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The Android 13 teaser episode
Episode 2Bonus Episode26th January 2022 • Android Bytes (powered by Esper) • Esper.io
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On this bonus episode of Android Bytes, David and Mishaal discuss some of the upcoming features in the Android 13 platform. Yes, the one that isn't announced yet.

Transcripts

Mishaal:

So just for some context, as you may know, Google

Mishaal:

released Android 12 in October.

Mishaal:

They released the source code first on October 4th, and then the stable

Mishaal:

update per pixel phone or 19th.

Mishaal:

So we're right off the release of one major Android operating system update.

Mishaal:

And we're not expecting another major update until early 2022.

Mishaal:

When Google were release Android 12.

Mishaal:

And it's kind of arguable whether or not that's actually going to be a major

Mishaal:

update because for most devices, it's not going to be, it's targeted more

Mishaal:

at foldables and large screen devices like tablets, but the update that

Mishaal:

everyone who owns a smartphone, an Android smartphone will look forward

Mishaal:

to is Android 13 in late 20, 22.

Mishaal:

Most likely around September, October, if Google follows.

Mishaal:

They're pattern.

Mishaal:

I don't think, you know, we delayed like Andrew 12 hours by a month

Mishaal:

because I, I don't foresee them making any major UI overhauls like

Mishaal:

they did with 12, for Android 13.

Mishaal:

We're still many, many months away from enter 13 regardless, but despite

Mishaal:

that there have been a series of leaks and ongoing AOSP code changes that

Mishaal:

reveal some interesting information about the next Android update.

Mishaal:

Except for release late next year.

David:

Yeah.

David:

And I think that we can kind of, you know, go from there.

David:

I think that we've got most people that are going to show

David:

up from our side, at least.

David:

Where do you think we should start?

David:

Mishaal?

David:

What are some of the the big items that 13 seems to be focusing on.

Mishaal:

So one of the most significant changes that users should look

Mishaal:

forward to is the new app languages.

Mishaal:

And that feature is code name Penn lingual, because the idea is that

Mishaal:

currently in Android you can set one system language and the languages and

Mishaal:

input settings, and that language is what's applied system-wide across settings

Mishaal:

interface across the quick settings panel, and most applications will address.

Mishaal:

That language the language that you set in settings, some applications

Mishaal:

do provide their own in-app language settings, but it's not very common.

Mishaal:

And the downside of that is say your a, you know, you speak multiple

Mishaal:

languages or your native tongues in English, but some applications

Mishaal:

don't have very good translations to your local tongue right now.

Mishaal:

And Andrew.

Mishaal:

You basically have to deal with a really bad translation for that app.

Mishaal:

While you set your system language to say your native tongue maybe

Mishaal:

might be like Italian or something.

Mishaal:

But an Android 13, what Google is doing is they're adding any new app

Mishaal:

language feature that will let you set the language on a per app basis.

Mishaal:

The application itself still needs to support that language.

Mishaal:

It needs to have the strings that are translated to that language, but this

Mishaal:

will make it so you don't have to choose one language for the majority of apps.

Mishaal:

You can pick your preferred language for each application that you want to.

David:

Now I know that there's some things the Google's been doing

David:

on the developer side for Android apps around languages in terms of

David:

split it or excuse me app bundles.

David:

So is there any impact here?

David:

The developers should be aware of because I know that developers,

David:

for example, can specify like, Hey, you know, like if my users.

David:

Uses us English only download us English asset pack.

David:

Versus, you know, whereas before, you know, a developer might put all

David:

of their like international language assets and the version of an app

David:

because they needed all of it.

David:

It became bundles.

David:

Let them split that up now with pan lingual.

David:

Will we see, you know, Google leveraging that ability to dynamically generate,

David:

you know, APKs with mulch files, like, is that going to be part of.

Mishaal:

That's an interesting thought.

Mishaal:

Right now, depending on the language that you have and depending on whether or not

Mishaal:

the app support that bundles, whenever you go to download an app from the play

Mishaal:

store, it does download the base APK, the.

Mishaal:

The N a series of splits based on your architecture and your

Mishaal:

screen layout and your language.

