It looks like there could end up being at least one exclusive Google Pixel 3 feature that’s not available on previous Pixel models. The exact nature of the feature is rather unclear, but those who spotted the code pointing to it do have some ideas. It’s also important to preface this article by making it clear that these are just speculations about the next-generation Pixel, as it’s still far too early to know anything concrete.
Is this an exclusive Google Pixel 3 feature?
XDA Developers spotted a line of code in the Android Open Source Project while examining the code for the operating system. They saw a commit that’s called “Cherrypick ‘Add device config to decide which Auto Selection Network UI to use.” To almost anyone else, that might not seem like a big deal, but the description of that commit seems to suggest that there will be some kind of exclusive Google Pixel 3 feature. The description states, “because the HAL V_1_2 only supports Pixel 3…”
XDA explains that “HAL” means “Hardware Abstraction Layer,” which is software that connects the Android framework with the hardware it’s running on. In other words, this feature that’s referenced in that line of code will only work on the Pixel 3, making it exclusive to the next generation of Google’s handsets.
Exclusive radio feature for the Google Pixel 3
According to the experts at XDA, the line of code that may be referencing the exclusive Google Pixel 3 feature is for the radio hardware layer, meaning the device’s cellular connectivity hardware. That makes it a little tough to figure out what this mystery exclusive feature might be, but there are some possibilities.
For example, XDA suggests that the code could mean improved battery life in cell network scans, which would do well to reserve battery power since the function is second only to the display in terms of battery drain. However, the writer thinks it is much more likely that the update is simply to support continuous updates in network scanning. Tapping on “scan networks” currently results in a 30-second wait for the results, so the update could make this process much faster.
Droid-Life connects this line of code with Project Treble, which Google recently rolled out as a way to separate the different layers of Android so that it would be easier to update the operating system. It seems a bit strange that the Pixel 3 would be singled out specifically, but just the mere mention of the next-generation Google handset is getting fans excited, even though we know nothing about it.
Of course, there’s also a chance that the line of code isn’t an exclusive Google Pixel 3 feature at all. It is interesting that the company referenced the handset in a line of code that has been released because generally, it keeps things locked down pretty tightly. The company hasn’t released all of the code for the developer preview of Android P yet, so there are still a lot of details missing, which is making the tech blog-o-sphere quick to fill in the blanks with random speculations.