Google Made Some Android Features Exclusive To Pixel Devices

With the new Pixel phones lineup, Google abandoned its philosophy of making affordable, powerful Android smartphones serving the purpose of showing how stock Android can work perfectly if the software is highly optimized. Nexus devices were sort of a showcase for new Android versions, presenting Android in a stock environment, picturing how a mobile OS can work flawlessly, but still enabling all new features on other phones, without any limits.

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With the launch of new Pixel brand, it seems Google wants to position itself as one of the premiere Android manufacturers, not just a software supplier. Instead of launching new models with Android Nougat just to show the new Android version, and to enable developers to own an Android device that works on vanilla Android, easing up their work of app building, Google decided to release exclusive, top-tier devices in the price range of this year’s flagship devices from Samsung and Apple.

In order to differentiate Pixel phones, Google made some Nougat features exclusive to its Pixel line. For instance, Google Assistant, which got unveiled earlier this year, during I/O event, is currently exclusive features, working only on Pixel phones. Owners of other Android phones can, in a way, try out Google Assistant, but only by using Google Allo app. Guys at XDA managed to make the intelligent app install on other phones running Nougat (both 7.0 and 7.1) but found some troubles when using it.

They installed it using two ways. One way includes rooting the device and changing some identifiers, while the other includes flashing of the zipped files directly to the device. Both methods work, but the results are less than impressive. When you finally install Google Assistant, expect for your phone to face some issues. For instance, “Ok Google” command doesn’t work on non-Nexus devices, the phone has high chances of randomly rebooting, camera app can crash, and the device won’t receive Android OTA updates. There are other known issues, but those are the most frequent ones.

In addition to disabling Google Assistant, Google also removed the Night Mode feature from Nexus devices. Night Mode worked by allowing devices to reduce the amount of blue light emitted from the screen during night hours, reducing eye-strain while reading content on the device. And while new Pixel devices shipped with improved Night Mode called Night Light Mode, which can’t work on older devices since it relies on screen drivers, Google removed even the basic Night Mode (which was already present) from its Nexus devices. This is just bad; it’s completely fine to introduce a new, hardware-based feature that just can’t work on older devices, but building exclusivity for new models by removing a feature that was already present on older devices is completely wrong.

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It’s sad to see Google trying to become a major Android phone manufacturer by removing some features from the new Android version, making the exclusive to its own Pixel phones. They should’ve done that years ago, they will just make manufacturers look for alternatives, and Android to become even more fragmented.

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