Mishaal:

But this app language feature is something that you said

Mishaal:

after you've installed the app.

Mishaal:

So what may end up happening is that after you install the app, and then you change

Mishaal:

the language for that, The play store will recognize that the configuration for that

Mishaal:

app has changed and will inmate download the additional split for that language?

Mishaal:

We don't know.

Mishaal:

We don't have specific details on how this works because we don't have, you

Mishaal:

know, the source code for Android 13 or the documentation for this feature.

Mishaal:

But that's how I think it might address.

David:

Yeah.

David:

And multi language support is something that Google has is, you know, it's

David:

not something we think of as much in America, obviously, but it's an

David:

extremely important feature of the platform given its global reach.

David:

And I bet this has been high on the list for people as a

David:

requested feature for a long time.

Mishaal:

Oh yeah.

Mishaal:

It's definitely something that I've seen many requests for.

Mishaal:

And community developers have come up with like, Android modifications that

Mishaal:

enable this kind of functionality, but the big problem with previous solutions

Mishaal:

is that changing the language on your device is a very heavy process.

Mishaal:

It causes applications to restart it.

Mishaal:

It's, it's pretty slow in itself.

Mishaal:

If you just go to your phone and try to change the language, you'll notice

Mishaal:

it hangs for like 2, 3, 5 seconds, maybe when it's changing the language.

Mishaal:

And it's just not a very.

Mishaal:

Experience right now, if you were to try to take what's happening right now

Mishaal:

and apply that on a per rep basis, every time you load an app that has a different

Mishaal:

language, that it would just hang for like five seconds and that's not good.

Mishaal:

So we don't know exactly how it'll work on Android 13 and I suspect it

Mishaal:

probably won't be a laggy experience because that would just be awful.

Mishaal:

A solution that one of listeners on this call right now, Karen mentioned is

Mishaal:

that the configuration change might be applied only to the app sandbox, so that

Mishaal:

other applications won't be affected

David:

yeah.

David:

And I think that's probably, that's a really good point, you know, switching

David:

system languages, like the heaviness of that process, Google probably just wants

David:

to avoid users ever having to touch that setting to begin with aside from initials.

Mishaal:

Oh, yeah, you'll, you'll set the system language to be your,

Mishaal:

whatever, your preferred languages.

Mishaal:

And then if there's a particular language that you find more comfortable

Mishaal:

in with a particular app, then you'll set that and it will be

Mishaal:

much more user-friendly that way.

Mishaal:

And I'm surprised it's taken Android this long to add this feature, but

Mishaal:

you know, better, late than never.

David:

So what else do we know about the 13 so far?

Mishaal:

So this one the next feature, we are less sure about.

Mishaal:

The original report on XDA developers is not 100% certain that this feature will

Mishaal:

be added, but if it is added in the way it's described, it would be a monumental

Mishaal:

change to the way Acacia work on it.

Mishaal:

So right now, notifications can be posted by after they're installed and they do

Mishaal:

not require any permissions from the user.

Mishaal:

The moment you install an application, it has the ability to post notification.

Mishaal:

And if you've seen advertisements posted on your device, you know, that

Mishaal:

they can get pretty annoying because applications will see the notifications

Mishaal:

panel as a way to just promote themselves or promote their services.

Mishaal:

It's a common way for apps to try to get these to reengage with their application

Mishaal:

if they haven't opened it in a while.

Mishaal:

But in the end, it's just not a very user-friendly experience

Mishaal:

because most users are not going to go into settings and then revoke

Mishaal:

the ability of an application to post notifications after this.

Mishaal:

So what might be changing Andrew 13 is that Google is adding a new runtime

Mishaal:

permission called post notifications and what a runtime notification or what our

Mishaal:

one-time permission is, is a permission that can only be granted by the user

Mishaal:

after the application has been installed.

Mishaal:

And the user has to granted by explicitly tapping allow on the dialogue that

Mishaal:

appears like in the middle of the screen.

Mishaal:

So there's no.

Mishaal:

Trick the user into automatically opting in to notifications.

Mishaal:

They have to explicitly grant the app permission to do that.

