When Google launched the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL earlier this month, Google and Android fans were excited to see what they had in store. But did you know that the camera that comes with the new Pixels is probably the only standout feature on these new devices?
What I am saying is that almost most of the “new” features introduced in the new Pixel 2 lineup including the Always on display, the AR effects in camera, the all new home screen setup, motion photos and even the widely talked about always listening feature have already been present in the Android world for quite some time now.
So, if you are one among the people who are excited to get their hands on the all new Pixel 2 or the Pixel 2 XL as soon as they are publicly made available, you might want to consider this: you can get some of the most exciting features of these devices right now on the Android device you currently own. Surprised? Well, here is how to do it.
Always on Display
Always on display is a way to make your phone’s display stay on at all times, but also to display only the most essential things like the time and important notifications instead of lightening up the whole screen. The concept behind this is that the user will not have to power up the display every time he has to see the time or to check a notification.
Since most flagship devices these days come with an AMOLED display and AMOLED displays do not use any pixels for the black parts of the screen, a lot of battery is saved on devices that have the Always on display implemented.
So, if you want to get the Pixel 2 like Always on display on your device, proceed by downloading the Always On AMOLED – BETA app from the Google Play Store.
Once you have installed the app on your device, just open the app and then provide the necessary permissions like notification access and modify system settings to proceed.
The app will now begin to work and you will be getting the Always on display as soon you lock your device. The best thing about this app is that unlike the static setup on the Pixel 2, you can customize the display with different watch faces and backgrounds if you want.
You will also be getting the preview of your notifications along with the date and calendar setup based on your preferences. If you chose to buy the pro version of the app then you can access many new watch faces and backgrounds apart from the ones that are already available in the free version.
This feature is probably something Google bragged a lot about in the Pixel 2 launch. What it does is listen to the songs that are playing around you at all times and will detect what the song is and will display it to you as a notification on your lock screen. But this feature had been in existence on the Android OS for a long time now and you can get it on your device right now with the help of an app called Shazam.
Shazam is an app that uses a huge library of audio files to detect and recognize any kind of audio you hear with it. While during the early days, it could only be used by opening the app and then clicking on the listen button, a few updates back Shazam introduced a new feature called Auto Shazam.
What Auto Shazam does is some what similar to the Always listening feature on the Pixel 2. Once you turn on this feature from the app settings, a persistent notification will appear and it will stay on your notification bar and continue to listen to the songs playing around you until you turn it off manually.
Auto Shazam is extremely accurate at all times and is also quick most of the times. While it is true that long time usage of this feature might have an impact on the battery life of your device, it is good to know that you can get the feature that everyone thought was exclusive to the Pixel devices right. And hey, you can save the precious battery if you chose to turn the Auto Shazam feature on only when you are outdoors.
As we all know, Augmented Reality or AR is predicted to be the next big thing and most OEM are trying to integrate it into their devices to attract a larger set of audience. We saw it in the iPhone X launch and Google is also including it in the Pixel 2 devices and they are called AR stickers.
While the concept sounds interesting and Google has improved it a lot by maintaining interaction between the user and even 2 AR Characters at the same time, basic AR objects like popular super hero characters, famous monuments or even animals are around as simple Android apps for a long time.
An app called Holo – Holograms for Videos in Augmented Reality was introduced earlier this year and it became quite popular after it was used as a promotional medium for the recently released Spiderman : Homecoming movie. While the technology used in this app is not as sophisticated and advanced as the one in the Pixel 2 for obvious reasons, it is still pretty cool and most of the AR objects in this app looks realistic enough.
You can just download the app from the Google Play Store and then select your favourite AR object from the list which includes Spiderman, a Tiger, a Zombie among others. Just like the Google Pixel 2 you can capture images and videos with these characters near you or anywhere you like and then share them with your friends. Hopefully the developer adds support to interaction between the user and the characters or between themselves in the future updates of the app.
We all know that Google itself kind of borrowed this feature from the Live photos feature of iOS. Motion photos is a simple but interesting feature which captures a few seconds before and after you click on the capture button and will display it to you as an animation or a GIF.
If you like the idea of it, but are not planning on buying the Google Pixel 2 anytime soon, then you can get the Motion photos feature on your Android device right now by installing the Camera MX app from the Google Play Store. Once you have provided the initial permissions and have setup the app, you can proceed to capture your first Motion photo by clicking on 3 circles icon at the top and selecting Live shot from the pop up menu.
Since it is somewhat of an exclusive feature, the app requires you to connect your Google+ or your Facebook account to try this feature. So, connect your account to proceed and you can capture motion photos using the app.
You can access the image from the Gallery. At first, you will only see the image you have captured but if you press and hold the image, you can view what happened 3 seconds before you captured the shot and what happened 3 seconds after. Pretty cool isn’t it?
Home screen Layout
We have already covered a separate post on how to get the new home screen layout of the Pixel 2 on any Android device using simple tweaks on Nova Launcher. Google has completely removed the dock on the home screen of the new Pixel devices and has replaced it with the Google search bar widget.
It not only makes sense as it is easier to access now on devices with a bigger screen, it is also a smart move as a lot of people might use the search widget more often than before. If you love the new setup, then you can get it right now on your Android device by following our guide here.
So, what do you think about these features and how do they work for you? Are you excited to get your hands on the features from the latest flagship device in town on your Android device? Let us know in the comments below.