Android 13 might revamp screen savers with info overlays

Android 13 might revamp screen savers with info overlays

Google released the second Developer Preview of Android 13 last week, which contained plenty of changes and new features — some of which aren’t quite ready for prime time yet. The update includes code that points to a future revamp for Android’s built-in screen savers, which could arrive in later beta releases or the final version of Android 13.

Android has supported screen savers for years, though they aren’t necessary (or really useful at all) on most mobile devices. However, there are some changes in Android 13 specifically focused on desktop PCs, and a renewed focus on screen savers could be part of that effort. Android 13 reportedly contains new classes in its codebase for ‘complications,’ which seem to be pieces of data overlayed on top of the screen saver.

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Android 13 screen savers

Source: Mishaal Rahman

Google’s software platform for smartwatches, Wear OS, also has small info panels called ‘complications.’ They’ll likely serve the same purpose here, with Android 13 currently including code for complications related to air quality, “cast info” (presumably Chromecast), date, time, and weather.

The new screen saver code could be related to Android 13's improved desktop support

The new screen saver code could be related to Android 13’s improved desktop support, but it could also help unify Android’s many code bases. For example, if Android itself can generate photo wallpaper screen savers with weather info and other data visible, Google wouldn’t have to build a different version for Android TV and Google TV.

Android 13 Developer Preview 2 also adds runtime permissions for app notifications, improved Japanese text wrapping, a new Text Conversion API for languages like Japanese, COLR fonts, MIDI 2.0, Bluetooth LE Audio, and other changes. Check out our main Android 13 Developer Preview 2 coverage for more information and the download links for Pixel devices.

Google is expected to release the first Android 13 Beta sometime in April, with a stable release arriving sometime after July. Android 12 arrived in October of last year, and Android 11 was released in September 2020, so the schedule for Android 13 will likely follow the same pattern.

Source: Esper, Mishaal Rahman (Twitter)

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer. Check out what he's up to at corbin.io.

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