While the Pixel 6 has seen three years of major Android version updates and two additional security patches, that’s still far from the iPhone’s longevity. Google hopes to change that on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro with significantly more OS updates.
Looking at the Android mobile landscape, three years of OS updates — which was also the case on Qualcomm-powered Pixel phones from 2017 to 2021 — falls short of Samsung’s four-update promise, which began last year with the Galaxy S21, S22, and Flip 3. and Fold 3 and continued through devices released this year, including some of the company’s more affordable versions.
Other Android devices like the Nvidia Shield have up to eight years worth of updates largely because Nvidia has full control over the (antique) Tegra X1 and X1+ chipsets. Google is moving in this direction with Tensor, although the first three generations of Tensor are heavily based on Samsung Exynos.
Google is promoting “5 years of Pixel updates” on existing devices running Tensor, since after Android 13, 14, 15 (for example), your Pixel 6 will get an additional 2 years (24 security patches per month) allowing you to keep it up to date. Comfortable to use on your phone albeit without major OS updates for the past two years. Naturally, many of the new features on Android are introduced via app updates and Google Play Services, so your phone won’t lag far behind.
Then there’s Apple, with the iPhone XS released in September 2018 with iOS 12 getting iOS 17 this fall. iPhone 6S (and 7) from 2015 is You still get security releases It’s on iOS 15 and is currently almost 8 years old with updates.
The weak Android update story compared to the iPhone has been an easy blow, and Google is working to address that with the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. We’ve heard that Google plans to competitively boost the number of OS updates for the Pixel 8 series, and future devices should get that.
From what we’re hearing, the promise of the Pixel 8 update should go beyond Samsung’s current policy on flagship phones and meaningfully match the iPhone. Of course, the devil is in the details, especially in those later years. For example, the Galaxy line in the past took a quarterly approach towards the end. Even just five years of OS updates for the Pixel would be enough to allow Google’s phone to be at the top of the ecosystem, with anything beyond that directly chasing the iPhone’s history.
Kyle Bradshaw and Ben Sean contributed to this post.
FTC: We use automatic affiliate links to earn income. more.
“Analyst. Web buff. Wannabe beer trailblazer. Certified music expert. Zombie lover. Explorer. Pop culture fanatic.”