While most Android devices will soon operate on the upcoming Android 7.1 Nougat, only the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones will run the full range of features that the new OS offers.
Even Google's previous line of Nexus devices won't enjoy the upgrade as extensively as the company's new signature models will. And this just serves to heighten the unique appeal of the Pixel line.
Here are the features exclusive to Android 7.1 Nougat for the Google Pixel flagship smartphones:
Google Daydream VR
The Pixel and Pixel XL are, in no small way, "phones built for virtual reality," according to Google. Being the first two to support Google's VR platform Daydream, the flagship devices will allow for an immersive 3D experience of movies, concerts and sporting events as though Pixel users were physically there. Daydream on Android 7.1 Nougat will also let them play games and explore new worlds.
The Pixel phones will work with the Daydream View VR headset.
Like the voice-activated Google Now, the new Google Assistant uses natural language commands. With an ability to understand nuances in communication, such as followup questions and humorous jabs, however, Google Assistant is touted as smarter and snazzier than Google Now.
The new personal assistant can also make sense of items displayed on-screen to help users sort through their schedule and tasks, and conveniently launch third-party apps.
To use Google Assistant on the Pixel smartphone, simply press down on the Home Button and say "OK Google" and the interface will switch to speech bubbles showing the conversation.
Google Assistant may officially be exclusive to the Pixel smartphones, but that hasn't stopped other developers from editing into non-Pixel phones for these to run Google Assistant too.
Pixel Camera App With Unlimited Photo, Video Storage
One of the highly celebrated features of the Google Pixel flagships is their camera — rated the best smartphone camera in the mobile phone industry thus far. The Pixel phones are equipped with a slew of camera tricks, which are embedded in the Pixel Camera app designed specifically for the devices.
Among the Pixel Camera app features supported on Android 7.1 Nougat are Smart Burst, which is said to use artificial intelligence to choose the best out of a series of shots, and the default HDR+, which promises "zero shutter lag" even when taking rapid fire shots.
The Smart Burst mode is not entirely a novel feature since it was included in the Nexus 6P last year, but Android 7.1 on the Pixel phones will carry the latest and greatest version.
Retaining their original quality, photos and videos taken on Pixel phones will be safely stored on Google Photos without limit.
Because the Pixel phones do not allow for memory expansion via a microSD card, the system will automatically remove photos and videos already saved in the Google Photos cloud storage.
After having been renamed from Nexus Launcher to Pixel Launcher, the unique homescreen will (for now at least) be exclusive to the eponymous Pixel line. Google may, however, consider eventually porting it to Nexus devices, as some reports suggest.
The main features we know so far: the Pixel Launcher will include new homescreen shortcuts and the circular app icons, and will also have users swiping up to access the app drawer from favorites.
Customer Support 24/7
Google Pixel device owners who may run into a glitch can easily ask for assistance anytime — all thanks to the company's 24/7 customer support. From the Settings app, users can either text or call the help desk, and even share their screen with the customer assistant when walking through processes step by step.
Android 7.1 Nougat Beta Release
The new Android 7.1 Nougat firmware is included in the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones out of the box when the devices are released starting on Oct. 20. But the latest version of Nougat will also be released in beta for the Nexus line and other Android devices at the end of October.