It might feel like quite some time ago that the Pixel and Pixel XL were announced to the world, but in reality they’ve only just gone on sale, and they’re already sold out in a lot of models. This isn’t the sort of launch that some were hoping for, but if not having enough stock is an indicator of success, then we’re sure that Google is pretty happy with themselves right about now. When we were dealing with a new Nexus launch each and every year, we were pretty clear on how long the devices would be supported, but the new Pixel name and the attention paid towards the average user might have some hardcore Android fans a little worried.
Despite the name change to the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, the two new phones released this year will get the same sort of support – perhaps even more – that other Nexus devices have gotten in the past. To drive the point home, Google has updated their own support pages with the following lines; “Pixel phones get Android version updates for at least 2 years from when the device became available on the Google Store. After 2 years, we can’t guarantee additional updates.” The key thing to remember here is those few words, “Android version updates”, which is more than just guaranteeing security updates, it guarantees the sort of jump from Marshmallow to Nougat. The date that Google can no longer guarantee updates beyond is October 2018, which is fairly generous of them, but it also neatly lines up with the two-year contract cycle many will be signing up to. Major Android versions come around once a year or so now, so the Pixel and Pixel XL should stay current up until around the Fall of 2019, when a version will launch that they won’t be guaranteed to get.
These devices also have unlocked bootloaders, provided you don’t buy them via Verizon, and it’s likely that custom ROMs and such will provide support long after Google is done with them, as is the tradition for Nexus devices. Regardless of when these two phones become out-of-date, Google is making it easy for users to see when they won’t be guaranteed updates, and for a lot of users, this will make it easier to weigh up these new hefty price tags.