Mishaal:

And by doing so that will probably significantly cut down on how many

Mishaal:

apps can abuse notifications for advertisements or spam, et cetera.

David:

This would be a huge change for developers and for users alike.

David:

And I think we've seen.

David:

There's a, there's an interesting dynamic, the advertisements on

David:

Android because it's an advertising company and they're more accepting.

David:

I think, of that than apple historically has been.

David:

And so on iOS notifications, as far as I know, have always been often.

David:

They definitely have been as long as I've been using it.

David:

So I think that that is always been kind of a philosophical disagreement

David:

that may be Google had with apple.

David:

But I have to say that like, This seems like maybe a thing where, you know, in

David:

China, obviously we see manufacturers of Android phones doing all kinds of

David:

crazy things to notifications because a, they don't run GMs and they don't have

David:

to worry about compatibility so much.

David:

And B because the app spam situation in China, because they do not have.

David:

A truly like one size fits all app store.

David:

That's a coalition of app stores and they're all responsible for

David:

gatekeeping their own content.

David:

You can end up with a lot of bad content and also, you know, piracy

David:

and other things exist everywhere.

David:

So you have to look out for.

David:

And I think that we were all confused for so long.

David:

Like why would you want such aggressive notification management on Android?

David:

Why would you want to lock down applications so hard?

David:

And I have to say, I have slowly turned the other direction where I used to

David:

be so against opt-in notifications.

David:

I am now.

David:

I think I am pro opt-in notification because more and more apps that

David:

I use I've started abusing this.

David:

And even on iOS, it's still a problem, you know, but one of the, the things

David:

that developers do or companies, I should say, because I don't think

David:

individual, this is a super cool thing to do these reengagement tactics that

David:

they use in their applications to the notification trays, basically like.

David:

They start to obfuscate like the channels that are going to send you

David:

kind of promotion notifications.

David:

They make it more difficult.

David:

They buried in the settings with Android notification channels.

David:

You do have good control over that, provided the app, respects those

David:

channels and defines them properly.

David:

But on iOS, you know, I, I have apps where.

David:

I can't get rid of notification permissions because I need to

David:

get notifications from that app.

David:

But I also know it's still going to advertise to me.

David:

So this is a problem on all platforms.

David:

And it's interesting to see that Google is moving that direction

David:

because that is, that is a huge switch,

Mishaal:

right?

Mishaal:

Traditionally Google is kind of wary about making everything permission, gated,

Mishaal:

because if you make everything opt in, then users will be much more likely.

Mishaal:

By default grant permission to everything, because if you make it

Mishaal:

annoying for an application to actually do what you installed it to do, then

Mishaal:

you're not going to be giving much thought to these permission prompts.

Mishaal:

So Google wants to add permissions for sensitive features such as access

Mishaal:

to the camera or location, but they don't want to overdo it and make

Mishaal:

people just click allow, allow, allow.

Mishaal:

So.

Mishaal:

It is interesting to see that Google is finally, or may finally be taking

Mishaal:

this approach to notifications because being able to post a notification is one

Mishaal:

of the core functionalities of an app.

Mishaal:

And it's one of the ways that an app, as you said, can, re-engage a user with

Mishaal:

the service app, if they haven't been using it for awhile, but it seems like

Mishaal:

it's gotten to a point where so many applications that have just abused that

Mishaal:

permission, that they've decided to relegate it to a runtime permission.

David:

And I think that, you know, the that's also just kind of an effect, I

David:

think, of the way smartphones are used and what people use them for, you know,

David:

for example, gaming you know, I think the games, you know, if you've ever played

David:

a mobile game, you know, that most games are shameless abusers of notifications.

David:

Their developers are, let's say a little more cutthroat about

David:

re-engagement strategies, then I think most app developers.

David:

And so I think that, you know, probably.

David:

As Android gaming has become more popular, which it has.

