New updates are being added to the bottom of the story…

Original story (from Oct 010) follows:

Google has been in the smartphone industry for several years now but its Pixel phones aren’t anywhere near the big boys like Samsung and Apple when numbers are at play.

Perhaps the most logical explanation is unlike Samsung and Apple that have distribution channels in just about every country across the globe, Google Pixel phones are only sold in a handful of markets.

The U.S. is the Pixel’s biggest market, but the search giant has been slowly making inroads across Europe and Asia in a bid to expand its smartphone business’ reach.

The Pixel 5a is sold only in USA & Japan

The Pixel smartphone business is often hindered by some strange decisions from Google. For instance, the Pixel 5a was only sold in the U.S. and Japan.

Considering the demand for good budget phones in markets like India, making the Pixel A series devices available in such markets shouldn’t be a debate. But Google, for some reason, chooses not to.

Of course, we all know the major selling points of Google Pixel phones include a clean, stock experience coupled with timely software updates. Pixel phones are also among the few that receive at least 3 major Android OS upgrades.


In a bid to make Pixel phones stand out from the crowd, Google also often comes up with a set of exclusive features that other Android users only dream of. Google makes these features available via its Pixel feature drops.

Over the years, Google has introduced features such as call screening, Now playing, Live caption, Heads Up, Hold for Me, Motion Sense and even a next-gen version of Google Assistant.

While some of these features like call screening, Google Photos’ Portrait Light and Portrait Blur tools, and Heads Up have found their way into non-Pixel devices such as Motorola One and Moto G7, others like Hold for Me and Now Playing remain exclusive to Pixel phones.

There’s definitely no problem in Google keeping some of the good stuff to itself. However, the problem comes in when some of these features hardly cross American borders to reach Pixel phones sold in Europe and Asia.

Motion Sense, which came in via the Google Pixel 4, is available in limited countries across the globe, although these geographical restrictions can be bypassed. Google Lens’ Shopping results are also limited to select countries.

The aforementioned Hold for Me has recently arrived in Canada after nearly a year since making its debut. Folks in Australia also say the feature is now live for them, albeit on Android 12.


This same update to Android 12 is also set to bring yet another bunch of Pixel exclusive features when the stable version drops later this month.

In fact, Google reportedly delayed pushing the update to Pixel devices alongside the recent AOSP release in order to put finishing touches on these features.

While it’s unclear what exactly Google has in store with this “Pixel-exclusive and Pixel-first experiences” special release, Material You is definitely high up there on the list.

Also, the fact that Google’s Pixel feature drop hasn’t, well, dropped since June 2021 implies something big could be in store. Typically, Google observes intervals of 3 months, which means the feature drop is already late.

As usual, folks in the U.S. will get some of these features ahead of the rest. But unlike in the past where some features never leave the U.S. market or if they do, it’s often too late that users in other markets have lost interest, I’d wish to see things done differently this time.

Sure, there are cases where legal battles may exist, preventing some of these features from being rolled out in some markets.

But unfortunately, Google hardly discloses what exactly transpired to force them into not rolling out these features in all regions where the Pixel is sold in official capacity. Or even if they tried finding a solution.

As noted earlier, Android 12 is out in AOSP, but Pixels are reportedly being delayed in order for Google to finalize on the Pixel exclusive features.

Granted, my hope is that this time around, these exclusive features actually make it outside the U.S. and into more Pixel markets, including India and other parts of Asia/Europe. And that too in a timely fashion.

Participate in the poll below:

Update 1 (October 17)

The results of the poll are live. While 54.5% would like to see a timely release of Android 12 Pixel exclusive features in more Pixel markets, 22.7% are prepared for delayed but polished outputs. The rest, however, believe Pixels are boring.

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Hillary Keverenge
2189 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

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