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Android 13’s dueling identities | Computerworld

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When Android 13 officially arrives this summer, we’re bound to see a bunch of befuddled head scratching.

It won’t be because of heat-induced brain fog and/or dry scalp, either — not entirely, anyway. Instead, this fresh crop of confusion will stem from the fact that after months of buildup and anticipation, Google’s latest and greatest Android version isn’t gonna look like much for the majority of Android-owning organisms.

Sounds strange, I know, but it’s true: For anyone carrying a phone that was already running last year’s Android 12 software, Android 13 is shaping up to be an incredibly subtle, almost-not-even-noticeable change — at least on a surface level.

That’s not to say Android 13 isn’t significant. Far from it, in fact: This year’s Android update may be one of Google’s most pivotal, platform-shifting releases and the rare arrival that genuinely changes the course of where the platform is headed from a bigger-picture perspective.

But somewhat paradoxically, it’s looking more and more like that the brunt of that impact will be almost entirely invisible to most of us mere phone-toting mortals. And consequently, when Android 13 actually shows up in your sweaty person-paws, your first reaction will probably be something along the lines of: “Wait — this is it?!”

It’s a tale of two operating systems in one and a type of dual identity we’ve never quite experienced on Android. But if you take a few minutes to understand what’s happening now, you’ll be far more prepared for what’s coming — and far less likely to find yourself scratching that suspiciously soft noggin of yours in confusion.

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