Earlier this week, Google announced the first “Feature Drop” update for its Pixel smartphones. The update brings a host of new features to the Pixel lineup, including the ability to add portrait effect to older photos, a scam call filter, and more, as well as some exclusive features and updates to apps like Google Duo and Photos.
It appears not all the items in the feature drop are Pixel-exclusive, though. In an interview with The Verge, Google’s vice president of product management, Sabrina Ellis, said that the new memory management feature, which is also a part of the feature drop, should make its way to other Android phones as well. Sabrina, however, suggested that this may not happen until the next version of Android.
Google improves Pixel’s memory management capabilities
Google’s Pixel smartphones aren’t among the bests when it comes to memory management. From the original Pixel through to Pixel 3, these devices have had some issues with keeping background apps in memory. Google is looking to address those issues with the new improved memory management feature. This new feature is rolling out to all Pixel devices.
With this enhancement, Pixel phones “proactively compress cached applications so that users can run multiple applications at the same time.” And while it’s not clear as to exactly what Google has changed to improve memory management, it appears the enhancement is not a Pixel-specific optimization, but a change in the Android platform itself, as the feature will be available for non-Pixel phones as well, albeit with Android 11 in some cases.
Having said that, the next version of Android will not arrive until the end of summer next year. It won’t even be in beta until this spring, so there’s plenty of time before all non-Pixel Android smartphones get the new improved memory management feature.
This is a smart move on Google’s part, though. One of the biggest selling points of the Pixel phones is that they get feature updates before all others. With the introduction of the feature drop, Google will now bundle a bunch of software features, which may include some platform-level updates as well, and release them for Pixel phones regularly. The company is looking to release feature drops on a quarterly basis. Not every phone maker will be willing to do so. Instead, they’ll wait for the next version of Android to implement all of the changes at once.
The first feature drop update is already rolling out and will hit all Pixel units over the next few weeks.