One of the best parts of Pixel is regular feature drops that make the phone better and better (and better). With the December update, even more Pixel owners will get to experience our most recent updates, along with a few new surprises.
The latest and greatest, now on more Pixels
Many of the new features launched with the Pixel 5 are now rolling out to Pixel 3 and newer devices. That includes Extreme Battery Saver. When this is turned on, it lets your Pixel automatically limit some apps and only run the essentials so your battery lasts as long as possible.*
And now friends and families can share in the joy of watching the same video, cheer on live sports together and plan activities—even when they’re far apart. While Duo screen sharing in one-to-one calls is already available, screen sharing is also becoming available in group calls, too, so long as you’re using Wi-Fi or a 5G connection.
Finally, we showed off a redesigned, more helpful editor in Google Photos with a new tab that gives you suggestions powered by machine learning that are tailored to the picture you’re editing. Now on Pixel, we’re rolling out new suggestions, including Dynamic, which enhances brightness, contrast and colour, and a set of sky suggestions, which help you create stunning sunset and sunrise images in just one tap.
Adapting to you, for you
Google devices are most helpful when they seamlessly assist you throughout the day—wherever you are. We call this ambient computing, and it drives our approach to how Pixel should adapt to your needs in real time.
For example, Adaptive Sound improves the sound quality of your phone speaker based on your surroundings. It uses the microphone to assess the acoustics near you, then adjusts the sound equalizer settings in certain apps. Bringing your Pixel from the bedroom to the bathroom while getting ready in the morning? Your audio will sound great wherever you are.
Speaking of where you’re going, the GPS on Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) is now more accurate when you’re on foot than previous generations. This means your rideshare service can find you more easily, and there’s no more guessing which side of the street you need to be on when you’re walking somewhere. (Requires an internet connection and Android 8.0 or later.)
Your Pixel can also now detect if you’re viewing a website or app in a different language and translate it using Google Lens. Just take a screenshot or swipe into App Overview, and tap the Lens chip to see the translation. For available Google Lens languages go to g.co/help/lens.
And for a little more help between charges, there are new context-aware battery features. Additional improvements to Adaptive Battery for Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) can automatically save even more power if a user is likely to miss their next charge, keeping the device powered even longer. Adaptive Charging helps preserve battery health over time by dynamically controlling how quickly a Pixel device charges. Just plug in your phone in the evening, set an alarm and the Adaptive Charging will work its magic.
And for Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) owners, our new Adaptive Connectivity feature helps you get the most out of your battery by automatically switching from 5G to 4G based on the app you’re using. It’ll choose 4G for things like browsing the web or sending texts, and switch to 5G when you’re watching movies or downloading large files. (Not available on all carriers or for all apps or features.)
Make your Pixel even more yours
Your phone should feel uniquely yours. Now you can personalize your home screen with new icons, grid views and app shapes, or even choose custom wallpapers of famous artworks provided by cultural institutions from around the world on Google Arts & Culture (wallpapers coming soon directly into the wallpaper categories in settings).
Plus, a special treat for Star Wars fans: Google, Disney and Lucasfilm worked together to launch “The Mandalorian” AR Experience, an augmented reality app available on Google Play for 5G Google Pixel devices and other select 5G Android phones. Now all Pixel 3 and newer devices can customize the home screen with original new Mandalorian wallpapers.
And something music lovers can appreciate: Your Pixel can already recognize songs that are playing around you if you enable Now Playing; all the tracks you hear are stored in your Now Playing History. Now you can select all the songs you heard while you were driving or watching TV and export them to a playlist in YouTube Music.
For those who use other Android devices, there's plenty of new things to get excited about: Check out our blog post on everything new for Android phones.
* Battery life depends upon many factors, and usage of certain features will decrease battery life. Actual battery life may be lower.
Posted by Harrison Lingren, Technical Program Manager