Google shows us why they built a separate monthly patch page for Nexus and Pixel phones.

Google is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and with the release of the November security patch notes, we see it acting like one. When you buy a phone like a Verizon-branded Galaxy S8, you'll get a few small updates that address performance and stability tweaks. Verizon has a web page that details these small updates so you can see exactly what was changed if you're the type of person who likes to know more than the blurb you see on an update screen. This is a good thing, as once people are using a phone there is always a thing or two that can be improved, and waiting for a full system update to happen might take a while. It's how you keep customers happy!

While the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 phones aren't really tied to any carrier, Google is doing the same thing. It has bundled a handful of small feature changes with the November patch that will soon be rolling out to all Pixel and Pixel 2 phones.

There's nothing here that a big change, but together they will matter to a lot of people. A quick look at what to expect.

  • The warning you get that your headphones may be too loud has been tweaked to appear at the correct volume for places that have a special requirement for it. Safety first!
  • Bluetooth should work better for older devices that don't support AVRCP 1.4, and pairing with a headset should be faster or have fewer errors.
  • Bluetooth connections with cars is a mess. That's been a hallmark of Android since the beginning. We see several fixes for media data and general connection wonk when using Bluetooth in your ride. Hopefully, these fixes filter down to all devices as they were ported back into AOSP.
  • Instant Tethering with BLE (Bluetooth Low-Energy) devices has been improved.
  • Autofocus when taking a video and the overall speed of the front camera has been improved.
  • YouTube should have fewer problems when you switch from Wi-Fi to your data connection. This is a big deal for Project Fi users who are in an area where they may jump between hotspots using Google's open Wi-Fi "VPN" service.
  • The Three network needed some adjustments for the phones to better use it, and those were made. Yes, carriers have a lot of input into every phone, even a Nexus, Pixel, or iPhone.
  • The ubiquitous application stability patch is here, too.

One thing not initially noted by Google, but discovered after the update started to roll out, is the inclusion of new display profiles aimed at addressing concerns over the Pixel 2 XL's screen colors and a couple other tweaks for limiting screen burn-in on the phone.

So this certainly isn't a huge list of highly critical bugs, but it's one of those small updates that will just make things a little better like we see from other manufacturers. We know a few previous monthly patches have also had a Pixel-specific fix or two in them, but it's nice to see them all broken down like this. That's what the web page was made for, after all.