David:

You probably do see more and more user complaints basically saying this, you

David:

know, like this game is spamming me or this app is spamming me and probably

David:

Google does get pressure from some developers to be like, Hey, listen, you

David:

know, like I'm getting like, Unfairly review bombed you know, for this behave,

David:

don't understand or that like, you know, either a user doesn't understand

David:

that my app is responsible for sending these notifications or they don't, you

David:

know, understand the way to like, like disengage from them or do turn them off.

David:

So I think that Google does have to consider both directions, but

David:

at the end of the day, Like when I look at the experience on Google

David:

Chrome, like you have to opt in to notifications on a web browser.

David:

And to me it would be insanity if you didn't have to opt in.

David:

And so that's, that's, what's funny to me about this is it's very, like, it's

David:

very personal and it's very context dependent where you want notifications.

David:

And I think that Google moving to an opt-in system is, you know, just

David:

honestly it's respecting that more.

David:

And I think I'm definitely forward at this point.

David:

Like I've convinced my.

David:

And I, we did not start there.

David:

Like probably if you asked me five years ago, it would

David:

have been this isn't terrible.

David:

I would have said this is a terrible idea,

Mishaal:

greed.

Mishaal:

And the next major change that I'm sure many will think is a

Mishaal:

terrible idea, especially if you're a developer, but it's.

Mishaal:

From a user perspective, it's much appreciated is Google's ongoing war on

Mishaal:

background services, and I'm sure many developers absolutely hate the amount of

Mishaal:

restrictions on applications, but from a user's perspective, it is nice to know

Mishaal:

that, you know, something is being done to curb applications that abuse how much

Mishaal:

access they're allowed in the background.

Mishaal:

In terms of permissions in terms of services, they can run because, you know,

Mishaal:

you want your phone to last all day.

Mishaal:

You don't want a phone that day.

Mishaal:

You want something that you can unplug in the morning and last you throughout the

Mishaal:

Workday and maybe a second day without even having to recharge it overnight.

Mishaal:

So the feature that Google is supposedly working on is called terr T a R E,

Mishaal:

which stands for the Android resource.

Mishaal:

So basically right now over the years, Google has been addressing what

Mishaal:

applications can do in the background by changing how they queue tasks.

Mishaal:

So in the early days of Android and application could start a what's

Mishaal:

called a foreground service and they could basically run tasks as

Mishaal:

they pleased whenever they wanted.

Mishaal:

But over the years, Google started to cut down on.

Mishaal:

Foreground services and the ability for apps to start them.

Mishaal:

And right now, if an application wants to start a foreground service they need

Mishaal:

to have a persistent notification, which is, which makes it very obvious that an

Mishaal:

application is running in the background.

Mishaal:

And that basically shames a lot of apps away from that.

Mishaal:

Like right now, if I pull down my notification panel on.

Mishaal:

I see a persistent notification for you, because I always want that app to

Mishaal:

be running because I want it to be able to respond to events in real time, but

Mishaal:

very few applications need to do that.

Mishaal:

And so what Google has come up with our API is like alarm job

Mishaal:

scheduler and work manager.

Mishaal:

Some of these work on AOSP, some of these require a Google play services

Mishaal:

to work, but basically the Google play services or the Android system itself.

Mishaal:

Except jobs from applications and they will, it will decide how to queue them and

Mishaal:

it will run these jobs based on factors.

Mishaal:

Like whenever the device is plugged in, whenever it has

Mishaal:

sufficient battery life, et cetera.

Mishaal:

That's how things work right now and enter 13, it seems like Google will be enhancing

Mishaal:

this concept to basically adjust.

Mishaal:

How many jobs an application can queue.

Mishaal:

Cause right now there's a maximum of 50, that can be cute through these APIs.

Mishaal:

And it seems that the system right now is not very intelligent.

Mishaal:

It just lets applications, queue jobs.

Mishaal:

And then the API APIs you know, the Google play services decide when to

Mishaal:

run them based on like your charge rate, your charge level, et cetera.

Mishaal:

But what the Android research economy will do is it will stop.

Mishaal:

Quote-unquote credits to apps to spend.

Mishaal:

And the total number of credits that the Android recess economy will assign.

Mishaal:

What it's calling the balance will depend on things like the current

Mishaal:

battery level and how many credits are assigned to an app will depend on the

Mishaal:

type of task that the app wants to queue.

