Google today rolled out the March Feature Drop and Android 12L to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro after a release came to older Pixels in the first week of March. The delayed release comes after a second such delay for Google’s newest phones, raising concerns of teething issues with the company’s Tensor processor.
With the March Feature Drop and Android 12L, Google is bringing a few quality of life improvements to the Pixels. It’s adding Night Sight support to the Snapchat app, allowing for better nighttime photography when using the popular social media app. It’s also improving the Pixel’s smart Live Caption feature to allow users to “type” their phone calls out and have an automated voice transcribe incoming audio and read text out to the person on the other end.
Google also highlights app updates (some of which have already rolled out), including a new battery widget coming to the Style and Wallpapers app, new YouTube integration in the Messages app, and YouTube live sharing with the Duo video calling app, much like Apple’s Share Play.
Android 12L for its part is a smaller update as far as Pixels go. There are small interface changes with a smaller clock face for the lock screen, nicer wallpaper and widget pickers, and tweaks to the notification center. The multitasking menu also sees some tweaks for people who want to use split-screen often.
While it’s finally here, Android 12L has been a deeply weird release for Google. It was initially positioned as bringing improvements to large-screened devices like tablets and foldables, but Android 12L remains exclusive to Pixels for now. While the Pixel 6 Pro can charitably be counted as a “large-screened device” if one were to tinker with display settings, Google’s reticence to launch a successor to the Pixel C has hamstrung the effectiveness of its Android 12L release. The lack of a big-screen app push directed from Google has also served to underline the inadequacy of the update, especially when the likes of Samsung already have competent Android-powered operating systems for its own tablets.
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