All Android Phones Get More Pixel-Only Features from Google

by -
Some Pixel-only features are now rolling out to more Android phones.
Image: Google – Over a dozen new Android features have recently been released by the firm, including several that we assumed would be exclusive to Android 12.

It’s almost time for Android 12 to be released to the public, but Google isn’t keeping all of its features until the big day. Today, Google unveiled a slew of new features for Android, Google TV, the Assistant, and Gboard, including several that were previously only available on Google’s Pixel phones.

The Heads Up function in Digital Wellbeing, which notifies you if it detects you walking while using your phone, is one of the Pixel features coming to Android phones shortly. And whether you have a OnePlus phone or a Samsung phone, you’ll have access to Google Photos’ password-protected Locked Folder.

Gboard users on all devices will gain new copy-and-paste features, including those that were previously only available on the Pixel. Gboard will soon start extracting phone numbers, email addresses, and links into distinct objects when you copy them, and you can currently access pictures and links in the Clipboard. Gboard will now save recent screenshots in the clipboard, as promised at Google I/O earlier this year. Every smartphone running Android 11 and higher will have the Pixel’s Smart Compose functionality, which will be available in all versions of Gboard.

Google is also releasing new accessibility features today to make Android more accessible to those with physical disabilities. Camera Switches is a Switch Access feature that allows users to navigate with their eyes by using their phone’s front-facing camera. Project Activate, which enables you program face motions and eye movements to activate shortcuts for activities like sending prewritten text answers, is now available as well. Both of these accessibility improvements were previously discovered in the Android 12 beta, but are now being sent out to the general public.

The beta also provided us a look at the different Nearby Share permissions that are now available to everyone. Nearby Share allows you to share images or links to everyone in your neighborhood who has an Android phone, chosen contacts, or no one at all. If you don’t want any random photos to appear on your phone, I recommend selecting the latter two options—after all, we’ve seen what happened to Apple’s AirDrop customers in the past.

Users of Google TV will soon have access to a handy feature that will make it simpler to find something to watch without having to hunt for the remote. Within the Google TV app, Google has incorporated remote control functions right into Android. There’s also a Quick Tile that lets you enter remote control mode by just pulling down your notification shade. The ability was found only a few days ago by 9to5Google.

If you’ve ever wanted to make it a bit easier to access your reminders on your smart display, Google has introduced a Reminders hub to the Assistant. You can access it by saying, “Open my reminders,” and the Assistant will show you the list of tasks you’ve set for yourself. After a while, the Assistant will begin to propose reminders depending on your activities.

The accessibility improvements will be available this week, with the rest of Google’s Android innovations following in the weeks ahead.