google pixel xl vs nexus 6p quick look aa

The Pixel smartphones mark a bold new direction for Google. For the first time, the creator of Android is competing head-on with its partners, and Google is eager to differentiate its smartphones from the huge variety of Android devices already on the market.

To do so, the company equipped the Pixels with several interesting features. But right now it’s not clear which features are Pixel-only and which will arrive on other devices with Android 7.1.

Starting with the features that we know for a fact that are Pixel exclusive for the time being. First up, is Google Assistant – Google confirmed that the virtual assistant service will only be available on the Pixel and Pixel XL. The Pixel Launcher, with its opaque buttons and swipe up gesture for accessing apps will also be Pixel exclusive, along with the unlimited original Google Photos storage, and Smart Storage, which automatically cleans up space occupied by backed-up media. The integrated customer support app will obviously be Pixel only.

According to sources cited by Android Police, the Pixel will also have exclusivity on some cosmetic touches, like the color accents and the dynamic calendar icon, as well as some under-the-hood features including some camera features and sensor hub functionality.

As for the features coming to other devices once Android 7.1 rolls out, they include Daydream VR, night light (display color tweaks), fingerprint gestures, seamless updates, app shortcuts, and a few other developer features.

Google said Android 7.1 will roll out by the end of this year, starting with a developer preview. The Pixel C and all the Nexus devices that got Nougat are likely to receive the update.

Note that Google has not officially announced its plans for Android 7.1, so take the info above with a grain of salt. Let us know your thoughts!

Bogdan Petrovan
Bogdan is the European Managing Editor of Android Authority. He loves tech, travel, and fantasy. He wishes he had more time for two of those things. Bogdan's phone is a Nexus 6P.
  • Ionut

    They are making steps to a new OS, which will be Google only, while Android remains for the rest?

    • That’s not bad. All of the manufacturers are trying to do the same, and some of them so hard. Good example is Samsung with their shitty software. They are taking Android and making it “not Google” … Now Google are pissed off. It was about time.

      • Tizen forever!

        • maria.moore

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      • theforevermachine

        Samsung software is far from shitty, I could ramble off all the reasons, but it will likely have no effect against biased opinions

        • Don’t get me wrong, currently I am using Samsung device, but there are many things that are not made right. The software is inconsistent.

  • All these are just iOS, active calendar and clock, these are features?

    • Eklavya Verma

      ikr… I already have round icons and active calendar via icon packs, and instead of swiping right, a double tap on my home screen takes me straight to the Google app.

  • Dzikoo

    Pixel product-specific

    Pixel Launcher – swipe up for all apps, new Search Box, date/weather header on home
    Google Assistant
    Unlimited original quality photo/video backup to Google Photos
    Smart Storage – when storage is full, automatically removes old backed up photos/videos
    Phone/Chat support (new support tab in settings), screen-share functionality
    Quick switch adapter for wired setup from Android or iPhone
    Pixel Camera:
    Electronic Image Stabilization (“video stabilization”) 2.0
    Pro Features
    White Balance Presets
    Exposure Compensation
    AE/AF Locking
    Viewfinder grid modes
    HW-accelerated (on Qualcomm Hexagon coprocessor) HDR+ image processing
    Sensor Hub processor with tightly integrated sensors (accel, gyro, mag) + connectivity (Wi-Fi, Cell, GPS)
    Solid navbar icons with home affordance for Assistant
    SysUI accent color theming
    Wallpaper picker with new wallpapers and sounds
    New setup look and feel
    Dynamic calendar date icon

    Android Nougat 7.1:

    Night Light
    Touch/display performance improvements
    Moves (Fingerprint swipe down gesture – opt-in)
    Seamless A/B system updates
    Daydream VR mode
    Developer features:
    App shortcuts / shortcut manager APIs
    Circular app icons support
    Keyboard image insertion
    Fingerprint sensor gesture to open/close notification shade
    Manual storage manager Intent for apps
    Improved VR thread scheduling
    Enhanced wallpaper metadata
    Multi-endpoint call support
    Support for various MNO requirements
    PCDMA voice privacy property
    Source type support for Visual Voicemail
    Carrier config options for managing video telephony
    Manual storage manager – identifies apps and files and apps using storage

    • Raikozy

      ok, at least some of the features I am interested in are 7.1 features are not pixel. But there are so many nice features on the pixel. I might have to for the first time, see the need to root and possibly custom patch m 6p with some modded software to accommodate the lack of these pixel only features.

