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December Pixel Feature Drop: Hands-on with all the new additions [Video]

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The December 2021 Pixel Feature Drop is here, which means if you own a Pixel device, a flurry of new features are waiting for you to download.
The very latest Pixel Feature Drop has arrived alongside the December 2021 security patch, and it brings with it the very first set of new features for Android 12 devices — which means that we’ve gone hands-on. Beyond the bonus of the cleanest, smoothest version of Android running on your smartphone, if you do opt for a Pixel, Feature Drops are yet another enticing prospect for owners and prospective buyers. You’re getting some extra features and device improvements all lumped in with what would normally be just a regular update schedule. Unlike most other smartphones on the market from the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, and more, the December 2021 patch is not all that Google is adding with this regular monthly OTA update file. This OTA update includes a slew of extras, courtesy of the last Pixel Feature Drop of 2021. The latest “Drop” is actually a little later, courtesy of the later-than-usual Android 12 release. Even so, there are some nice features here that make being a Pixel user just that little bit more “exclusive.” That said, it is worth mentioning that some of these added extras might come to other Android devices, but at least for the time being, you won’t find them anywhere else. Subscribe to 9to5Google on YouTube for more videos No, you can’t fully customize the Power button with the December 2021 Pixel Feature Drop update, but you can tweak it slightly. The downside here is that you need to be using the “Hold for Assistant” feature. Provided you own a Pixel 3 or newer device, you’ll be able to tweak the activation length when pressing your on-device Power button. It can be adjusted as required so you can get access to your favorite voice assistant as quickly or slowly as you deem necessary. Google keeps expanding the massive suite of accessibility tools and the December 2021 Pixel Feature Drop continues that tradition. Via the Sound Amplifier app, Pixel phones are the very first such Android devices to gain a new audio enhancement “Conversation mode.” This features uses on-device machine learning to benefit those who are hard of hearing or with hearing impairments. By pointing your phone — via a camera UI — at any person you want to have a conversation with, the app will enhance audio and tune out background noise in loud environments. With the small viewfinder, you can identify just who you’re talking to, then pin the participant. Doing so allows you to put your phone down, and “Conversation mode” will continue to enhance their speech. All in all it’s yet another incredible new feature that goes above and beyond what we’d expect our smartphone to be able to do. Although the enhanced Now Playing search feature has been steadily rolling out over the past month or so, with the latest Pixel Feature Drop it is now officially coming to more devices.

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