Mishaal:

Is what my understanding is of tear.

Mishaal:

So basically if an application wants to queue a task, it

Mishaal:

won't be treated the same.

Mishaal:

As another application that wants to queue another task the Android, which is under

Mishaal:

me, will determine how many tasks can be queued based on the current battery level.

Mishaal:

And it will decide how many tasks a app can queue based

Mishaal:

on how important that task is.

Mishaal:

So like some applications will be able to queue more or have their tasks

Mishaal:

executed earlier than others based on.

Mishaal:

The importance of those tasks.

Mishaal:

So it seems like the way that Android will be executing background tasks will

Mishaal:

be more intelligent and Android 13.

Mishaal:

And in effect that will improve the battery life of your.

David:

So this is, this is another really human for me because you know,

David:

battery life is obviously like, you know, when I go between my iPhone

David:

and my pixel, like the battery life is very noticeably different.

David:

And the, yet I don't want to turn this into the phone right

David:

show, but like my pixel six, like notifications are incredibly delayed.

David:

You know, like that behavior is not actually.

David:

Like performing in the way I would like, and I do wonder you know, on the

David:

Android team's end of things, like this sounds very complex, Michelle, what

David:

you're describing, like a system of like credits, obviously developers, if

David:

they're not like actually exposed and having to think about this very actively.

David:

But the systems handling most of that that's, you know, makes it a

David:

little different, but it feels like.

David:

This is the same story we get from Google every year about battery life, which

David:

is we are going to use heterogeneous processing to do this more efficiently.

David:

We are going to make sure apps respect, like, you know, when they

David:

can schedule jobs and we're going to make this all more efficient and

David:

we're going to use automate herb.

David:

We're going to use AI or ML to like learn.

David:

And I have yet to see a lot of evidence of that actually working.

David:

Would you agree with that assessment or am I just like totally off base here?

Mishaal:

I think the reason why we haven't seen like McKinley improve

Mishaal:

battery life over the years, it's more to do with the hardware of the

Mishaal:

devices rather than the software.

Mishaal:

I think if we were to run the same, like a current software release on really old

Mishaal:

hardware, we'd get amazing battery life.

Mishaal:

It's just that phones nowadays have just crazy high resolution displays

Mishaal:

a one 20 Hertz variable refresh.

Mishaal:

Super bright hole, led panels, all this, all these different sensors, like the

Mishaal:

cameras we have, multi-camera arrays all processing at the same time, it's just,

Mishaal:

there's just so much on the internals that would drain band even with crown tasks,

Mishaal:

you know, being a lot more restricted and that lead to better battery life.

Mishaal:

That's, that's not enough to keep up with the significant advancements in our.

Mishaal:

So, do we know if this is going to be like exclusively based on battery

Mishaal:

life or is it going to take other hardware like Ram into consideration

Mishaal:

to we don't know what the factors are?

Mishaal:

What, what terrible use to determine how to assign credits or

Mishaal:

what the total balance should be.

David:

And I mean, we don't want to get into necessarily what Google will or

David:

won't, this is still not a released thing.

David:

But I guess, you know, what is, where do we see this having the biggest impact,

David:

I guess, what kind of applications do we feel would have like an outsize of.

David:

Basically like what applications are going to look at this and

David:

say, oh no, this is really bad.

David:

Or conversely, which ones are going to say, oh, this is really good.

David:

Because I'm sure that there are apps out there that probably blurry on the

David:

line between abusive or just eat G send a lot of notifications and you

David:

know, potential issues they could run into here with these changes.

Mishaal:

Yeah.

Mishaal:

That's a good question.

Mishaal:

And honestly, I'm not entirely sure on about which applications

Mishaal:

would be the most effective and which applications would not be.

Mishaal:

From my understanding, the alarm manager API is used to schedule tasks that

Mishaal:

need to be executed at a specific time.

Mishaal:

While the job scheduler slash work manager, API APIs are used to basically

Mishaal:

defer a task to an undefined point in time because it doesn't need to be executed

Mishaal:

immediately or at a specific time.

