Google has rolled out a major Android update for Pixel handsets. According to The Verge, Android Pie was released for the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones on Aug. 6, 2018.
Google first announced its Android-powered Pixel handsets during a press event in October 2016. The successor to Google’s Nexus smartphone, the first-generation Pixel features an aluminum body with a 12.3 megapixel primary camera, USB-C port and headphone jack. Since then, Google has released three other Pixels, including the second-generation Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
Because they are developed by Google, the Pixel handsets are among the first smartphones to receive new Android updates. This has been a key selling point as smartphones developed by other brands often take months to receive new updates. In some cases, a non-Google smartphone may never receive a new Android update past a specific version. This isn’t a problem for Pixel users, however. Google pushes new Android updates to Pixel smartphones first, giving this line of handsets an advantage over competing devices.
Like other major updates for Google’s mobile operating system, Android Pie introduces several new features and improvements over its predecessors. For starters, the latest version of Android includes digital wellness tools to help users monitor their screen time. Android Pie users can see how long they’ve been using their device and even set time limits for specific apps. There are dozens of apps available on Google Play that provide similar time-tracking functions. With Android Pie, however, users can access this information directly from a built-in digital wellness dashboard without downloading and installing a third-party app.
In addition to digital wellness tools, Android Pie features a revamped interface that’s cleaner and more concise. Furthermore, Android Pie boasts an all-new gesture navigation tool that allows users to perform commands by making hand gestures over their device’s sensor. According to Google, future Pixel smartphones will feature gesture navigation as the default method of navigation, thereby replacing the handset’s traditional three-button navigation system.
Only Pixel users will see Android Pie in their handset’s interface. However, Google says that devices that participated in its Android Pie beta program, including OnePlus, Sony, Oppo, Nokia and others, will receive the update before the end of the year.