Google Pixel 4's key features are coming to the Pixel 3 and 3a too

Google Pixel 4
(Image credit: TechRadar)

When the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL launched, there were many cutting-edge features touted to convince people to pick up the phones; however it seems most of these feature will actually be coming to older Pixel phones too.

Well, when we say 'older Pixel phones' we mean the Pixel 3 range, consisting of that handset, the Pixel 3 XL, the affordable Pixel 3a, and its larger sibling the Pixel 3a XL. Some of the features could come to Pixel handsets even older than the 3 range, but it's far from confirmed that they will.

Of course, some of the Pixel 4 features will remain exclusive, like Dual Exposure camera mode and Car Crash Detection, so if you're looking to buy the device, there's still a lot to love. But fans of the older Pixel phones may feel an upgrade is unnecessary.

What Pixel 4 features are backwards compatible?

One of the key camera features of the Google Pixel 4 is astrophotography, which lets you take a picture of the night sky (albeit with a long exposure time) to pick out stars, galaxies and planets.

However, Google confirmed in a tweet that this feature is coming to all the Pixel 3 handsets at some point, including the 3a, so clearly it doesn't use the computational power of the newer Pixel Visual Core.

Live Caption, which transcribes audio or videos into text, is also coming to Pixel 3 phones in December 2019 – Google confirmed as much to Android Police. Live Caption is actually a feature of Android 10, but many people thought it would be a Pixel 4 exclusive, which it turns out is not the case.

The redesigned Google Assistant for the Pixel 4 will also come to the Pixel 3 devices, and possibly other Google devices too. This redesign gives it a minimal look, and also makes it available without an internet connection, so it's possibly the biggest feature making its way to older Pixels.

There are a few more minor features shown off at the Pixel 4 launch that will make their way to older devices, like Small Burst video recording and the new Recorder app.

Bear in mind, these Pixel 4 features that will be available on the Pixel 3 devices are only those that are confirmed so far – more could come at a later date.

Via 9to5Google

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.