With yesterday's December update, Google also introduced its latest Pixel Feature Drop including Hold for Me, Extreme Battery Saver, and a few other new bits and pieces. In addition to the new features Google advertises, other little enhancements are often snuck in without much fanfare, and screenshots seem to have been given that treatment this time around.
The changelog for the last version of Google's Personal Safety app — available exclusively for Pixel phones — mentioned that emergency sharing "now includes information about your phone call status and battery levels" but we didn't find these features in the app itself. As a new version of the app rolls out, these new status updates are becoming available, even to those still on older versions.
The new Pixel Buds have plenty going for them: they're modern and sleek, they sound nice, and their Android integration is top-notch. But a quick glance at the Pixel Buds support forums shows tons of reports of connectivity problems. The good news is that Google is aware of these issues and a fix is on the way — eventually.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM out there, with dozens of supported devices and a few nice features over stock Android. The new Android 10-based LineageOS 17.1 was just released earlier this month, and now the project is bringing back support for two classic Google phones.
According to a recent set of benchmarks conducted by the folks at Android Authority, Google’s latest Pixels suffer a bit of a problem with file transfer speed over USB Type-C. Although Google bills the port as supporting USB 3.0 transfer speeds, something about the phone’s configuration results in nearly half the speed compared to other recent phones, like the OnePlus 7T Pro and Galaxy S10e.
Last year, after the Android 10 update first started rolling out for Pixel owners, there were a handful of reports that device sensors — things like the ambient light sensor for screen brightness, orientation sensor for auto-rotation, and Active Edge sensor — stopped working. A workaround was found for those with unlocked bootloaders, and many of those affected were part of the root and ROM crowd, but almost six months later, many phones are still affected, and those with Verizon-branded, locked devices are still simply out of luck.
We're officially on the road to Android 11, which means a whole round of developer preview builds are on the way to Pixel phones — as well as other non-Google phones likely to be announced at I/O in May that will go through their own beta stack. Unfortunately, for O.G. Pixel and Pixel XL owners, they won't be joining for the ride.