Mishaal:

There are just so many different kinds of apps on the market that use these APIs.

Mishaal:

So I can't really tell you like with acted in which won't be.

Mishaal:

I know there'll be certain kinds of applications that will be more effective

Mishaal:

than others, and there's, there might be a lot of complaints about the way

Mishaal:

this is implemented, because I, I'm not sure if it would be immediately

Mishaal:

obvious to a developer, whether or not their app is less deprioritize over.

Mishaal:

We'll just have to see what kinds of document, what kinds of callbacks

Mishaal:

Google will provide to apps.

David:

Yeah, another facet of this is the effect basically on OEMs because

David:

you know, Michelle was, you know, like when Google updates, CTS, and there

David:

are new battery saving features, CTS changes pretty significantly usually.

David:

Because Google doesn't want manufacturers changing these behaviors, at least not.

David:

Huge ways.

David:

You know, I don't know the nuances of like a lot of the power

David:

saving rules and CTS right now.

David:

Or excuse me,

Mishaal:

CDD.

David:

CTS is the compatibility test suite CDD is the document.

David:

But anyway, like ed is quite nitty gritty about like things you can and

David:

can't do with power saving features.

David:

Do you think it's likely that Google will, you know, have to

David:

enforce this on an OEM level?

Mishaal:

I have a good feeling.

Mishaal:

This feature will be.

Mishaal:

Mandatory for Android 13 devices, but I don't know if Google will mandate

Mishaal:

the exact values or the parameters that they're setting up for care.

Mishaal:

I suspect that OEMs will be able to tweak the parameters that

Mishaal:

are, that are listed in those screenshots posted by AXA developers.

Mishaal:

There, there will probably be a default and Google play services would probably

Mishaal:

be able to modify those values.

Mishaal:

I think OEMs would probably have a level of control over it.

Mishaal:

Yeah.

Mishaal:

Because

David:

they do currently with the adaptive battery settings.

David:

There are some values they can change.

David:

And I think that I don't want to point fingers here.

David:

We've heard of manufacturers adjusting these things, such that

David:

break the feature per se, but it makes it a lot less effective.

David:

I think that we've seen some phone companies that like, you know, crank

David:

those things all the way off so that you get all of your notifications instant.

David:

But battery life is very negatively impacted.

David:

And then we see it in the other direction.

David:

For some OEMs crank up the asynchronous like notifications so far that you

David:

can go like a half hour and not get the notification on your phone.

David:

So controlling the consistency of that experience is not like a.

David:

A concrete thing for Google, you know, they've created guardrails,

David:

but you know, we don't even know until the feature is announced.

David:

And then the phones that use the feature come out and then how

David:

would it perform on those phones?

David:

We don't even know how effective it is necessarily.

David:

So that's what makes it hard, but stuff like battery life to hardware,

David:

like you said, is a great point.

David:

You know, the phones are simply doing more work and we have to consider that.

David:

But on the other side of things, you know, with the software, you know,

David:

that's, that's also something that's changing, you know, year over year.

David:

So with with stuff with power, like, you know, it's, it's really hard to say

David:

because I think that manufacturers are going to have really strong opinions

David:

about how to manage their devices power, because it is the bears, they own it.

David:

And they may also have a different impression of like what their users

David:

want in the experience they expect.

David:

Samsung may have a very different set of like assumptions they're making in

David:

terms of how users want to receive their notifications and how critical that is

David:

versus say one plus and Google makes some accommodations there for them to, you

David:

know, tweak certain settings accordingly.

David:

But the problem is that for developers, I assume in general, that's very open.

Mishaal:

I agree.

Mishaal:

And there are a few more major changes that I'd like to mention.

Mishaal:

The next one is possible full support for Bluetooth low-energy audio.

Mishaal:

So if you're unfamiliar the Bluetooth SIG the, basically the organization

Mishaal:

that defines the Bluetooth standard, they announced the low energy audio.

Mishaal:

Codec and the standard.

Mishaal:

And basically the promises that it makes is that it will enable high quality audio

Mishaal:

streaming at a very low power without massively increasing the data rate.

