Google releases Android 7.1 alongside its Pixel phone

Google's release of its first home-designed smartphone is making a few waves around the internet. A few journalists at today's Google event tried out the Pixel handset and came away fairly impressed. They also noticed an interesting detail: the Pixel is running Android 7.1. According to a report by The Verge, this marks the official announcement of the new version of Android.

The Pixel phones have unique features like a 24/7 support assistant and free unlimited photo upload capability. The Verge says that many new features in Android 7.1 should nevertheless be available for mass consumption on supported handsets. The site claims that non-Pixel devices will get Night Light (automatic screen white point adjustment à la iOS Night Shift), support for Daydream VR on compatible devices, new fingerprint scanner gestures, "touch and display improvements," and "developer-focused enchancements," which we take to mean API updates.

The Verge didn't specify which Google devices will be able to enjoy the new flavor of Nougat, but we'd hazard a guess the list is still "Nexus 5X and newer." Knowing Google's speedy update history, those devices should receive a system update in short order. As for existing Android handsets from other manufacturers, we estimate the update will arrive roughly when porcine creatures sprout airflow-based flight appendages.

Comments closed
    • flip-mode
    • 6 years ago

    With the phones being sold by Verizon with the usual carrier discount applied on contract, I wonder if these could sell in decent quantities. If I was a Verizon customer this would be the phone I’d choose.

    • TheJack
    • 6 years ago

    How many of these phones are they going to sell? 20?
    I think a big chunk of the high price is due to low quantity production.

    • willyolio
    • 6 years ago

    not a fan of the big fat chin… feels like there should have been a button or fingerprint reader there, then they forgot it.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    I think the reviews will be splendid, but I need somebody who understands the excellent battery life of an iPhone 6S Plus to review it. There’s a world of difference between the life I get out of that 2750 mAh battery in the iPhone and the 3000 mAh battery in the Galaxy S7. I want something closer to the former. Every review of the S7 (for example) talks about “battery lasted a day and a half!!!!” when I just don’t (for whatever reason) get those same results. I’m almost always having to hit the charger around 7:30 or 8:00 because it’s crying about low battery at that point in the day.

    • nerdrage
    • 6 years ago

    My guess is that – yes – the unlocked Google store version will work on Verizon, but as you said, I will let someone else play guinea pig.

    Like you, I’m also sticking with Verizon for now… so if the Google store version [b<]does[/b<] work, I will most likely be purchasing the smaller Pixel at some point in the near future, assuming reviews are good.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    Yeah, and Evan Blass also said on Twitter to expect the Verizon model to not have an unlockable boot loader yesterday, too, Verizon seems to have confirmed that.

    So then it comes down to, will the unlocked version work on Verizon? The listing on Google’s store supports all the CDMA bands for both Verizon and Sprint, but I’ll let Droid Life play guinnea pig with that. They seem to be the best source of what unlocked devices work on CDMA networks.

    And then it comes down to, do I want to spend $750 (Pixel regular size + big storage) on yet another phone. The answer there kind of feels like no.

    • nerdrage
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]I wonder if the Pixel from Verizon will get timely updates. If it will, I could go back easily.[/quote<] [url<]http://www.businessinsider.com/google-pixel-verizon-android-updates-unlocked-2016-10[/url<] [quote<] Nevertheless, I’d still recommend buying the unlocked verion if possible. [b<]Alhough Verizon said its Pixels will receive Google’s security updates at the same time as the unlocked models, [u<]it couldn't confirm whether it will provide full Android updates at the same time Google will[/u<] with the non-carrier version.[/b<] {snip} Given that the promise of fast Android updates is the biggest benefit of buying a Google phone in the first place, it’s hard to justify putting that at risk. And since the unlocked model supports CDMA networks like Verizon's in the first place, buying the Nexus way should prove more convenient in the long run. [b<]Also, Verizon confirmed you won’t be able to unlock the Pixel's bootloader, meaning you won’t be able to root the device and install custom software (or different versions of Android).[/b<] [/quote<]

    • BurntMyBacon
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]I know it sounds like an apple-fanboyish thing to say... [/quote<] Sounds like an accurate, if frustrating account of your personal experiences to me, but whatevs. Even fanboys have the right to their opinion and have even been known, on occasion, to be correct.

    • BurntMyBacon
    • 6 years ago

    These are not the … phones … you’re looking for.

