When Google first announced that they will be bringing feature drops for their Pixel devices, people weren’t really sure what’s the difference between that and the regular updates that they bring. While it may really be just a marketing ploy especially with the use of the word “drops” (mostly used by fashion brands), this is also their way of letting users remember the new features they’re actually getting that are mostly exclusive to Pixel devices or at least Pixel-first treats.
According to The Verge, these feature drops are a way for the updates to become more “tangible” for users. Google’s Vice President of Product Management Sabrina Ellis says that the are looking at quarterly drops so that not only will users expect something big every 3 months or so, but this is also for their internal teams to set their development timelines. They are also hoping that Pixel owners (and potential ones) will get excited for these exclusive features or if it’s not exclusive, at least they get it ahead of other Android users.
This may also be their way of drumming up interest for the Pixel 4 which has not been so well received because of its poor battery life (at least the small version) and not so impressive video quality. However adding more features regularly to your device can only take you so far. The hardware has to match and keep up, especially since users have a lot of choices when it comes to Android smartphones.
The first Pixel feature drop brought several new and improved things to the table, or rather, the phone. You get things like the ability to make creative portraits even after you’ve taken the picture already. The Duo video calls also have new things like auto-framing, adjusting when there is another person on the screen, predicting the next likely sound you make if you have spotty audio, and other things to make your audio and video calls better.
However, Google’s habit of rolling out updates gradually may not work well with the hype of a feature drop. When you want to create excitement for new features, you have to make sure that when you announce it, the update is already there. With a lot of the updates that Google rolls out, users sometimes have to wait a while for it to get there and so the excitement dies. Let’s see after this first feature drop how they will be able to adjust.