Alongside the December security patch, Made by Google is closing 2020 with a Pixel Feature Drop. Coming three months after the last release that coincided with Android 11, the Pixel 5 picks up a slate of new “Adaptive” features, as well as improved GPS. Google is also bringing several newer features to older devices.
Joining Adaptive Battery and Brightness is the ability for your phone to automatically tune audio output from the Pixel’s speakers to your current environment. Adaptive Sound (Pixel 4a 5G+) works by using the “microphone to assess the acoustics near you” and then adjusts the equalizer.
This feature might be “less noticeable at higher volumes.” Meanwhile, Adaptive Sound works entirely on-device and mic audio is deleted after local processing. Users can enable/disable at will from Settings > Sound & vibration > Advanced.
Adaptive Connectivity (Pixel 4a 5G+) works to save battery life by automatically switching from 5G to 4G based on the app you’re using. It can be enabled/disabled from Settings > Network & internet > Advanced.
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.)
Adaptive Charging (Pixel 4+) preserves battery health by dynamically controlling charging speed, i.e. charging more slowly overnight and reaching 100% before your alarm in the morning goes off. Similarly, there are Adaptive Battery improvements for the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G that can “automatically save even more power if a user is likely to miss their next charge, keeping the device powered even longer.”
Google is bringing the latest features introduced on the Pixel 5 to the Pixel 3 and later devices. This includes Hold for Me call waiting and Extreme Battery Saver, as well as expanded homescreen customization (more fonts, status bar icons, and colors.)
The Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 are the first devices to benefit from 3D mapping aided corrections that “spectacularly” improve GPS accuracy in cities. Other new features include:
- The App Overview/multitasking screen features a new Lens translation suggestion/chip for apps and websites
- Now Playing can export multiple discovered songs simultaneously to a YouTube Music playlist
- Google Duo screen sharing now works in group calls
- New wallpapers (coming soon) from Google Arts & Culture and “original new Mandalorian” backgrounds
- “Increase touch sensitivity” under Display settings from the Pixel 4 is now showing up on newer devices. It “improves touch when using screen protectors.”
- Google Pixel phones now take screenshots instantly, just like Samsung and iPhone
- More Google Photos filters coming to Pixel phones, including sunrise/sunset suggestions
- Unicode 13.1 emoji on Pixel devices
The December Pixel Feature Drop will be fully available in the coming days.
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