      • I like that Google Pixel holders will have a facility to get connected with the Google Pixel customer care and It’s allows Google Assistant to help you everywhere and anytime you need to get some help.

  • Gumbopudding

    This kind of changes future of Android. Let’s say they come up with a cool new idea. Normally they would throw it into the next update and call it a day. Their goal was making Android the best it can be but that is no longer their only goal.

    Now, they have to have a debate. “Pixel feature or Android feature?” If it’s a phone seller it may be bumped from Android to pixel. Would doze have been an Android or a pixel feature if it just came out now?

    How much motivation do they have to put killer features in android and not pixel exclusively? If good features show up in pixel and not Android will Samsung, lg, Motorola , Sony etc stop making Android phones? Not likely any time soon.

    • Adam Frost

      In the end Google makes the vast majority of their money off of advertising to users and collecting user data. Google is not going to hurt their overall mobile platform just to sell a few Pixel phones. Their number 1 goal is to have as many users as possible on their platform.

      I expect that they will want to get Google Assistant on as many devices as possible as well since that will be another opportunity to monetize search and collect user data.

      • Gumbopudding

        True. But they get a mass if information already, that’s why assistant works. Google and Android collects so much information that assistant just compiles it to be useful.

        Yes they can get even more data from it but they are trying a new launch of Pixel on a scale attempting to be the new apple. They can’t do that if the note 7,v20 the upcoming s8, or the half price 1+3 has the same big features. It’s a temporary loss of new monetization from search to plant Pixel firm in the marketplace. Releasing assist for all other smartphones would undercut one if their biggest selling points of the Pixel.

  • Christopher Rodriguez

    So will Pixel features come to Nexus devices? Specifically the 6P and 5X?

    • Hirnschlag

      7.1 will come end of 2016 as a beta. but without all new feature

      • freshprince_87

        It’s better than not getting it at all on your damn Samsung phone

        • pntless

          True, but if you did research prior to buying your phone, then that would have been the expected outcome. Up until 25 hours ago, the expected outcome of buying a Google device was full and prompt updates for at least a couple of years. That expectation went out the window at yesterday’s launch. They are every bit as unreliable as the rest now.

          • freshprince_87

            I think Pixel updates will be the same and as prompt as the nexus was. I can only hope for the best

    • Jehan Kateli


    • TeckGeek

      No, thats the point of the Pixel phnes, from now on they will have OS features exclusive to them, I know nexus phones are considered google’s too but they are old and google wants to push its new phones and its exclusivity road.

      • The Secret

        At just over a year it’s pretty poor show to turn the Nexus out to pasture. All this will do is fragment android more

        • Timmybadshoes

          Don’t worry. In a couple of years Google will do the same to the Pixel lineup. I am a huge android fan but my faith in the ecosystems Google builds is shakey at best. They are in a constant state of experimentation.

          • The Secret

            Exactly. What a reward to those who bought the 2015 Nexus.

          • freshprince_87

            Just wait and see before jumping into conclusions

          • pntless

            This outright abandonment of one-year-old devices may be what it takes to push me to iPhone… Thanks Google.

          • CR

            For sure. Google cares nothing about customer loyalty.

        • freshprince_87

          No it’s not!!

    • Mufaddal Miyajiwala

      it wont and Google has made that pretty clear but my fingers are crossed

  • Marty

    Google Assistant outside of Allo (replacing Now/OnTap) is all I care about being in 7.1+. It’s sure not enough to throw out my 2 month old 6P I got for $700 Pixel. I see the concept they are shooting for with Pixel-only but hopefully they’ll change their minds at least on Assistant. JMO.

  • Glenn Gore

    Android 7.1??? Really, we are worried about a new version of Android when the previous version is only available and installed on .4% of capable devices? LOL The whole Android OS situation is a complete joke. Even Google has jumped the shark on it with the new Pixel, since they are putting their own “skin” on top of stock Android. At least with the old Nexus line you got REAL stock Android. Now there won’t be a single phone model available from any manufacturer that has stock Android on it. With Google’s skin, carrier bloatware, other manufacturers’ “enhancements”, and the demise of Cyanogen and other mods, stock Android is now just a faint memory. And that is just sad, Android is a pretty good OS, you just won’t see it any more.

    • Gaspar Inostroza Pérez

      Isn’t Google’s Android the real “stock android” experience? Android is just used as a core by other OEMs that put their skins on top. Nexus stock Android wasn’t “barebones stock android” from source to begin with, AOSP-roms are the real “stock” (by your definition) experience and that’s without Google Play Services and Store. Pixel’s Android is the “real” stock android, and so is the one in Nexus phones, they just don’t share ALL the features.

