Pixel, an avalanche of news: Feature Drops, QPR1, security and bug fixes for Watch as well

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In the past few hours Google has started rolling out several software updates for its devices: specifically we have a new Feature Drop (the twelfth) and the QPR1 build of Android 13 for all Pixel smartphones from 4a onwards, and the first OTA patch for the Pixel Watch. Let’s take a closer look at all the details.

SUMMARY

  • THE BIGGEST PIXEL FEATURE DROP YET
  • ANDROID 13 QPR1
  • DECEMBER SECURITY PATCH
  • BUILD, OTA AND FACTORY IMAGE CODES
  • PIXEL WATCH: BUG FIX FOR FIRST OTA

THE BIGGEST PIXEL FEATURE DROP YET

The patch is rolling out to Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro.

  • For the two most recent flagships, the main novelty can be defined as the offer of Google One VPN free; it is usually linked to the Google One paid plan which includes 2 TB of cloud storage. Some Workspace accounts are not supported, and offer not valid in India and Singapore.
  • Then comes the functionality of recognition of people in Recorder: If there are several people talking at the same time while you are recording, the app should be able to recognize and identify them. By default, Recorder labels them as Person 1, Person 2, and so on, but you can then rename them to the correct names if you wish. To make things even better recognizable, each interlocutor has its own color and icon with different shapes. This new feature is available on Pixel 6, 6 Pro, 6a, 7 and 7 Pro.
  • It also arrives on Pixel 7 and 7 Pro Clear Calling, a technology that filters (or at least tries to filter) background noise during a phone call, thanks, according to Google, to the latest generation proprietary SoC Tensor G2. Clear Calling does not work during a VoIP
  • On all Pixels, the sections of the Settings dedicated to privacy and security are combined into one. At the top is a “widget” or card that quickly indicates the status of the device and allows you to launch a quick scan via Play Protect. All the specific, expandable sections follow one another below. The menu makes use of cards and accents of various colors to signal any urgent action to be taken.
  • There Pixel Launcher search bar is now more powerful, scanning apps, contacts, settings and even screenshots in addition to the classic web results.
  • New set of wallpapersmade by Morgan Harper Nichols and dedicated to the international day of disabled people
  • New set of Live Bloom live wallpapers, available via update to version 2.0 of the Pixel Live Wallpaper app. There are 4 in all and they support dynamic colors. Apparently they are only available for Pixel 7, 7 Pro, 6 and 6 Pro (NO 6a).
  • Detection if the user snores or coughs in their sleep expands on Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
  • Grammar Checker on Gboard expands to France.
  • Live Translate expands to Arabic, Swedish, Danish, Vietnamese and Persian.
  • Voicemail Transcription expands to Pixel 4a.

 

ANDROID 13 QPR1

While the Feature Drop can be considered an update to Google’s unique features, the QPR (Quarterly Platform Release) instead update the underlying operating system. The idea of ​​QPR was introduced last year with Android 12, and it returns in Android 13. Sometimes it is a bit difficult to understand the differences between QPR and Feature Drop, due to the deep integration of services with the operating system, but so much. QPR1 betas have been around for a few weeks now, and this is broadly the full changelog:

  • Ability to remove the persistent media controls widget on the Lock Screen.
  • Changed the shape of the cursor in the media player progress bar: from a dot to a vertical line.
  • New animations and new graphics for some of the Quick Setting icons, including Bluetooth, Auto-rotate, Flashlight, Airplane mode, Do not disturb, Dark theme and Night light
  • Some changes in Settings:
    • Increase touch sensitivity becomes Screen protector mode
    • Small graphic adjustments on the page Screen Savers
    • Small graphic adjustments on the page Long press of the power button
    • Battery usage graph can now be set to show data since last full charge (up to 7 days)
  • Over 70 bugs fixed

For users subscribed to the Beta channel, we remind you that the distribution of the stable build offers them the opportunity to exit the program without performing a factory reset. Just wait for the notification/update, proceed with the installation and then head HERE to the official Android site.

DECEMBER SECURITY PATCH

Android 13 QPR1 also includes the latest monthly security patches, those of December. They fix a total of 80 problems (44 for the December 1 level ones, 36 for the December 5 ones) related to Android itself, and 151 problems specific to Google devices. A specific build has been released for the Pixel 6a, 7 and 7 Pro from the O2 operator in the UK and one for the Pixel 4a for Canada. If you are interested in learning more, you can consult the bulletin in detail by going to the official website.

BUILD, OTA AND FACTORY IMAGE CODES

  • Pixel 7 Pro: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
    • TQ1A.221205.012 (O2 UK) | Factory Image / OTA
  • Pixel 7: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
    • TQ1A.221205.012 (O2 UK) | Factory Image / OTA
  • Pixel 6a: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
    • TQ1A.221205.012 (O2 UK) | Factory Image / OTA
  • Pixel 6 Pro: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
  • Pixel 6: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
  • Pixel 5a: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
  • Pixel 5: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
  • Pixel 4a 5G: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
  • Pixel 4a: Android 13 | TQ1A.221205.011 | Factory Image / OTA
    • TQ1A.221205.011.B1 (Canada) | Factory Image / OTA

PIXEL WATCH: BUG FIX FOR FIRST OTA

comes the first OTA update for the Made By Google smartwatch after that of day one, together with the second update of the official companion app (the first arrived last month). The new build is RWD9.220429.070 (the suffix J1 is added for units destined for Japan and Taiwan). There are no particular news from the point of view of the features, but the security patches are updated at the December 5th level and there are multiple bug fixes, including:

  • Calls
    • Call Hands-Free Profile (HFP) improvements and fixes.
  • Settings
    • Added single tap support for enabling/disabling power saving mode.
  • watch face
    • Fixed a data display issue in some watchface complications.
  • Fitbit workout
    • Fixed a pagination issue in the exercise layout.

Google says deployment of the patch will take a few weeks. For installation, the watch must have at least 50% battery life remaining and be connected to Wi-Fi. At the same time, Google has reiterated that fall detection will arrive in 2023.

  • Google Pixel 7 is available online from eBay at 588 euros.
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro is available online from eBay at 825 euros.
  • Google Pixel 6a is available online from eBay at 326 euros.

(updated December 06, 2022, 10:55 am)

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise