Category: Google Pixel XL

Google Further Clarifies End of Support for Nexus & Pixel Devices

Google has once again updated their support matrix for the Nexus and Pixel lineup of devices.  Previously the company had outlined dates of when major updates and minor security updates would cease for the devices.  There is nothing new here in that regard.  What is new is the dates for the end of online and phone support for the devices.  The good news, or at least the non-confusing news, is that online & phone support ends when security updates end on the devices.

Take the Nexus 6 for example.  There are no guaranteed Android updates to the device since October 2016.  No, Android O is not coming to the Nexus 6.  Sorry, I loved it too.  In October 2017, guaranteed security updates end and that is also when online and phone support ends for the device.  Other devices follow this same timing.

Google Pixel Lineup Security Support Ends in October 2019

Following the process set for the last Nexus lineup, Google has updated their Android software update page with information on the Google Pixel lineup.  Major version support for the devices will end next year, October 2018 while Android security updates will end a year later in October 2019.  While Google phrases this as “not guaranteed”, it is pretty much a lock that the devices won’t see updates after these dates.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to Pixel owners.  Google has said they will support phones for 3 years after release or 18 months from when the device was last sold in the Google Store, whichever is longer.  This is the cadence they setup on such updates with the release of the Nexus 6P and 5X although it had been somewhat implied prior to those devices. As an owner of a Pixel XL, I’d love to see support longer but the reality is, for Google, developing an Android build for a 3+ year old device is expensive with little incentive for them to do it.  Remember that they, just like any other manufacture, want you to upgrade at some point.

Google Pixel XL – A Benchmark Six Months On

The Google Pixel XL, and its smaller sibling the Pixel, were released in October 2016.  At the time of their launch, they were lauded by many as the benchmark for other Android phones.  Samsung at the time was still dealing with the debacle that was the Galaxy Note7 while companies like Huawei had solid phones but less-than-stellar user experience in EMUI 4.0.  Even the younger kids on the block like OnePlus were touting their phones but from an overall experience, none of them matched the Pixel XL.

Fast forward six months.  Is the Pixel XL still a benchmark device?  In my opinion, absolutely.  It is from many perspectives:  Performance, photo quality, and perhaps most importantly, the upgrade experience.  If there is one thing that the Google Pixel lineup offers that virtually no others do, it is a pure, as Google intended it, Android experience.  Others are close – Motorola and OnePlus – but none are unadulterated Android.  When the Pixel was announced, the immediate response was “iPhone copycat” and, to be fair, it is a bit true.  If you hold a Pixel up to an iPhone 7, minus the Home button, they look strikingly similar on the front.  Is that a bad thing?  I don’t think so.  Apple, love them or hate them, has done a great job of selling iPhones these past few years and it is a proven look for a smartphone.

Unlike deep dive reviews of phones I’ve done here on the site, I’m not going to do that with the Pixel XL.  Instead, I’m going to highlight three key areas that I think make the phone a benchmark by which to measure other phones in the market.  You may feel different, and that’s okay.  We are all adults and can have a healthy debate on it.

Verizon Bound Google Pixel and Pixel XL Seeing Nougat 7.1.2 Update

After being released on Monday for the unlocked variants, the Android Nougat 7.1.2 update for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL on Verizon has now been released.  The build for the Verizon Pixels is NHG47K, slightly different than the release for the unlocked devices.  That build was N2G47E.  The update is under 500MB in size but it is a good idea to download via Wi-Fi for speed and data plan savings.  Once downloaded, the update will take about 15 minutes to install and your phone will reboot once it is completed.

Th update for the Verizon variants contain the same updates as the unlocked versions of the Pixel and Pixel XL.  This includes improvements around Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, backup improvements to restore data from 1st-party apps like Calendar, and the April 2017 Android Security Patch.

Android Nougat 7.1.2 Beta 2 Starts Rolling to Testers

The 2nd and likely the last beta of Android Nougat 7.1.2 has begun rolling out to those enrolled in the Android Beta program.  The update brings additional bug fixes and refinements to the first beta which, on the whole, is a bug fix and refinement release for Nougat.  While there is no official word on when the general public will see 7.1.2, it is likely not far away.  Generally the first beta was solid and this second appears to be smoothing out a few rough edges.  It feels complete at this point.

While the focus is on bug fixes and refinements, this beta does bring a few new things to the table.  First, for those of you with a Nexus 6P, you finally get the fingerprint scanner swipe action that has been on the Nexus 5X since the first beta.  If you remember, the first beta for the 6P was delayed by about three weeks and didn’t come with the ability to swipe down and read notifications.  That seems to have been addressed in this second beta.

Google Pixel XL Finally Back in Stock at The Google Store

If you have been wanting to pick up the Google Pixel XL, you need to go to the Google Store.  Like, right now.  I’ll wait….

