Google Pixel phone's best feature won't be coming to other Android phones, company suggests

The company's first phone of its own will be keeping some features to itself

John Dalton
Thursday 06 October 2016 12:15
Introducing Google's phone - Pixel

Google got us all hot and bothered with the launch of a new pair of smartphones earlier this week, but you can be forgiven for missing a major announcement regarding Android.

The details of the latest version of the operating system, 7.1 Nougat, have been revealed, and it’s missing some of the key features Google waxed lyrical about on Tuesday.

The biggest news is that Google Assistant, which is sort of like a souped-up version of Siri for Android, will remain exclusive to the Pixel and Pixel XL, in the near future at least. The virtual helper played a central role in Google’s event, with the company taking time to demonstrate how it supports two-way conversation and learns from you as you spend more time using it.

Google has, however, told TechCrunch that it plans to make the feature “widely available to users” over the course of the next 12 months.

Also exclusive to the Pixel phones will be the Pixel launcher, Smart Storage, the Quick switch adapter for migrating from iOS to Android and Electronic Image Stabilisation on the camera.

Google’s decision will disappoint lots of consumers, many of whom simply won’t be able to afford a Pixel. It’s available from £599, with the top-spec Pixel XL coming in at a whopping £819.

Android Police, meanwhile, has discovered the full Android 7.1 changelog, which reveals that Android users can soon look forward to Night Light mode, Daydream VR mode, Moves (the new fingerprint gesture to open and close the notification shade) and a bunch of new APIs for developers.

A developer preview of Android 7.1 is set to arrive later this month, but it’s not yet clear when the final version will be available for download, and which phones will be eligible for the upgrade.

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