The Google Pixel 7 Pro and its smaller sibling launched this month, but there was one thing missing from these two great new phones. Android 13 Quarterly Platform Release (QPR) 1 beta was not available on them. That changes with the release of QPR’s third beta, which finally brings the latest Pixel series up to par with its predecessors. That’s not all that’s new with Beta 3, however. Here’s a dive into everything you can expect in the update.
Clear Calling for Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro
The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro launched with the promise that they would receive a new Clear Calling feature in December. It’s supposed to help improve phone conversations in noisy environments, allowing you and the other party to hear you better. Although Clear Calling was not part of the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro launch, it is available as part of Android 13 QPR1 Beta 3. The option lives in the sound and vibration section in system settings.
Although Clear Calling was originally discovered in Android 13 code, it does not work on Pixel 6 and earlier. These devices do not have the library installed which is required to make it work. It’s possible that older Pixels will get the feature at some point, but there could also be hardware limitations in place.
Battery Sharing Toggle
Every time you plug in your Pixel phone to charge it, it automatically turns on reverse wireless charging for a few minutes so you can easily drop headphones or other accessories on the back of the phone to recharge their batteries as well. With Android 13 QPR1 Beta 3, you finally get a toggle that lets you control this option. If you want, this lets you completely disable Battery Sharing, which doesn’t activate when you plug in your Pixel. Now if only Google Pixel Watch supported Qi wireless charging to take advantage of this basic Pixel phone functionality.
New Experimental Folder Animation
As Esper’s Android expert Mishaal Rahman noticed, there’s a new experimental animation when swiping between different pages in a folder on the Pixel Launcher. Instead of the familiar dots in the lower right corner, indicating that a folder has multiple pages, an experimental flag replaces them with small squares. As you move from page to page, a funky animation of one square falling into the other accompanies the action, which is just as playful as the dot-based animation.
Experimental Google Keep note-taking button
Another addition spotted by Mishaal Rahman is a new note-taking shortcut that’s likely for the Google Pixel tablet once launched. With a Pixel phone set to a high DPI, similar to a tablet, a new note-taking shortcut appears in the taskbar at the bottom, which launches a floating Google Keep window when tapped. Right now, the feature’s animations and the icon itself look finicky and unfinished, and it’s clear that this is an early stage for the feature. Still, it’s a nice addition to a tablet interface we’ve seen on Samsung and Apple devices before.
There are a ton of other smaller changes, but a few of them are worth highlighting:
- Google is still working on its “cinematic” wallpapers. A new Wallpaper Effects application, which has not yet been activated, comes with Beta 3, and it will be responsible for creating these most beautiful live wallpapers.
- The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are supposed to get free VPN, and Android 13 QPR1 Beta 3 lays the groundwork for that. The basis for a new built-in VPN service appeared in the version of Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
- Previous betas of QPR1 moved the sound and vibration panel to a pop-up in the middle of the screen, but the third beta moves it to the bottom. The only difference with stable Android 13 now is that the background is no longer darkened.
Getting ready for Android 13 QPR1 launch
Google is increasingly preparing to launch the final version of Android 13 QPR1, which should arrive in December. If you can’t wait that long, be sure to learn how to install an Android 13 beta on your Pixel phone. So far, we’ve had a good experience with these beta releases, but as always, keep in mind that you’re installing pre-release software. Things can break sometimes, and then you could end up without a working phone in the worst case scenario.
Google Pixel 7
Google didn’t reinvent the wheel with the Pixel 7, but they didn’t need to. With improved cameras, the next-gen Tensor G2 chipset, and Google’s wonderfully feature-rich software, the Pixel 7 earns its price easily again this year.
Google Pixel 7 Pro
Google’s Pixel 7 Pro refines the Pixel experience after the 6 Pro’s initial stumbles last year, improving stability and taking camera prowess to new levels with Image Fusion and 4K60fps video on all cameras. 30W fast charging and addictive Pixel features like automatic call screening and Pixel Recorder help make the Pixel 7 Pro an attractive phone, even as an iterative update.