While there’s obviously no way to bring that hardware to older Pixel phones, some of the new software features that are making their debut on the Pixel 4 are going to make their way to the Pixel 3 series.
The folks at 9to5Google have helpfully listed most of the new features that are coming coming soon to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a, but here are some of the highlights:
- New Google Assistant (simpler UI, faster responses due to offline voice processing)
- Live Caption (create real-time captions for any video, no internet connection required)
- Recorder app (with live, real-time transcripts of recordings)
- Top Shot for videos (save a short video and choose the best frame to save as an image)
- Astrophotography (long-exposure Night Sight images of the night sky)
Google hasn’t announced plans to backport any of the features listed above to Pixel 2 or older phones.
And some new features won’t be coming to the Pixel 3 series either, because they require new hardware like the Soli radar chip, the new front camera system for facial recognition, or the telephoto camera.
For example, don’t expect to see dual-exposure HDR support on older phones anytime soon. Hands-free gesture controls are a non-starter, as is optical zoom (obviously). And 9to5Google suggests that while car crash detection could eventually make their way to older phones, the current version relies on Pixel 4-exclusive hardware.