Google releases Android 13 QPR3 Beta 2.1, brings improvements to your Pixel's modem

Android 13 review
(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has released Android 13 Quarterly Platform Release 3 Beta 2.1 for Pixel devices.
  • The update is rather minor, only focusing on providing "Modem updates." 
  • It's unclear whether this is just to improve performance or is related to vulnerabilities discovered in Samsung's Exynos processors.

As we get closer to Google I/O 2023, the company is steadily working on releasing new updates for some of the best Android phones. We're expecting a new build of Android 14 in the near future, but until then, Google has released the Android 13 Quarterly Platform Release 3 (QPR3) Beta 2.1 update. 

Since this is a "point" update, this is focused on just a small portion of your device. In fact, the only change detailed by Google is "Modem updates." What's unclear is whether this is designed to address any connectivity issues that Pixel owners might be dealing with. 

The mention of "modem updates" comes closely after the discovery of vulnerabilities found by Google's Project Zero team in relation to Samsung Exynos modems. A report was published in March detailing "eighteen 0-day vulnerabilities in devices comprising Samsung Exynos modems." That said, Google apparently addressed the vulnerabilities with the March 2023 Pixel update.

This might sound a bit weird to some, but because Google is working so closely with Samsung on the Tensor chip, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 use Samsung modems. Four of the 18 vulnerabilities were said to "allow attackers to make an Internet-to-baseband remote code execution."

Unfortunately, unless more information is provided, there's a chance that we might not know exactly what "improvements" we're getting with this seemingly minor modem update. Nevertheless, Android 13 QPR3 Beta 2.1 is rolling out to owners of the Pixel 4a and newer, including the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.

In the meantime, Google has yet to release the April 2023 update to Pixel smartphones, even though it was expected to arrive earlier this week. The new beta also does not include the latest security patch. That said, it's likely the update isn't too far behind, although the March update did arrive late for many.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.