Yesterday, Google introduced a new part of its strategy with Pixel Phones: the so-called "Feature Drop". Google has bundled a number of software features that are (at least for now) available only to the Pixel series, and will be released in a major update, rather than kicking them out whenever they're ready. It's a new way for Google to publish software updates that are based on something that's not very good historically:
"We Are Going For a Quarterly Cadence [for the feature drops]" Vice President of Product Management Sabrina Ellis adds that "setting this type of structure in advance helps our teams understand how to set their development schedules." [1
The Best Reason for the Camera If you buy a Google Pixel phone instead of another Android phone, the pixel with Android software updates is guaranteed to be the first on the market. But this advantage really only feels tangible once a year – when the new version of Android comes out and pixel owners get a three- to six-month jump on the new software.
This year, the Pixel 4 has a muted receiver battery Especially the life on the smaller model is very disappointing and the video quality can not compete with the competition. And that's the problem: whatever software story Google has to tell about the pixel is overshadowed by the hardware story year after year.
This first feature drop contains many updates that may or may not be broadcast to other Android phones. Ellis calls her "Pixel-first". Interesting about this new way of working is that one of the features is launched This month, the Pixel 4 – improved memory management for background apps – to find its way to other Android phones, but perhaps only with the next version of Android.
That is, not just the pixel If you have software features a few months before other phones, they may be available more than a year earlier.
This system-level feature (which is urgently needed for the Pixel Line) is provided through a traditional system-level operating system update. However, most of the features that Google provides for Pixel phones are included in apps. In a sense, keeping some of these app updates for some features can be a delay as teams keep their releases for the next feature drop. The disadvantage, however, is that more users actually know that these features are even present – which was often not the case before.
I wrote earlier this year that Google can not fix the Android Update issue, but these infrastructure issues do not really apply to the pixel. But there's one more hassle that pixel owners are unlikely to get away so quickly: they will not be there for everyone at once.
Google believes in continuous updates, which are a "more responsible" way to send updates. A small group will pick you up first, just to make sure there are no unforeseen problems. Then more and more users get the update.
This method is amazing for reliably sending stable software updates to a large number of users (not those). The pixel still has huge numbers, but it's absolutely cruel to build hype. It undercuts the whole concept of "feature drop".
If you're one of the few Pixel 4 owners, yesterday you had the following experience: Oh, a decent software update with new features. I should get it. Oh, I do not have it. Alright. I'll check again. Good. That was disappointing. Exactly this experience happened to me by the way with my Pixel 4 XL.
Ellis admits it's not ideal: "I'd like to be where you get that drop, you'll get this notification and everything will be [available] .We are working on it."
To defuse this Google is using all of the tools available in Android to give users the moment of new features without fear of an update breaking their phone, a notification that has more context than usual, and Google will rely heavily on the Pixel Tips app to find the new features.
I hope Google has been my hobby horse for several years: take the cap Samsung has not conquered the Android world with the best mobile phone – though its phones were and are very good, they are probably the best – it won by being a bombastic, incredibly large and expensive perennial We campaign, which included Super Bowls, brand activations and deals to ensure that the phones are prioritized by airline staff.
I do not see Google triggering this type of campaign – either because it has no confidence in the product or because it simply does not want it institutionally. Maybe the company believes the pixel should win in its merits, maybe it does not want to insult partners like Samsung, or maybe it just thinks of the kind of gimmicks you have to play to get AT & T and Verizon to do yours Product to push forward just too disgusting. Probably all of the above.
I digress, sorry. As I said, it's a hobbyhorse.
One thing that is not said is that Google has a much better track record than Apple in terms of feature updates, especially in terms of apps. Apple tends to publish all of its new features in a big, annual monolithic update.
Ask yourself when Apple last updated the mail app between the major iOS versions. Hardly ever. Wondering when Google updated Gmail the last time? Probably it has been in the last one or two weeks.
But this cadence of nearly constant app updates means that most of these features are lost. Google is trying to resolve this issue by wrapping some of the pixel-specific content at greater moments with greater impact. The feature drop of this month is a first try. The more significant downturns will occur in three and six months. They will prove that Google is actually committed to this plan, and enable the infrastructure to be released in shorter time windows.
Ultimately, the problem is to be fixed by deleting features: The app updates from Google are hit like a spray gun, while those of Apple are hit like a water balloon. Both contain an equal amount of water, but one of them has much more impact.
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