With the launch of Google Pixel 6 and Google Pixel 6 Pro, Google announced that its phones will get up to five years of security updates. Although this was originally disclosed as four years of major software updates, Google has clarified that its latest Pixels will have at least three years of operating system updates – so Android 13, 14, and 15. Google also has clarified that it will provide five years of security patches for Pixel devices, as opposed to the three years it currently guarantees.
Google’s move to its new Tensor chip was seen as the company moving towards Apple-esque support deadlines, allowing it to support the Pixel with software updates without being limited by support from the chipset maker. Obviously, it won’t, but it’s not unprecedented either. Google has promised to speed up updates by removing barriers for both Android as a whole and its Pixel devices in particular.
He did this mainly by Treble project for its Android partners, and excluding operators, phone makers and makers of Pixels chipsets. The end result gave Google slightly better support times than its manufacturing partners, but barely. Yes, Google updates are faster and more reliable than, say, Nokia, but you won’t be able to keep your phone any longer while keeping it up to date.
It should be noted here that Google’s use of the word “at least” provides a hedging tool while allowing Google to do more if necessary. In a revealing but controversial quote, a Motorola spokesperson revealed the true policies for updating the driving metric, saying, âEvery device has its own merit in terms of where it needs to be updated and number of updates it receives. We are committing to updating a single operating system, and we obviously continue to review it. If we find that the device has a longer lifecycle in the market, we will obviously look at whether it needs more OS upgrades.
While Motorola had to come back to this comment as a result of a backlash, this appears to be a perfectly reasonable position from a business point of view. If the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro end up selling like gangbusters, Google will “obviously” extend the phone’s lifecycle by a year or more. If sales are more in line with previous phones, Google will likely leave it at three years and call it a day.
It’s also worth noting that many of the features that are typically found in iOS updates would be features provided to Pixel phones during the year through Play Store updates. Software updates would therefore not be strictly necessary for the vast majority of scenarios, unless there is a significant change, as we have seen with the recent version of Android 12. Thus, while Apple has normalized and popularized long cycles life of updating support for its phones, it doesn’t necessarily make business sense for rival companies.
While it remains disappointing that the Pixel 6 is only promised three years of support, Google has already extended support for older Pixel devices beyond its limits, and it could do so again for the Pixel 6’s. he sells enough units.