Google will push updates to the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro for 5 years. Historically, Android has never had software support for this long. So this is a monumental change for the Android ecosystem as a whole. For years now Android phones have been getting updates for no more than three years. Although, Qualcomm did announce last year that it’s now working with Google to extend that software support to a time frame of up to four years.
Google however is not using Qualcomm chips in its two upcoming devices. Instead, both phones are powered by the company’s in-house computing hardware. Tensor. While this timing doesn’t really extend to all Android phones, it does at least a couple of things. One, it means Google has what could be considered a pretty big advantage over other devices on the Android platform.
And two, it could force things to change for the ecosystem. Pushing Qualcomm, and other phone manufacturers to move towards major software updates for longer periods of time.
5 years of updates on the Pixel 6 series wasn’t exactly a mystery
While this may be the first time that there has been a confirmation from Google on the matter, this update timeline wasn’t exactly a mystery. Back in July of this year it was already rumored that Google was planning to support the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro for this long.
So anyone following the leaks and rumors for both devices already had some idea of what to expect. For everyone else though, this probably comes as a nice surprise. Mainly because this means they won’t have to update to a new phone as often.
Some people will no doubt update to a new phone every year or two anyways. But, those who tend to stick with phones longer will be able to save some money here.
It’s also a step in the right direction for Android in catching up with iOS when it comes to software support. Here’s what you should take away from all this. If you don’t upgrade your phone frequently, you should consider buying a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro. Not only are they likely to be pretty good devices, but you’ll also get the latest features and security for a lot longer. Which is a really good thing.
Update: October 19, 2021
A Google spokesperson has confirmed to Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo that Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will still get major OS updates for three years (not five), just like every other device.
According to the spokesperson, “starting with Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Pixels will now receive security updates for at least 5 years. Users will get at least three years of OS updates, after which we’re committing to ensure that Pixels will stay up to date and secure. The frequency and category of updates will depend on the capabilities and needs of the hardware.”
Official statement from Google PR: pic.twitter.com/Onsldj4wkXAdvertisement
— Ron Amadeo (@RonAmadeo) October 19, 2021