Mishaal:

So basically it's just a significant improvement across

Mishaal:

the board for audio playback and audio streaming over Bluetooth.

Mishaal:

And right now, although there are multiple Bluetooth chips on the market

Mishaal:

on devices that are shipping right now that support Ellie audio, Android itself

Mishaal:

does not support the new standard with a new codec, but that might change with

Mishaal:

Android 13 because Google has been working on an open source L C3 in coder L C3 is

Mishaal:

the codec that's used for both Bluetooth Ellie audio, and that's been submitted to.

Mishaal:

And they're also working on the setting settings for the new

Mishaal:

codec within developer options within, within the framework.

Mishaal:

So my guess is that Andrew 13 will probably be the first release where

Mishaal:

Android itself will support selecting Ellie audio as the ADP source codec.

Mishaal:

But we'll have to wait and see if.

Mishaal:

Device makers actually have audio products on the market that support

Mishaal:

Ellie audio, because you need both the audio sync and source.

Mishaal:

So we have the source, which is the smartphone, the device running Android 13

Mishaal:

with the requisite Bluetooth chip, but you need to sync, which would be the earbud

Mishaal:

or headphone that supports Ellie audio.

Mishaal:

And I don't think there are any on the market right now, the support it.

David:

And just for some context here, I'm reading up on this because.

David:

The reason we care about this this Bluetooth Le audio feature it's

David:

enabling things like basically, like you can have, you know, you're going

David:

to have two people listening to AirPods at the same time on an iPad.

David:

Well, Bluetooth is going to be able to do that now in theory which is

David:

great because everybody wants that.

David:

It's basically increasing the amount of bandwidth, not, not increasing

David:

the amount of bandwidth, but the amount of audio you can put over the.

David:

Yeah, so like it's much more efficient.

David:

So yeah, that's a great example, you know, of another feature that Google has

David:

to implement again on that OSTP level and how things move kind of slowly.

David:

Granted, this is pretty new.

David:

So that's, that's pretty fast movement by Google standards, but probably that

David:

still means consumer product impact.

David:

Won't be till early 20, 23 at the earliest.

Mishaal:

And I'm the next change that I've, that I believe Google is working on

Mishaal:

based on comments made by Googlers is that there's worrying work done to decouple

Mishaal:

wifi scanning from location permissions.

Mishaal:

So for some context prior to Android 12, in order for an application to

Mishaal:

scan for nearby Bluetooth device, It would have to request the user

Mishaal:

to grant it location permission.

Mishaal:

And that led to a lot of confusion whenever Google wanted to roll out

Mishaal:

the COVID 19 contact tracing apps, because that would require scanning

Mishaal:

for new abrupt Bluetooth devices.

Mishaal:

But doing so would show a prompt, asking the user to

Mishaal:

grant their location permission.

Mishaal:

And so that led to a lot of users thinking these tracing

Mishaal:

apps are tracking my location.

Mishaal:

When all they're doing is just scanning for nearby Bluetooth devices.

Mishaal:

So what Google ended up doing and Android 12 is they added a

Mishaal:

new nearby device permission.

Mishaal:

So that apps wouldn't need to request for location access, just to scan

Mishaal:

for nearby police use devices.

Mishaal:

It seems like Andrew 13, we'll do something similar with wifi scanning.

Mishaal:

So in order for an app to scan for nearby wifi access points

Mishaal:

in 113, they may not need to ask for location permissions anymore.

Mishaal:

We haven't seen that brought up in any, in any of the images that are posted

Mishaal:

by x-ray developers, but a Googler has commented saying that that's

Mishaal:

one of their goals for Android 13.

Mishaal:

And the reason why right now, if you're wondering.

Mishaal:

Y Android requires location permission just to scan for nearby Bluetooth

Mishaal:

devices or wifi access points.

Mishaal:

Is that being able to get a list of nearby devices is actually something that can

Mishaal:

be used to infer your devices location.

Mishaal:

So that's the reason why they tied it to location permissions.

Mishaal:

It just ended up confusing users who thought that devices that just need to

Mishaal:

scan for those devices for legitimate purposes, maybe to connect to them or

Mishaal:

to find a better access point nearby.

