Portrait Light was announced along with the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. It's one more neat Pixel camera feature that lets you manually control light in portrait pics and adjust face brightness as you see fit, either for a more dramatic and contrasting effect or to balance things out in poorly-lit photos. The feature was said to be coming to older Pixels too, and now it's there on the Pixel 2, 3, and 4.
Google tends to play it safe when it comes to the design of its Pixel lineup, but that doesn't mean Pixel owners have to settle for a boring look. While most folks wouldn't consider Google's hardware design very exciting, there's no denying that the company's official fabric cases look a lot more fetching. And right now, the Google Store is offering 50% off Pixel 4 and Pixel 3a fabric cases, dropping the price to just $20.
Like clockwork, Google has just released its monthly Pixel updates, delivering both security enhancements as well as bug fixes and other improvements. This month, we have seven changes noted in the so-called "functional patch" notes, including auto-rotation improvements, automatic brightness fixes for the Pixel 4a, a bootloop fix, and a handful of other changes. Sadly, this month also marks the end of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL's stated support lifetime. Google has since confirmed to us that the phones will only get one more update after this in December.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM for Android devices, bringing new OS versions to phones and tablets that have long since been unsupported. The Pixel lineup has mostly been ignored by the project, outside of the original models, but now nearly every Google-made phone is receiving official builds of LineageOS.
Lost in yesterday's Android 11 hullabaloo was another bit of news: Security patches for Google's Pixel series were released together as part of the Android 11 update. This month's security-oriented fixes are more numerous than usual, with plenty of "high" and "critical" vulnerabilities included, so be sure to install the Android 11 update sooner rather than later.
The first Developer Preview for Android 11 landed in February of this year, and Google has continued to iterate and add new features across several more Developer Previews and Betas. As revealed earlier this summer at the start of Google's "11 weeks of Android" promotion, the stable version of Android 11 has arrived, ready for public consumption and rolling out to Google Pixel devices.
As part of today's Pixel 4a festivities, Google has also announced a new feature that's coming to older Pixels as well. Remember Google's Live Caption feature that transcribes speech in real-time, on-device, for things like videos? Well, Live Caption will now also work for video and voice calls — more useful than ever in these socially distant times.
IMG is the most common file name for images that come out of cameras, used in many phones and DSLRs, including the Google Pixel lineup. Google is looking to differentiate files created by the Pixel line's excellent cameras, though. Starting with Google Camera version 7.5, currently only available for devices running the Android 11 beta, image file names will start with PXL instead of IMG.
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The Pixel 3a was our phone of the year in 2019, and for a lot of very good reasons. At $400, it offered a camera experience that many phones costing twice as much couldn't, and an update policy no other Android OEM could match. With the Pixel 4a, then, Google had a lot to live up to, and we weren't sure they could outdo the 3a without compromising on price (and you should read our review of it). It turns out, we were wrong: the 4a makes a few notable changes to the formula Google introduced with the 3a, but their collective impact results in an objectively better smartphone at a lower price.
Pixel phones have usually been known more for utilitarian design than flashy looks, but Google's line of fabric cases certainly helps the phones stand out from the crowd while adding some drop protection as well. With the announcement of the new Pixel 4a, the Google Store is cutting prices on fabric case options for the Pixel 3a/3a XL and Pixel 4/4 XL down to just $20, a savings of 50%.