Android Police

Pixel XL

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Over 75% of Pixel users are on Android Pie — why not more?

It's a well-known fact that software updates permeate the Android market at a crawl in comparison with iOS, but Google's own Pixel devices are an entirely different question. The Pixels are an opportunity for Google to brag that when it makes its own devices, it's able to surpass Apple in the updates arena — and that's exactly what Google's senior vice-president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, attempted to do in a recent tweet. However, the feedback may not have been what Osterloh was expecting.

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Which Pixel 3 features are coming to older Pixel phones (and which will remain exclusive)

Google's Pixel 3 and 3 XL didn't pack a whole lot of hardware surprises, considering the unceasing deluge of leaks over recent months, but the software was another story. There were plenty of new camera features shown off at the Made by Google 2018 event, with oodles of machine learning magic to go around. Unfortunately for owners of older Pixel phones, not all of these new features will be coming to older handsets. For your convenience, we put together a list of all the major software changes that will (and won't) be coming to previous models.

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The Pixel camera app will support external microphones starting October 18

The Pixel line is known for, above all else, its wicked cameras. But one problem a certain type of mobile photography enthusiast has run into with the phones is that they don't currently allow for the use of external microphones in the default camera app. That's set to change next week, though.

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Google details new Assistant features coming soon to Pixel phones

During the course of the big Google hardware event on October 9th we heard about a number of new features, most relating to the three main products being unveiled — Pixel 3, Pixel Slate, and Home Hub. As the dust has mostly settled, Google thought it might be a good time to run us through some of the new features coming to Assistant on Pixel phones, new and old.

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Google didn't backtrack on its first-gen Pixel and Pixel XL promise of lifetime full-resolution Google Photos backups

It's becoming a bit of a tradition: Every year, when Google's new smartphones are announced, we have to confirm once again that the first-generation Pixel and XL will keep benefiting from their lifetime original quality photo backups for life. This year, Google made a little snafu, seemingly backtracking on that promise, but it's all been fixed now.

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Call Screen will let Pixel users see who's calling and what they want before answering

Not everything got leaked before Google's event today. One surprise announcement that wowed was Call Screen, a new feature that lets the Google Assistant answer your incoming calls and politely ask what the caller wants. A real-time transcript will appear on your screen, allowing you to decide whether or not you want to pick up.

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Google Duplex rolls out starting in November on Pixel phones

One of the most impressive (and unsettling) I/O moments happened earlier this year when Google showed off Duplex, an AI chatbot that can place calls for you like a robotic personal assistant. Google wouldn't confirm its plans for Duplex at the time, but it's almost ready for the general public. Duplex is hitting Pixel phones starting next month, but it won't be available everywhere.

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Smart Compose comes to Gmail for Android as Pixel exclusive

Google rolled out Smart Compose in Gmail earlier this year, but it was only on the web. Now, it's coming to mobile, but not everywhere on mobile. At Google's hardware event, Rick Osterloh noted that Smart Compose would arrive in Gmail for Android as a Pixel exclusive.

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October Pixel patches now available via OTA files and factory images

Promptly on time, Google has released October's OTA files and factory images for the Pixels, as well as its general Android security bulletin for the month. At the same time, Verizon is pushing out the set of patches to Pixel users now. It's the second update to Android 9 Pie, and this time around there are no Pixel security patches — just a few functional patches including, most notably, what might finally be a fix for the 2016 Pixel fast charging bug.

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Google Store opens its own mail-in 'Repair Center' for Pixel phones in the US

Prior to today, if you broke something on your Pixel phone and you wanted it fixed through an official channel, you'd have to go to the widely-known uBreakiFix or Puls (a phone repair startup). An in-house mail-in repair service, dubbed 'Repair Center,' has just been added to the Google Store. So if you want Google itself to fix your Pixel, you're now in luck.

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