with every feature release, but no sign so far.

In another APK teardown by 9to5Google, several strings were found describing how the feature is supposed to work. These strings describe the capabilities of the feature by stating things like “Face Unlock works best when there’s enough light and you’re not wearing a mask or dark glasses” and “If you normally wear glasses, you can wear them during setup”.

Additionally, as shown below, an animation was found illustrating how to set it up, prompting the user to “hold your phone at eye level” to start the scanning process.

Three betas of Android 13 QPR1 are planned, with a stable release expected in December. If you wish to participate, Beta 1 can be installed live on Pixels 4a, 4a (5G), 5, 5a, 6, 6 Pro and 6a by registering your device on the Android Beta Program for Pixel. Once registered, after a few minutes you can update by going to Settings > System > System update > Check for updates.

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