      • Glenn Gore

        Not any more. On the Nexus phones, Android was pure stock experience, pretty much as pure as you could get. No skins, no custom icon set, no bloatware, no 3rd party launcher. Now, Google has placed their own skin, circular app icon set, launcher, and tweaks on top of that stock Android. The idea with Nexus was that users would receive Android updates on a timely basis instead of waiting for manufacturers and carriers to update their skins, launchers, and bloatware before passing on Android updates to their customers. Or they might not pass on those updates at all which is what most of them do.

        • Brandito

          AOSP is stock android, even the nexus line wasn’t pure aosp.

    • freshprince_87

      You got it wrong buddy. Pixel will running stock android just like the nexus did. The only difference between the two is that pixel has it’s own launcher called pixel launcher. There isn’t a skin over the stock android. It’s just the Pixel Launcher.Everything else in the phone will be stock android 7.1

      • Glenn Gore

        I guess my definition of “stock” is too strict. To me, stock is just that, stock. No custom launchers, no modifications of icons, custom applications, bloatware, etc that are not a part of basic Android. If you are making all icons circular, you are modifying what the app developers have submitted and what they originally intended their app icons to look like. If you include your own launcher, then you must be hiding the stock launcher in basic Android. That sort of thing. And when a new version of “stock” Android comes out, there must be a delay in pushing that new version out to customers because those custom icons and launcher will have to be updated in order to ship with the new OS. This custom launcher, etc just adds to the Android fragmentation problem.

        • freshprince_87

          This custom launcher won’t add to android fragmentation problem in my opinion. Everything else in the pixel phone for the most part is still stock except for the launcher. If you don’t like the Pixel launcher (like me), download Nova launcher or action launcher.

          • Aufar Ramadhan

            For me, stock android is an android b phone (of course) that if similar to AOSP. Not the same.
            But the Pixel devices aren’t stock anymore.
            They differentiate between AOSP with Google’s Pixel UI. Just look at its description. There are no “Pure/stock experience thingy etc.” words in its description. And there is “Best” in its description. Sayonara, stock. I’m gonna miss you

        • DDD

          Your definition isn’t super strict, but could use a little loosening up. Slapping the Pixel Launcher on top doesn’t really make it non-stock, as there aren’t many changes. I’m not sure on how the icons are done, so I can’t really say much on that. If it takes every single icon and fit them into a circle, then I can agree with you. These things wouldn’t affect release dates, as it’s merely a launcher, that doesn’t touch the back-end, like most other launchers. The launcher is all front-end, and since there isn’t much to the launcher, it can stay the same while the version is updated.

    • Orage42

      The way I see it, Pixel is the new stock Android. It’s the one Google will spend its time developing, supporting and updating. Just like all iPhones get the latest and greatest iOS version (down to a few generations of iPhones at least), Pixels will also see that same support. It’s a proven model (iPhone) which only worked to a small extent on the Nexus devices. Let’s face it, the Nexus line was all over the map, changing manufacturer, screen size, mid-tier to high-end specs every year. It had to go.

      Android finally has something to go head-to-head with Apple, year after year. A no hassle, instantly updated and uniform phone line. To me, that’s way more important than what Nexus ever was.

      I’ll say this though – the way Google handled it, the way they middle-fingered the Nexus line, is unacceptable. They should’ve at least updated the 5X and 6P with Google Assistant and the new launcher.

  • Keith Moore

    im pretty sure running Google Now Launcher on a Pixel, will be the most stock experience ever

  • metanup

    any info on audio latency? may bw atleast in pixel?

  • Yakuzah

    If Google Assistant is Pixel only, thats a big mistake and will start to fracture android as an Operating system! It’s bad enough waiting for manufacturers like Samsung to take a year to release updates, now your getting the same treatment from Google! Isolating existing nexus users from features that would clearly operate over existing hardware.

    Very silly, stupid idea. I understand driving people to Pixel phones, but you don’t see Apple providing different features, depending on what phone you own! it’s crazy.

