As you probably know our first contact with the Pixel 6 Pro, and Android 12 in general, was not the best: the hardware has great potential, but there are some software flaws that make it difficult to recommend. But apparently, Google is working really hard to improve
With the December Pixel update, released in the past few hours, the meat on the fire is a lot – not only are there a new one Feature Drop and the security patch of December, but (and we would say above all) we find about 100 bugs fixed – both Pixel specific and Android 12 in general. In order not to miss anything, Google has also announced new firmware for Pixel Buds Serie A.
It is important to note that this should be one of the latest software updates before the launch of the two latest generation devices also on the Italian market – the hope, in short, is that by that time the software has reached an appropriate level of maturity.
ALMOST 100 BUG FIX: THE ” TRUE ” ANDROID 12 STABLE?
We won’t list them all because it doesn’t really make sense, but we can summarize the situation like this: many of the problems that have emerged in recent weeks, like Assistant’s “ghost” calls, the fingerprint scanner being too slow, the camera quality below expectations, the flickering screen and the audio problems via Bluetooth have been solved (at least, on paper, of course). As for the more generic Android 12, they have been implemented as many as 26 fixes for the graphical interface only (including the one for the problem of the colors of the notification curtain that we had shown you in one of the latest direct on Instagram).
The patch is already in distribution on all the old Pixels from 3a onwards (Pixel 3 and 3 XL will receive the OTA in the first quarter of 2022) and the OTA / Factory Images are available for download. As for Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, the distribution should start next week, at the same time as the release of the Factory and OTA Image. As usual, it will take a few days to arrive on all devices; the first feedback seems quite enthusiastic: the opinion that transpires is that this, finally, is the “real” Android 12 stable and definitive.
THE SECURITY PATCHES
This month’s Android patches close in total 49 security holes: 17 for those of the 1st day of the month and the remaining 32 for those of the 5th day. The severity level ranges from high to critical; the most serious concerns a “familiar face”, so to speak, that is the multimedia framework: it could have allowed the execution of unauthorized code through an especially infected file.
In addition to the “generic” Android security patches, whose code also goes to other manufacturers for implementation and distribution on their devices, there are Pixel-specific closed flaws. The bulletin counts in total 85 entries, with moderate and high severity levels (nothing critical).
FEATURE DROP: THE UWB FOR PIXEL 6 PRO IS COMING AND MORE
This month’s Feature Drop is also pretty rich; the main novelty is the activation of the wireless communication protocol UWB on the Pixel 6 Pro, which had been disabled at launch (evidently it wasn’t ready yet). Thanks to this technology, which allows the precise location (direction and distance) of other objects with the same transceiver, Google says that its Nearby Share software functionality (simplified transfer of images, videos, links, maps, documents, and other files, a little AirDrop style) will be even more powerful and versatile.
For the rest, we point out:
- Possibility of specifying how long to press the power button to invoke Google Assistant
- The proprietary Pixel app Sound Amplifier, designed for users with hearing difficulties, is the first to offer a “conversation mode”: the user points the camera at his interlocutor, the system understands which sound to focus on and reduces all background noise. Once the system has been calibrated, the smartphone can be put down.
- On Pixel 6 Pro, 6, 5, and 4a 5G it is now possible to set a gesture for launch Snapchat directly from the lock screen: it is called Quick Tap to Snap.
PIXEL BUDS SERIES A: LOWER AND SMARTER CONNECTIVITY
If all that is still not enough, there is also a firmware update for the TWS Pixel Buds A earphones. Firmware version 282, which will be released in the next few days, will include:
- Lower: the slider for the bass booster now goes from -1 to +4; Google says it’s essentially double the current range.
- Better equalization for bass and treble at low volumes (loudness compensation).
- Connectivity: If the last device used with the earphones is not available, they will try to connect to the penultimate one. For example, if I was using them with my laptop but it is now turned off, they will automatically connect to the smartphone (assuming they have been connected previously).