Google Pixel 3 May Boast Improved Networking Capabilities

The Google Pixel 3 lineup may boast improved networking capabilities, as suggested by one Android Open Source Project commit recently discovered by XDA Developers. The repository filing mentions HAL V_1_2, a new version of the Hardware Abstraction Layer meant to connect the Android framework to any particular hardware, with the author of the commit explicitly stating the technology "only supports [the] Pixel 3." The revised HAL platform will serve as a basis for a new "Auto Selection Network UI" functionality which also won't be available on previous Pixel-series devices, another commit suggests. The name of the feature and the fact that it was mentioned in the context of cellular connectivity hints at some improved networking capabilities meant to be implemented into the Pixel 3 family, with some industry watchers speculating the solution will allow for continuous real-time network scanning, whereas the current version of the functionality only lists all nearby networks at once after it's done searching for them.

The new HAL build is part of Android P, the next major iteration of Google's mobile operating system that recently launched in the form of a first developer preview build. As the original Pixel flagship series debuted with Android Nougat and last year's Pixel 2 lineup launched with Android Oreo, the upcoming family of high-end smartphones is likely to run Android P out of the box. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are expected to be announced in October, about a year after their predecessors were unveiled, and Android P should already hit the stable channel by then, according to Google's official product roadmap disclosed several weeks back.

Another commit discovered in the Gerrit Code Review repository appears to indicate that the Pixel 2 already supports the new version of HAL, suggesting the author of the first filing is either mistaken or is referencing a different feature altogether. At least one Pixel 2 owner running the experimental version of Android P claims their device already performs continuous network scanning so even if it's not compatible with HAL V_1_2, the possibly revamped networking functionalities referenced by the other AOSP contributor as Pixel 3 exclusives may pertain to something else entirely. Real-time network discovery supported by Android P is enabled by the new NetworkScan API, the latest findings reveal. The aforementioned commit is also the first known mention of the Pixel 3 flagship family whose existence has yet to be officially confirmed by Google.

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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