Android 13 arrives, Pixel 7 hits FCC, more

In this week’s top stories: Google releases Android 13 for its phones, Pixel 6 owners are unable to downgrade back to Android 12, Pixel 7 moves closer to launch with FCC approval, and more.

After months of beta testing, this week Google released Android 13, which may not feel too terribly different for those on the Pixel series. Android 13 does a variety of minor things like update the media player, introduce support for Bluetooth LE Audio, and build upon the monochrome launcher icons introduced in Pixel Launcher last year.

Android 13 [also] continues Google’s work on optimizing the operating system for tablets and foldables. The taskbar now features application suggestions and a drawer to quickly access all your apps and open them in split-screen mode via drag and drop. In fact, multi-window mode is now enabled by default for all apps. However, those who haven’t been updated can benefit from letterboxing compatibility mode.

One particularly notable aspect of the Android 13 update is that it includes a major security update for owners of the Pixel 6 series. Unfortunately, Google considers this issue severe enough that it is actually impossible to downgrade back to Android 12 after you’ve taken the update. Google has offered some additional details for those who like to mod their Android devices.

This is an unusual move on Google’s part, but the reason for the change is a new bootloader update that “increments the anti-roll back version.” Google has implemented this security measure in Android for several years now, generally to prevent exploits from older software versions from being implemented on devices.

In other Pixel news, it seems Google’s fall hardware event is getting closer to reality, as the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro arrived at the FCC. The new public listings tell us that, just like last year, Google is including UWB connectivity, but only on the Pixel 7 Pro. Both phones should also be available in models with and without mmWave 5G.

We believe the Pixel 7 Pro is GP4BC with just Sub-6 connectivity, while GE2AE (which also includes GFE4J in the FCC listing of the e-label) has mmWave. These two listings tout the presence of ultra-wide band (UWB), with Google keeping that feature for the Pro phone another year. So far, Google is using UWB for “accurate ranging and spatial orientation” with Nearby Share and later digital car keys.

Over the course of the past week, Samsung has been steadily decreasing its trade-in value quotes for customers looking to upgrade from the Galaxy Z Flip 3 to the Z Flip 4. Where any of the phone’s three models — 128GB, 256GB, and Bespoke — would originally net you a $900 trade-in, they’re now worth $700, $800, and $900 respectively.

While credits for future Galaxy Z Flip 3 trade-ins appear to have been lowered, the change does notes appear to be happening retroactively. At least one user confirmed that their order is still showing the full $900 credit on a 128GB trade-in.

We also exclusively reported this week that Google’s latest pathway to introducing face unlock for the Pixel 6 series — and possibly even the Pixel 7 — involves using your fingerprint. From what we’ve been told, if your face is sufficiently recognized by the camera, your Pixel will accept a less confident — and therefore much faster — fingerprint scan.

However, it begs the question whether Google should just use a better under-display fingerprint sensor? This new approach is not really face unlock in the way most people imagine it if you still have to position your finger on the screen. If anything, this approach is more in service of the Pixel 6’s below average fingerprint recognition speed with its under-display sensor compared to other devices, such as the Galaxy S22 series and other flagship Android devices.

The rest of this week’s top stories follow:

Android 13 |

Apps & Updates |

Chrome / OS |

Made by Google |

Samsung |

Videos |

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