Android TV powers many different smart TVs, cable boxes, and some of the best streaming devices, and a customized version called Google TV has appeared on some devices. Google has now shared more information about the next major update, Android TV 13.
Google already released an initial beta of Android TV 13 earlier this month, but it wasn’t clear at the time what was actually new. Now we have a better idea of what’s coming to Android on TVs, as part of the Google I/O event happening this week. Most of the changes are new APIs and features for developers to use when creating applications, such as support for more keyboard layouts and responding to HDMI input changes (e.g. Netflix on a Chromecast with Google TV could pause your show if you switched the TV input).
Just like with Android on phones and tablets, some apps can move their video content to a floating window in the corner of the screen when you go home or switch to another app. Picture-in-Picture mode has been available on Android TV for a while, but the Android 13 update will introduce more options. Google said in an announcement, “Picture in picture on the TV supports an expanded mode to show more videos from a group call, a docked mode to avoid overlaying content on other apps, and a keep-clear API to prevent overlays from concealing important content in full-screen apps.”
It’s not clear yet when Android TV 13 will roll out to TVs and streaming devices, but Android TV update rollouts have historically been slow — usually because they are relatively minor (most of the features can be updated without OS upgrades). Google released Android TV 12 back in November, but there aren’t any TVs or streaming devices with the update yet. Even the company’s own Chromecast with Google TV is still running Android TV 11.
The Android 13 Beta is available to download on Google’s ADT-3 developer kit.