    • BurntMyBacon
    • 6 years ago

    Wish I had more thumbs to give you, but I need my other one for writing. ;’)

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    That’s a truth too hard to ignore. Their neural network and deep learning algorithms are starving for data, and if you have adequate space on your device then you’re not putting stuff on their servers.

    • Skid
    • 6 years ago

    Excellent rant.

    • EzioAs
    • 6 years ago

    [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dXalTJbKdk[/url<]

    • trackerben
    • 6 years ago

    “What’s this?”
    “What is what”?
    “What is that?”
    “iPixel.”
    “He says it’s nothing, sir,
    merely a malfunction.”
    “Old data. Pay it no mind.”

    • mkk
    • 6 years ago

    Help me LG-Kenobi, you’re my only hope.

    • BabelHuber
    • 6 years ago

    This is why I only buy Android phones which can be bootloader-unlocked.

    I bought the European version of the LG G5 in April when my good old SGS4 died. I unlocked it, rooted it and removed all this crappy LG bloat and installed Google launcher, phone and contacts.

    Add Xposed, Greenify and Amplify and you have fantastic battery runtime. Under light use, it lasts 3 days now, with heavy use it always brings me through the day. Oh, and it supports SD cards and has a removable battery.

    On the negative side, security updates are slow and CM doesn’t work correctly yet (no back camera yet). But when CM gets its bugs ironed out, it will be a hell of a device.

    The sad thing is that companies like LG simply suck at software development. They should sell their devices with AOSP instead of trying to be different via crappy Android-forks.

    And they should stop to lock their bootloaders, I wouldn’t have bought the phone if it had been locked down. I don’t get why the US versions are locked at all, it really does more harm than good to LG.

    .

    • UberGerbil
    • 6 years ago

    I’m not sure it’s entirely about thickness in the case of SD, but it certainly is about Google: they’d much rather you give them your data than store it on the phone. If they don’t make it easy for you to have expandable storage, you’re more likely to hand them your digital life to sell back to you via advertising.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    I’m extremely frustrated with the state of flagship phones at this point. Everything is a compromise or an unfulfilled promise, and either way it’s gonna run you $650-900 to fall short.

    You mentioned a couple big ones, but on top of that, the micro SD format continually falls short. The Galaxy S7 micro SD reader consistently falls short of the read speeds advertised by my Sandisk micro SD card. The camera does not take sharp photos without either absolute middle-of-the-day sunlight or being up close and using the flash. The battery life is almost enough for a day’s use. The fingerprint reader is a little fidgety, because it’s so wide. You can only lay your finger across it.

    Even with the iPhone, there are compromises. The lack of OLED displays sucks. The resolution on the 4.7″ model is not sufficient these days. If the GPU is powerful enough to run a virtual 2208×1242 display (which is what the iOS Simulator bundled with Xcode renders), then why can’t the smaller phone get a higher-resolution display? Despite what Steve Jobs said about the human eye, 300 lines isn’t small enough to take away aliasing. The iPhone 7’s headphone jack situation sucks. I use headphones every day with my phone, and I don’t particularly care for the Ear Pod design. A dongle is only going to get lost. Fast internal storage is fantastic, but it’d be nice to not have to waste that on my MP3 collection.

    Oh, and the bezels. Holy crap. I took both phones out of their cases (iPhone 6S Plus and SGS7) and despite only a 0.3″ difference in display size, and despite Samsung’s extra capacitive buttons needing room, the Galaxy S7 is SO MUCH smaller than the iPhone of roughly equivalent display size. Even the Galaxy S7 Edge is a full 8mm shorter and 5mm narrower, and it has a larger display. You could lose the “Edge” in Galaxy S7 Edge and put the iPhone’s display in its tinier body. An iPhone 6 is basically the same size as the smaller Galaxy despite its much smaller display. THAT is where dimensions matter, not the ever-dumber quest to make a thinner phone. Get with it, Apple!

    For these prices there should be no compromise. Lenovo came close with the Moto Z Force – huge battery life, a micro SD slot, a well-liked display, and so on. But oh, wait, it comes with the new Motorola’s awful software support. Smaller manufacturers come at it a different way, like OnePlus giving you compromise but for much less cost. Unfortunately there’s no CDMA support and I refuse to get off Verizon’s network. That’s on me, I know.

