Google's March 2021 Pixel Feature Drop update delivered plenty of changes, but nestled among the list was one feature out of left-field: Underwater photography. That's right, Google has apparently and specifically improved Pixel camera performance when used with a handful of Kraken-brand underwater smartphone housings. Today we got our first glimpse of photo samples from the Pixel 5 showing off its new seaside skills, and they look pretty good.
Monday's feature drop for the Pixel phones included a fun nugget that wasn't in the official changelog: it appears you can now use both a physical SIM card and an eSIM on 5G networks at the same time. Previously users who had both installed and operational were limited to LTE speeds, even if their carrier had 5G service in the area.
Following Verizon's early teasing, Google has just released details about the March 2021 Feature Drop update, which should be rolling out today. Pixel owners can look forward to enhanced underwater photography when paired with a specific case, expanded Smart Compose support for some messaging apps, a snazzy new bedtime screen when using the Pixel Stand and Clock app, and wallpapers for International Women's Day. On top of that, Google promises more fixes for Android Auto disconnection issues.
Android 12's first developer preview is just around the corner, and we've already heard a lot about what we can expect — from huge UI changes to app pairs. With the next version, we're also expecting to see a bunch of features that will be exclusive to Pixel devices, and the latest one we're hearing about is face-based auto-rotate.
The Pixel 5 and LG Wing don't have too much in common — outside maybe the fact that neither will sell very well — but both phones are going to get a 5G-related upgrade. FCC documents indicate that both Google and LG have been granted permission for the phones to access the new 5G Band n77 freed up as part of the C-band auction. With nothing more than a software update, both devices can connect to the new 5G frequency once US carriers start using it.
February 2021 updates for Google's Pixels from the 3 series to the 5 are landing today. On top of your regularly scheduled security patches, Pixel owners can also look forward to two other changes: A fix for the Pixel 4a 5G's touchscreen issue (which apparently extends to the Pixel 5 as well), and an undefined "fix for issue preventing certain sensor detection on startup," which could be tied to the long-standing Pixel device sensor issue.
IJP, maker of a few popular Android battery meter replacements, has merged Energy Ring support for different devices from separate apps into a universal app and has announced further support for the Galaxy S21 and Pixel 5 along with other developments in the pipeline.
Touchscreen presses and gestures make up the vast majority of our interactions with smartphones these days, but sometimes it's nice to be able to perform an action without looking, as we could by squeezing the Active Edge to summon the Google Assistant on older Pixels. A similar feature that enabled double-tapping on the back of the phone was in the works for Android 11 but didn't make it into the final version. Thankfully, it seems like it will make a comeback in Android 12.
Weezer recently published the music video for "All My Favorite Songs" from its upcoming "OK Human" album, and you don't need to be in marketing to notice the frequent and quite prominent Pixel 5 product placement in the video. In fact, the Pixel 5 is on screen nearly one-quarter of the time in the video. For most of us, the almost four-minute Pixel ad set to music will constitute the majority (if not all) of the Pixels we see in the wild this year.