One of the first confirmed features for the update sounds like the full support for the Bluetooth Low Energy Audio (LE Audio) standard, which was introduced alongside Bluetooth 5.2 last year, in order to boost the streaming of audio over headphones.
The tech, which has been described as the “next generation of Bluetooth audio” should see improved quality over the current Standard Bluetooth Codec, while using lower data rates and saving on device battery life.
Until now Bluetooth LE had only supported standard data transfers, but the new compatibility with audio improves the experience for true wireless buds thanks to Multi-Stream Audio support.
The incoming feature was spotted by Mishaal Rahman (via Android Police) within an Android Open Source Project ‘commit‘. He says that “Google recently merged an LC3 (the LE Audio codec) encoder and is adding the codec as an option in settings. It’ll be the highest priority A2DP source codec,” which all but confirms the inclusion of the tech in Android 13.
Android 13 may be the first release to add full support for Bluetooth LE Audio.Google recently merged an LC3 (the LE Audio codec) encoder and is adding the codec as an option in settings. It’ll be the highest priority A2DP source codec.Commits: https://t.co/tXicKLMZbq pic.twitter.com/ZHcd22grEs— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) December 21, 2021
“Extensive listening tests have shown that LC3 will provide improvements in audio quality over the SBC codec included with Classic Audio, even at a 50% lower bit rate,” says Manfred Lutzky Head of Audio for Communications at Fraunhofer IIS. “Developers will be able to leverage this power savings to create products that can provide longer battery life or, in cases where current battery life is enough, reduce the form factor by using a smaller battery.”
Android 13 isn’t likely to arrive until this spring, when Google will announce the key features and offer several beta versions of the software ahead of a release on Pixel phones next autumn. What would you like to see added or changed for this cycle? Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.