Future Feature Drops will bring these new Pixel features to last year's Pixel 6 line
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Google traditionally has been able to take some of the new features it introduces with its latest Pixel models and have them added to older Pixels via a software update. Yeah, it takes some of the sting out of not owning the latest and greatest Pixel but not that much.
Some new Pixel 7 series features will be made available to last year's phones
Google has informed us that all Pixel models with Tensor (which includes both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 lines) will get Clear Calling in a future Feature Drop. Clear Calling reduces background noises that can be distracting and annoying on phone calls. Speaking about annoying phone calls, the same Tensor-powered models will be able to stop an incoming call dead in its tracks by saying "silence." This joins the "stop" and "snooze" quick phrases which will stop an alarm or timer from continuing to ring.
Improvements to Real Tone will be part of an update for the Pixel 6 series
Also coming to all Tensor-powered Pixels is Guided Frame. This is an accessibility-related feature that helps those with poor eyesight snap a selfie with help from a "voice-over" announcer who will guide the user on how to position the phone in real-time. You might hear the announcer tell the user to "move your phone right and up." It also will include a countdown timer to help the visually impaired user better prepare for the selfie.
A member of the team that came up with Guided Frame, Ling Wong, said, "A selfie to me, and to many blind users, is a way to express themselves." And yes, it is coming to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 handsets. Also coming to last year's models will be the improvements Google made in Real Tone. This is the photography feature that more accurately shows diverse skin tones in pictures taken with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 lines. Improvements in Real Tone made for the new models will be coming to last year's Pixels and will be integrated with Night Sight and Portrait mode.
Spatial Audio for Pixel Buds Pro users will be available for Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro users
Spatial Audio with the Pixel Buds Pro is going to be available on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro also after an upcoming Feature Drop. Spatial Audio creates "3D surround sound" that gives the listener a good sense of the origin of a sound they hear through their earbuds. In other words, while wearing the Pixel Buds Pro, Pixel 6 series users will be able to tell if a sound came from in front of them, behind them, or beside them. It's a more immersive way of listening to content.
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The "At a Glance" widget on all Pixel models will show new information. For example, in addition to showing your flight and gate number, it will now show which carousel you will be able to find your checked luggage at. Also coming to all supported Pixel models (which include the Pixel 4a to the Pixel 7 line) is the Audio Message Transcription feature that does a spectacular job at transcribing audio on the phone.
Unfortunately, when we asked Google if it had any plans to create a Face Unlock feature for the Pixel 6 Pro, the company said it had nothing to share at this point.
The next Pixel Feature Drop is coming in December. You can join the beta program for the Feature Drop (Android 13 QPR1 beta 2) by taking a ride on the Reading Railroad. If you pass GO collect $200 to the Android 13 Beta Software page at google.com/android/beta. Tap the button that says "View your eligible devices."
You'll be taken to a page with the image of your Pixel phone with a box underneath that says "Opt-in." Tap on that box and go to Settings > System > System update. You'll see the OTA update that will install the latest Android 13 QPR1 beta 2 build on your handset. Try to hold out with the beta until the Feature Drop is released in December. When that happens, you'll be able to opt-out of the beta program without any penalty.