    I feel like these days we’re getting far less than what we’re paying for. Sorry for the rant. It’s not your fault.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    If it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for you. I’m certainly not going to flame you or call you a fan boy for it. It’s unfortunate that Google hasn’t gotten idle battery use down to the iPhone level yet. A 3000mAh battery would last me for a couple days in such a case. But such is life, I guess. Since I only speak English I haven’t seen any of the localization issues you have but that doesn’t negate your experience either.

    Apple’s ecosystem isn’t (in my opinion) better or worse than Google Play, but once you’re into something with real money it’s hard to walk away.

    • brucethemoose
    • 6 years ago

    We wouldn’t have all those problems if Google wasn’t trying to make an Android iPhone.

    MicroSD and waterproofing (or a removable battery, pick one) wouldn’t be that hard to add with a few extra mm in thickness. But Apple has convinced manufacturers that consumer’s buying decisions are almost exclusively based on microscopic thickness differences, so they cut out more and more features to get it down.

    • Shobai
    • 6 years ago

    Hey Bruno,

    “At the today’s” – second sentence probably needs a word removed

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 6 years ago

    It is a shame that in the mobile world we have to compromise between hardware and software updates; sure the Nexus and iPhones have a good update record, but then you miss key hardware features like mSD card slots, removable batteries, and in new iPhone’s case, a standard headphone jack.

    It also sucks that important security updates are often tied to large scale design changes; in the desktop world one can set up Windows (well maybe not so much anymore with Windows 10) or a LTS version of Linux, and have everything look and work the same for years, while still getting security updates. In the phone world you don’t get that stability of user experience. Honestly, if there was a Kitkat LTS version, I would prefer using that to later versions of Android. I really am not a fan of “Material design”; I think the head design person for it at Google had a pair of sunglasses glued to their face as a joke, but unfortunately they haven’t noticed yet.

    I will say that I much prefer to deal with poor software and lack of updates situation than limited hardware; many phones have a good selection of third-party ROMs available, fixing the software issues. [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tqH-Un9SFU<]Good luck drilling a headphone port[/url<] in your new iPhone.

    • christos_thski
    • 6 years ago

    I know it sounds like an apple-fanboyish thing to say… but everything in android seems “half baked” to me. so many good innovative ideas, so rarely carried to fruition. my android had greek voice dictation before iphones : it literally transcribed “full stop” and “comma” in greek instead of simply entering the characters (ios got it right when it offered greek dictation a year later, android’s STILL hasn’t ). that’s useless. and they never fixed that! android had so much configurability before ios, only it rarely worked for me as it should. I’ve even flirted with returning to android on account of messing with google “cardboard” vr. got a VR headset to try with my girlfriend’s android phone… the experience was, again, one of poor execution. android phones have come to 3000mah batteries, they end up draining as fast as the much smaller capacities on iphones. I’ve returned to android time and again, only to see android smartphones begin snappy and fast, and pick up some kind of crud and slow to a crawl over 2 years’ worth of use. my iphones haven’t done that and I haven’t felt the need to “reset” (reformat) after using for a time…

    I really hate being locked into apple’s ecosystem, but android is supposed to have “gotten it right this time, for real” every year I’ve tried…. only to be disappointed.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    Same here, but it’s weird…after a year of using iOS I just…don’t like it so much. I thought I was happy with my iPhone 6S Plus until I was given a Galaxy S7 for development purposes in July. Now I find that I’m using the S7 instead of the phone I’m actually paying for.

    I wonder if the Pixel from Verizon will get timely updates. If it will, I could go back easily.

    • cmrcmk
    • 6 years ago

    Which is one of the big reasons why I just switched from Android to iOS.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    This part is dead-on, though: “we estimate the update will arrive roughly when porcine creatures sprout airflow-based flight appendages”

    • morphine
    • 6 years ago

    Good catch, thanks.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    Android Police said [url=http://www.androidpolice.com/2016/05/19/current-nexus-devices-will-not-get-the-new-seamless-update-feature-from-android-n/<]way back when[/url<] that none of the old Nexus devices support "seamless updates" since it requires a second partition. Another article on [url=http://www.xda-developers.com/current-android-devices-are-unlikely-to-receive-android-ns-seamless-update-feature/<]XDA Developers[/url<] explained why.

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