Last year, Google announced that it would be packaging new features for its Pixel phones into “feature drops” and releasing them every three months. The first feature drop for Pixels arrived in December 2019 and the second one is due this month.
It appears the March 2020 feature drop will bring several new features including dark mode scheduling, Cards & Passes, play/pause Motion Sense gesture, and car crash detection. The folks over at 9to5Google found out these details when they decompiled an updated version of the Pixel Tips app.
There’s no confirmation that Google will ship all or any of these features in the March 2020 feature drop. However, 9to5Google notes that a file named “tips_sw_201912a.json” found inside the Pixel Tips app contained the features that were part of the December 2012 feature drop.
Now a similar file named “tips_sw_202003a.json” has been inside Pixel Tips v2.0.1 (6231163) with four new features. Interestingly, Google seems to have now pulled the Pixel Tips update from the Play Store.
March 2020 feature drop for Google Pixel
Google released the first Android 11 Developer Preview earlier this month and it included the ability to schedule Dark mode. However, it appears Pixel owners will not have to wait until the stable release of Android 11 to enjoy this feature. It may arrive on their Android 10-running phones this month itself.
Dark mode scheduling allows users to set a custom schedule for dark mode, or set it to activate/deactivate automatically at sunset/sunrise.
The Cards & Passes feature has been around since Android 10 was in beta but is yet to be released. It also appeared in the last Pixel Tips update in December 2019 but didn’t find life in the first feature drop.
The feature that will make cards in your Google Pay wallet accessible through the power key menu might finally arrive with March 2020 feature drop.
With the new play/pause Motion Sense gesture, Pixel 4 users will be able to quickly play/pause or skip music with simple gestures. An “air tap” above the phone will play/pause the music while swiping left or right will skip songs.
This gesture was also a part of the Android 11 Developer Preview 1. However, it may arrive on compatible Pixel phones this month.
The Pixel 4’s Personal Safety app and its car crash detection feature may also be officially available for older Pixels with the March 2020 feature drop. With this feature, your Pixel will automatically call emergency services if it detects you’d been in a car crash. The Personal Safety app can already be sideloaded and used on older pixels, though.
Google will likely begin rolling out the March 2020 feature drop this week with the March security patch. We’ll have to wait and see if all of the four new features make the cut.