After a week-long delay, the March 2022 Pixel Feature Drop arrived on Monday as a somewhat unexciting update. It would have been a total bust if it weren’t for the cross-device timers that appear in notifications at a glance and Google Assistant. (Fun fact: this feature—for whatever reason—doesn’t work with timers set on the Google Home Max.) Meanwhile, Pixel 7 and 7 Pro users will also benefit from the ability to use two eSIMs with Dual SIM Dual Standby. such as UWB digital car keys.
Magic Eraser for all Pixel phones was thought to be part of the Feature Drop after its announcement last month. It probably would have been better to hold that launch until this week. I don’t think older Pixel owners expected anything when Magic Eraser became a Google One feature for all subscribers. That expansion could easily have been the main capacity. Speaking of extensions, there’s Direct My Call (now Pixel 4a-5a) and Home for Me (Japan).
The other way Google could have struck a chord with this Feature Drop was by holding off the Pixel Watch Fall Detection and Pixel Buds Pro Head Tracking releases until yesterday. This quarter could have been the big accessory update, especially since there wasn’t anything too exciting for the phone. Personally, I’m surprised Watch Unlock wasn’t announced yet. The window for what launches before Android 14 closes.
I would argue that Android 13 QPR2 with its many bug fixes was the biggest deal for most users. The strange thing about it is how the March update is not yet available for the Pixel 6, 6 Pro or 6a as of yesterday. Google’s original Tensor chip is the shared factor, while the faster Night Sight feature is overshadowed.
Finally, there is the change to the Android Beta program. Google is no longer rolling out the stable release of Android 13 QPR2 to all users. Instead, you have to opt out to get it. You have to leave before Android 13 QPR3 Beta 1 rolls out later this week.
When exiting the program, avoid the downgrade by OTA. Telling users to avoid an update feels unsafe, especially since there is a high risk of users (going through the motions) accidentally accepting it and having their data wiped. That’s the big problem here, and Google should have exercised extreme caution instead. Now you have people concerned about this data repeatedly asking if it’s safe to leave the beta.
Video: Handy with all the new additions for the March 2023 Pixel Feature Drop
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