On Monday, Google pushed out the March Feature Drop for eligible Pixel models (which this year starts with the Pixel 3a line and runs through the Pixel 6 series). Google does this every three months so the next feature drop will come in June (we will give you a more precise date later in this article). And those with a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro are once again going to receive it later than other Pixel users. This is the fourth time that an update has been delayed or pulled for Google’s latest Pixel phones.
The update should surface for Pixel 6 series users later this month which is not helping Google establish credibility as it seeks to make a dent in the Apple-Samsung duopoly. Google has usually been able to correct bugs and improve optimizations via software updates. But when an issue prevents Pixel users from receiving these updates, there is a major problem here.
New Feature Drop splash screen reveals new features added in the update
As for the other Pixel models that were not only eligible to receive the update but were also able to have it installed, it seems that a new splash screen will surface that reveals all of the changes made to one’s Pixel because of the latest feature drop. Noticed by 9to5Google, when the update was downloaded on a Pixel 3a (which was then unlocked), the phone opened to a page with the heading “Your Pixel got more helpful.”
Google’s Pixel Feature Drop splash screen at left leads to more pages with information about the update. Credit 9to5Google
On the page were two cards promoting the new battery widget, and the feature that converts text into custom stickers. Buttons on the bottom of the page give you the options to “Go to Tips,” or “Skip.” But this splash screen appears to have a limited rollout as it was seen only on the aforementioned Pixel 3a which is running Android 12L following an OTA update from Android 12 (with the February security patch).
When tapping the notification that says, “Learn what’s new,” you are taken to a page that includes the cards for the Custom text stickers and the Battery widget. On the bottom of the page are boxes that users are invited to press. These boxes have titles like New on Android (Explore the latest features), The Essentials (Find apps, change settings quickly, and more), Navigation, and Smart Features.
Pick up the Google Pixel 6 Pro
This aggressive move by Google to promote the feature drop is a good idea since it helps users find and understand the changes made to their phones. It also bringa sense of excitement to Pixel users who look forward to receiving some useful new features four times a year. And as we promised in the first paragraph, If you are a Pixel user, the June Feature Drop should take place June 6, 2022, and we hope that by then, delays for Pixel 6 series updates are a thing of the past.
How can Google make amends to frustrated Pixel 6 owners?
Now let’s talk about what is happening with the failure of Google to update the highly touted Pixel 6 series. First, to be fair, we need to mention that this writer uses the Pixel 6 Pro as his daily driver. And with all the things that are going on in the world, getting an update a little later than expected is not so important.
Having said that, this is not an excuse that Google can cite for screwing up repeatedly. And throwing a $10 coupon at the problem is not a panacea. Google could make amends by adding a fourth year of Android support to the Pixel 6 line like Samsung offers for its Galaxy S22 series. Google should be embarrassed by seeing a competitor add an additional year of support for an operating system that Google developed.
Currently, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are slated to receive Android 13, Android 14, and Android 15. As a comparison, last year Apple offered iOS 15 to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Both of those models were released in 2015 and run features like Focus and Widgets without any issues.