Mishaal:

We're actually just tracking the location.

Mishaal:

So Google scrapped that idea and they're decoupling those two.

David:

Yeah, and I think that's a semantic issue.

David:

I mean, for example, you could also say like, if you open Google

David:

maps, AR mode, like that's not a really good example because that's

David:

using location permission anyway.

David:

But if you were using an AR experience that could figure out where you were

David:

based on what the camera was looking at, is that a form of location?

David:

Well,

Mishaal:

yes, it is.

David:

But does that mean it needs to be tied to a location permission and

David:

things obviously gets super muddy there.

David:

And I think that's probably where they came down by discussion with the scanning

David:

behavior for wifi and Bluetooth that it's too nuanced to explain to users.

Mishaal:

Okay.

Mishaal:

I think a really great example of where this confusion manifests is with nearby

Mishaal:

share basically Android's version of.

Mishaal:

I forgot the name of the iOS file sharing solution, but basically nearby share is

Mishaal:

the solution that lets you quickly share files with nearby a hundred devices.

Mishaal:

But right now if you were to use nearby share, you would have to grant the

Mishaal:

surface access to location and that might make you wonder why does a.

Mishaal:

Solution that just shares files with nearby devices need

Mishaal:

access to Michael location.

Mishaal:

And the answer is it actually, doesn't what it's doing.

Mishaal:

Is it scans for nearby Bluetooth devices?

Mishaal:

And then once it, once you, once a user picks a device to connect.

Mishaal:

It initiates a wifi direct connection to that device and that device, the

Mishaal:

other, the receiving device needs to scan for a local wifi access points

Mishaal:

and connect to that access point.

Mishaal:

So that's where the location permission comes in.

Mishaal:

And that's what the user is thinking that nearby shares

Mishaal:

actually tracking the location.

Mishaal:

And that's not the case.

Mishaal:

So by decoupling wifi scanning from location permissions

Mishaal:

nearby share in Android.

Mishaal:

We'll likely no longer ask for the user location.

Mishaal:

Ask for the near brown permission.

David:

Interesting.

David:

I wonder if we should just start putting a giant sticker on every

David:

phone when you open it, it says your phone knows where you are.

David:

Do you accept it?

David:

Because at this point it's kind of true, no matter what anything

David:

else that we should we should hit on Michelle before we end this

Mishaal:

week.

Mishaal:

There are a lot of other smaller changes that I'd love to talk about, but can't.

Mishaal:

You'll just have to wait and see, but there is one that there is

Mishaal:

public evidence of in AOSP and that I actually wrote a blog, wrote

Mishaal:

a blog post about two weeks ago.

Mishaal:

Now it's about how Google will use virtualization in.

Mishaal:

It's quite a complex topic, but I run down, I basically document the necessity

Mishaal:

of Google standardizing, the virtual machine framework and Android, and what

Mishaal:

they're doing to bring virtualization and how they're going to use it.

Mishaal:

I recommend giving that a read it's part of the Andrew dessert by column

Mishaal:

that I write, which is only accessible.

Mishaal:

If you sign up for the Android engineer.

David:

Yeah.

David:

And you should absolutely sign up for that goes out.

David:

Every week and includes a embed of Michelle's column, which he,

David:

again, like, Mishaal said is exclusive to that newsletter.

David:

If you want to sign up for that newsletter, go to blog.esper.io.

David:

And I am typing that in right now.

David:

Yes.

David:

To verify it's up at the top right.

David:

Of the page from the desktop says subscribe to our Android newsletter.

David:

It's called the Android edge.

David:

And we'd appreciate it.

David:

If you all did that, we host these every week about Android because Esper is a

David:

company that cares deeply about Android.

David:

We built an operating system based on AOSP.

David:

And so we are immensely interested in what goes on under the hood of

David:

Google's open source operating system.

David:

So thank you for joining us everyone this week and we'll be back next week.

David:

With the holiday over in me, not at CES and apparently, almost nobody else either.

David:

Anyway.

David:

So we'll catch you next time and thanks for listening everybody.