Ported Pixel Features And How To Get Them

One of the biggest reasons to buy Google's new Pixel devices is the slew of exclusive features that they have on board thanks to the newest version of Android, version 7.1 (Nougat). While some of the new features, such as Daydream VR support, rely on the Pixel hardware and will be difficult if not impossible to replicate, intrepid parties have already ported many of the new features out of the Pixel lineup and made them available to the masses. Despite the Pixels just launching recently, due to most of their code being available upstream for a while now, developers have had access to the new features long enough to get most of them backported.

For starters, one of the simpler features to get on your device, compatible with almost any Android device out there running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and up, is the new Pixel Launcher. It sports a new, distinctly Google look, but doesn't have much going for it in the way of functionality. If you really want it, of course, a quick Google search will net you the APK file, which can be sideloaded on practically any modern phone or tablet. For those who want to stick with the launcher that they have right now, the look can be replicated with the Polycons icon set from the Play Store or the icon set at the source link, and a special set of Pixel widgets for the Zooper Widget suite. In order to use those packs, you'll need to shell out $2.99 for the Pro version, well worth it for most seasoned tinkerers. In Nova, you can also emulate the Pixel Launcher dockbar by setting a transparent dockbar background and having your app drawer accessible by swiping up from the dockbar.

Three more of the new Pixel features that users of other devices can get their hands on are Google Assistant, Pixel Dialer, and the new Google Camera, but there's a catch; for the new Google Camera, only the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P on Nougat can use it right now. If you meet those qualifications, you'll find the download over at XDA Developers.  Pixel Dialer can be found via the source link or a quick Google search. For Assistant, you'll need a rooted device with a custom recovery, running Nougat, and signed up for the Google App beta. The procedure is a bit on the complicated side; you'll have to grab three zip files, put them in the root of your storage, then flash them. An alternative method involves manually editing your build.prop file, but you'll still have some flashing to do. After you reboot, clear your Google App data, reboot again, and a long-press of the home button should bring up Assistant from any screen. Naturally, since it's a shoehorned workaround, you very well may experience app crashes and other trouble.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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