    • Gaspar Inostroza Pérez

      Lol actually Apple DOES provide different features depending on the phone. Older phones don’t usually get all the good stuff from newer phones.
      And as for the Google Assistant, it is clearly that Google wants to make its’ ecosystem better and more unified, that’s what the Pixels are about. It’s understandable that non-Pixel phones don’t get the same stuff that Pixel phones get. It’s all about the “pure Google experience” “made by Google” and all that.
      This could have a very good result, being that OEMs like Samsung, HTC or LG choose to go for a more “near-stock” Android experience, and with that unifying the fragmented Android echosystem that we have today. That means only a few custom OEM-specific features, faster updates, better OS support overall, faster experience without all the bloat, and so on.

      • The Secret

        It’s much more likely to increase fragmentation. There is no real reference standard now that the Nexus was supposed to represent. Google have just become another OEM adding extra to the system

        • freshprince_87

          That’s not going to happen whether you want to believe it or not. Google’s reason for releasing Pixel, is to unify the android experience for android users and help reduce fragmentation of android

          • DDD

            How does the PIxel help fix fragmentation?

          • freshprince_87

            Only time will tell .if Pixel is successful and majority people began using Pixel instead of other OEMs flagships like note 7,s7, or HTC 10. That could be start of the reduction of fragmentation. Smaller companies would probably die off in that case

          • CR

            “Only time will tell” = I have no indication that it will.

          • freshprince_87

            That’s your opinion. No one knows how well Pixel will sale or perform. It could be the iPhone killer or just another failed nexus. Like I said No one knows

          • DDD

            That’s quite literally the opposite of alleviating fragmentation. You don’t help it by throwing another competitor in the mix.

          • freshprince_87

            Since you think you know it all. How do you think the fragmentation problem can be fixed?

          • DDD

            I never said or implied that I know it all. I don’t need to have an answer to it to tell that what you’re saying doesn’t work.

          • freshprince_87

            I never said I was right either. I’m just stating what could happen. Never said it would happen. BTW I asked you a question directly towards you about android fragmentation (the question has nothing to do with me). Your response “is I don’t to have an answer”. You can’t even answer the question.

          • DDD

            It doesn’t matter if you said you were right or not. That’s not something that will work. It makes the problem worse. Oh look: quote mining. Incorporate the next two words into that quote and you’ll see that I did answer the question.

          • freshprince_87

            Dude you’re a fucking idiot! Forget about what I said about fixing android fragmentation You still did not answer my question about how you think android fragmentation problem can be fixed. You don’t have an answer that’s why!!.all you keep saying is what I said won’t work.

          • DDD

            You’re the one yapping about me not answering a question I did answer yet I’m the idiot? I’m pretty sure I made it clear that I don’t have any sort of plan as to what would fix it. Does that change anything? Nope. A I an idiot for not having one? Nope. I never pretended to have some elaborate ingenious plan or anything. I merely stated that you’re wrong, which you blatantly are. You saying that I don’t have a plan doesn’t insult or affect me in any way. How about you go sit in the corner until you can calm yourself.

    • Adam Frost

      When Google Assistant is ready for prime time I think they want it on as many devices as possible because they want as many opportunities as possible to monetize search and collect user data. That is why they are making Google Assistant an open platform to be integrated in as many devices as they can get it in to. They want Google Assistant in your refrigerator and car etc.

      • pntless

        Just not on your one-year-old Nexus phone…

  • Noah Van Tiggel

    An entire new android version for what? Improved touch and daydream VR and some other shit? This should be android 7.0.1 and not 7.1 definitely for non pixel phones

    • Brandito

      What does it matter where they put the .1? It’s a mostly arbitrary system to begin with.

  • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

    Another article with no information. Hope you enjoyed your $35 for writing it.

  • Handheld Addict

    Fingerprint gestures coming to other devices with 7.1? Yay! Hope that means 6P/5X

  • RND TV

    featuring Team Silicon Valley & Daredevil

  • Jason Wilson

    I thought Nexus 5X/6P also had free unlimited storage at original resolution within Google Photos…….no?

  • CR

    I just checked out the price and features of the V20. If I were going to buy a new phone I’d definitely go for it looking before a Pixel XL. Even if it means dropping Project Fi.

  • DDD

    Oh dear god those icons look terrible. I do see what you mean now. It doesn’t feel like stock. It doesn’t affect fragmentation though, seeing as it’s Pixel would still be getting the latest updates. Seeing as these things are almost exclusively front-end, it would affect the release date of the updates. Fragmentation refers to the back-end only.
    You most likely get that confirmation. Pixel is owned by Google. They only need to wait till they have it working on the Pixel then release it for the Pixel and Nexus devices simultaneously. You won’t know how long the Pixel delay is, and I doubt there will be one, unless you have links on the inside.