In keeping with its December, March and June release schedule, Google has made it a rule to release “special features” for its Pixel smartphones, with the latest one, starting with the Pixel 3, bringing new features to every generation.
Some of the features detailed in the December 2021 issue are more functional and practical updates, such as vehicle crash detection across more devices and more markets, while others are designed to improve the day-to-day user experience that Google Pixel smartphones; for example with Quick Tap to Snap.
Here’s everything the December 2021 Feature Drop has to offer:
One of the most far-reaching updates, Car Crash Detection, which was introduced with the 2019 Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, is coming to devices in new markets. including France, Italy and Taiwan, and is available on all Pixels from Pixel 3 (excluding Pixel 3a and 3a XL).
Digital car key
Sticking with car upgrades, the UWB (Ultra Wideband) chip that debuted in the Pixel 6 Pro is put to good use with the addition of a digital car key function. Support for this feature has already been added in Android 12 (Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are coming out of the box), but requires a device with a UWB chip to work.
At launch, the feature works exclusively with select 2020-2022 BMWs, but other manufacturers are expected to join the list at a later date.
Once paired, users with a compatible phone will be able to bring it to their car’s door handle to open the door, and bring it up to a reader in the passenger compartment to start the car.
UWB in the public domain
Nearby Share is Apple’s Android AirDrop alternative that allows users to transfer files and link each other using a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. With the December Feature Drop for Pixel 6 Pro owners, UWB transfer support has been added; which provides a faster and safer way to directly transfer media files to those in the immediate vicinity.
Quick press to snap
Quick Tap was already present in Android 12, allowing you to double-tap the back of a compatible phone to quickly launch a selected app, bring up Google Assistant, or take a screenshot, however Quick Tap to Snap, which was teased as part of the Pixel 6 launch, is finally coming to devices.
We’ve teamed up with the Google Pixel to make the Pixel 6 the fastest phone to take pictures.
With Quick Tap to Snap, you can open your Snapchat camera right from your lock screen!
– Snapchat (@Snapchat)
October 19, 2021
Just double-tap the back of your phone, launch directly into the Snapchat viewfinder without even unlocking your device; allowing you to capture Snap at any time. The update will also bring a new Pixel-exclusive Snapchat lens called the Pixel Face.
The native Pixel Recorder app already has an incredibly powerful real-time transcription feature, but it only supported English at launch. German, French and Japanese language support joins the battle with this latest feature.
Sound booster: talk mode
An audio booster is an existing accessibility tool that can increase the volume and clarity of sounds that your device picks up (while wearing headphones).
When enabled, the new talk mode nullifies conversations you may have with others and uses on-device machine learning to better filter out background noise. so that their speech will be even louder and clearer than it might otherwise be. Ideal for the hearing impaired.
Now playing (search and favorites)
The Now Playing feature was first introduced on the Pixel 2, letting you know the name and artist of any song your phone is around.
With this latest feature, the Now Playing feature has been expanded so that you can manually set up your phone to listen to a song, and what’s more, you can add recorded songs to your favorites, so it’s easy to come back and listen later.
Pixel Buds Bass Slider
If you’re using Pixel Buds A, there’s a small addition to the Pixel Buds app – a new bass slider that gives you access to twice the bass range than before, and the ability to change the Buds A’s bass output from -1 to +4.
Hold to control the assistant
Android on Pixels already gives you the ability to long press the power button to wake up Google Assistant, but the December Drop feature update lets you vary how long you need to hold down a key before the assistant kicks in.
December wallpaper collection
This latest update features a new collection of Curated Culture wallpapers dedicated to International Day of Persons with Disabilities, created by Dana Kirley (herself an artist with a chronic illness and disability).
In an official Google press release, Curly “explores the intricacies and nuances of living in a sick and incapacitated body, playfully using color, texture, light and shadow.”
When will the December 2021 discount be added to my Pixel?
Provided you’re using a compatible device, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are expected to be at the top of the list for the update, however phones that have reverted to the Pixel 3 could expect the Drop Drop feature to arrive sometime in December.
You can manually check for updates by going to Settings> System> System Update> Check for Updates. Some updates that are part of dropped features are not available in all regions.