As part of today’s Pixel announcement, Google also unveiled Android 7.1, which introduces, among other features, Google Assistant. This feature is the future of Google, a powerful new AI platform that allows users to “have a natural conversation with Google,” according to the search giant. Unfortunately, as you may have feared, it doesn’t appear as though Assistant will come to Google’s best ever Nexus device.
While Android 7.1 will introduce new features such as Night Light (similar to Apple’s Night Shift), Daydream VR support, and more to a handful of Nexus phones, it appears the arrival of Google’s Pixel handsets also means these new devices get the best software features. That’s not entirely unexpected but it’s a huge let down for Nexus 6P owners; that device is still a perfectly good phone, especially if you don’t feel like dropping $649 for the cheapest Pixel handset.
The Pixel devices will get Google’s new launcher, Google Assistant, a tech support service, and unlimited high-quality photo and video backup to Google Photos. There’s also a new Smart Storage feature that will automatically remove backed up photos and videos when your device’s storage is maxed.
Finally, the Android 7.1 update also introduces a few aesthetic changes, including additional theming option and a dynamic calendar date icon. It’s unclear when the update will be available for non-Pixel devices but we should expect it to arrive over the next three or four weeks.
We reached out to Google to ask about whether or not the Nexus 6P will get features such as Assistant and will update if we hear back.
Update via Android Police: Below is the full Android 7.1 changelog, with some features that are specific to the Pixel phones.
- Pixel Launcher – swipe up for all apps, new Search Box, date/weather header on home
- Google Assistant
- Unlimited original quality photo/video backup to Google Photos
- Smart Storage – when storage is full, automatically removes old backed up photos/videos
- Phone/Chat support (new support tab in settings), screen-share functionality
- Quick switch adapter for wired setup from Android or iPhone
- Pixel Camera:
- Electronic Image Stabilization (“video stabilization”) 2.0
- Pro Features
- White Balance Presets
- Exposure Compensation
- AE/AF Locking
- Viewfinder grid modes
- HW-accelerated (on Qualcomm Hexagon coprocessor) HDR+ image processing
- Sensor Hub processor with tightly integrated sensors (accel, gyro, mag) + connectivity (Wi-Fi, Cell, GPS)
- Solid navbar icons with home affordance for Assistant
- SysUI accent color theming
- Wallpaper picker with new wallpapers and sounds
- New setup look and feel
- Dynamic calendar date icon
Android Nougat 7.1
Touch/display performance improvements
Moves (Fingerprint swipe down gesture – opt-in)
Seamless A/B system updates
Daydream VR mode
- App shortcuts / shortcut manager APIs
- Circular app icons support
- Keyboard image insertion
- Fingerprint sensor gesture to open/close notification shade
- Manual storage manager Intent for apps
- Improved VR thread scheduling
- Enhanced wallpaper metadata
- Multi-endpoint call support
- Support for various MNO requirements
- PCDMA voice privacy property
- Source type support for Visual Voicemail
- Carrier config options for managing video telephony
Manual storage manager – identifies apps and files and apps using storage
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