Those magical pieces of tech that sit around unused in your pocket for most of the day? Forget about ‘em. Android TV 14’s Beta just dropped and it’ll be able to receive (and make) calls on the big screen, amongst a few other changes that involve energy conservation and better-optimized Bluetooth connectivity and HDR controls.
The timing is certainly odd, considering Apple’s recent announcement that FaceTime would be coming to tvOS during this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Either way, humanity is inching ever closer to the world promised to us in Back to the Future II – even if it is a little later than promised.
Send in the Android (beta)
It looks like Android TV 14 is preparing to let you receive call notifications from supported apps while you’re using the TV!
“Receive calls on this device”
“When enabled, you can receive calls from supported apps on this device. To adjust preferences for…
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) June 8, 2023
Mishaal Rahman was the first to note the beta’s new features, posting the changes he’d unearthed on Twitter. As most changes concern things like the Accessibility menu being moved out of Settings > System and into its own category, they’re not worth much discussion.
It’s a different story for the new call functionality we mentioned earlier. According to Rahman, the beta may include incoming call notifications, and even let you “receive calls on this device” and would be tied to each user’s specific profile and supported apps. How it would work, and under which apps, remains a mystery, at least until Google offers some clarification.
If couch-calling doesn’t take your fancy (we do have phones), the beta changes how a device handles HDR content. Or, more specifically, how users handle HDR content. Hidden in the ‘Advanced’ display settings, the beta allows users to change or force a specific HDR format (Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10+, etc) or revert it back to SDR. Also included is a new energy toggle, ranging from “low, moderate, high, and unrestricted” options that’ll change how the device handles network connectivity when switched off.
And finally, our favourite change; the Android TV 14 Dashboard showing up with a list of available Bluetooth devices, streamlining the process of connecting headphones and the like.
As for when we’ll be seeing the update roll out to everyone, we couldn’t say. We expect it to hit the Play Store sooner, rather than later, what with Google’s code change referring to the “retiring” of all Android 13 versions – not just on specific devices. You can see a full list of the Android TV 14 beta changes here.