HomeMobileFast Charging: Google's long-term Android support is great – but more needs...

OPINION: Google announced its long-awaited update to the Pixel series in the form of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro earlier this week.

The phones continue Google’s focus on AI, with new generative AI features and improvements to Google’s core photography modes; which allows the Pixels to take some of the best smartphone photos – but that arguably pales in comparison to one of Google’s final announcements of the evening.

Apart from detailing the new features of its latest flagship smartphones, Google also dropped a huge bombshell that will make waves in the Android community for a long time to come. This announcement? Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will both receive seven years of comprehensive software support, including seven operating system upgrades and seven years of security patches.

This will push the Pixel 8 to Android 21 in 2030; An impressive feat considering the phones will launch with Android 14 next week. This is almost unheard of in the Android space; Even the Fairphone 5 only promises long-term security patch support until 2031. The Pixel 8 series takes this one step further.

He was too late. The promise of three OS upgrades and five years of security patches for the old Pixel software was good, but Samsung has outdone that promise in recent years with its promise of four OS upgrades and five years of security patches for the Galaxy S23 series. other new releases.

Pixel 8 Pro marketing image
Google Pixel 8 Pro

This wasn’t a good look for Google. Really It develops the Android operating system that most smartphones run. It was a bit of an embarrassment for the brand that a manufacturer could offer longer support than the company behind the software.

This also brings the Android operating system closer to Apple’s iOS operating system, whose long-term support for its devices has long been praised by many around the world. The iPhone Xr, released in 2018, just received the iOS 17 update, for example; This has been extremely rare on the Android side until now. This could eliminate a major hurdle for those willing to switch platforms.


It’s also great for both consumers and the environment. Getting new upgrades every year will keep you from upgrading frequently; because you’ll likely gain access to many of the new features of newer smartphone models running newer software, meaning less electronic waste going to landfills around the world.

This will also force other Android manufacturers to rethink their long-term software support to better compete with Google’s new promise, which will benefit the Android ecosystem as a whole.

This is a great start, but there’s still a lot of work to be done on the Android OS upgrade side due to the significant level of fragmentation between manufacturers and the various skins used.

This means that unlike iPhones, which automatically get updates every September, you can’t say ‘my Android will definitely get the latest Android update in October’ as it doesn’t work that way on Android.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Unlike Apple, which has control over each iPhone model and can therefore handle all updates in-house and synchronize the release schedule, Android updates are managed individually by smartphone manufacturers, further complicated by various proprietary skins such as MIUI and ColorOS. some manufacturers use it.

This means that Android manufacturers essentially have to update their phones on a model-by-model basis, verify that they work well with network providers, and of course implement the new features of the OS upgrade to work with the hardware offered, and this isn’t tied to a fixed schedule.

This is further complicated by the sheer number of Android phones available compared to the relatively limited selection offered by Apple.

This means that even if long-term OS upgrades are promised, you may not get the latest update for weeks or even months after its initial release. I don’t expect most Android 13 devices like the OnePlus 11 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to receive the Android 14 update until late 2023 or, more likely, early 2024.

So, while Google has finally taken the lead when it comes to long-term Android support with the Pixel 8 series, there’s still a lot to be done before it’s fully on par with what Apple has to offer.

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