For the first time in weeks the XL is in stock and available for order.  Google has a mighty time keeping up with demand on both the Pixel and the Pixel XL and usually the phone shows out of stock in all colors and variants.  Right now at least, you can pick up the XL in Silver or Black with 32GB of storage.  The 128GB variants still remain out of stock as does the Really Blue color.

Android Nougat 7.1.1 Expected Release is December 5th

Thanks to a leak from Vodafone Australia, it looks like owners of the Nexus 6P and Google Pixel lineup will be seeing the Android Nougat 7.1.1 update starting next Monday, December 5th.  For the Nexus 6P, the updated build will be NMF26F and will bring app shortcuts to the phone as well as the December Android Security Update.  As readers will remember, the 7.1.1 update has been in beta for a few months now and the second and expected to be final Developer Preview dropped last week.  Google has said very early on that the 7.1.1 update would be coming in early December so the December 5th date lines up well with what has been publicly stated from the company.

Unauthorized Google Pixel Resellers Banned by Google

Nearly 200 Google users have found themselves banned and suspended from Google after making a clear violation of their terms of service.  The users purchased a Google Pixel through Project Fi and then had those phones shipped to a 3rd party in New Hampshire.  Those phones were then resold and the profits split between the 3rd party company and the original buyer of the phone.  While it is perfectly legal for you to resell your phone, it is equally clear in the Project Fi and Google Store terms that you cannot do this or you will have your account suspended.  That is exactly what has happened and this is no small deal.  A suspended Google account means you can’t access anything associated with that account:  Gmail, Calendar, Google Photos, Google Docs, etc.  It is a complete shutdown.

At the time of this post, none of the accounts that have been suspended have been re-enabled.  While owners of these accounts can appeal to Google, it is a question if they will ever get back into those accounts.  So the question is this:  Is this too draconian by Google?

Google To Restock The Really Blue Pixel Phones

For those of you who were really wanting one of the Really Blue Pixel phones, there is good news for you this morning.  Google has confirmed to Android Police that the limited color variant of both the Pixel and the Pixel XL will be restocked at some point in the future.  The question is when and how many will actually be available.  That part of the equation is not known but if you are really wanting to get your hands on a Really Blue Pixel, it is suggested that you use the Google Store’s waitlist function to get in line.

Google Pixel in Really Blue

Google Pixel in Really Blue

Functionally, as readers likely know, there is no difference in performance between the various color variants.  The Really Blue color however was immediately sought after as it was unique in this world of mostly black, silver (aluminum) and gold phones on the market.

If you want to join the waitlist for the phone, go to the Google Store and sign up to be notified on when it is back in stock.  Obviously there is no guarantee they will be there if you delay once you are notified.  These will go very, very fast (translation:  within minutes if not sooner).  If you want one, be prepared to pay the day they hit the store.

Good Luck!

Google Releases The Factory Images for Google Pixel Lineup

With orders now starting to arrive to those who ordered the new Google Pixel or Pixel XL, Google has posted both the factory images and the OTA updates for both phones on the Android Developer website.  This follows the trend that the company has had the last two device rounds (Nexus 5X/6P and Marshmallow & Nexus 6/Lollipop).  This means that, like the Nexus lineup before it, the Pixel lineup will have images that those who want to manually update their devices can use as soon as the images are released instead of waiting for the standard over-the-air updates.

Verizon’s Google Pixel Will Have A Locked Bootloader

For those Verizon customers who are looking to pick up the one of the new Google Pixel phones, be aware that the bootloader will be locked to the carrier.  To this point, Google has kept their Nexus devices with an unlocked bootloader.  For those who aren’t familiar with what a bootloader is exactly, it is the first thing that runs when you power up an Android phone.  It is the boot sequence of the device and the loading of the Operating System.  Carriers generally like these locked because the do not want someone loading a custom ROM on the device to bypass their software or other settings.

Android Nougat 7.1 Change Log for Pixel and Non-Pixel Devices

After yesterday’s Google event, we know that the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL will be coming with Android Nougat 7.1.  Equally, we also know that some of the features of 7.1 will be exclusive to the Pixel lineup but for the Nexus devices and other devices, the water was left a bit murky.  Thanks to the team over at Android Police, we have a little clearer picture of what is exclusive and what is not to the Pixel lineup.  They have gotten hold of the 7.1 change long which details what is coming for each train.  For Pixel devices, the new Pixel Launcher and Google Assistant are exclusive to the Pixel lineup.  That is in line with what was expected and told to us yesterday at the event.  Customer support via the new chat/screen share function is also an exclusive as is an updated Smart Storage that backs up photos to Google Photos in full resolution to recover storage.  There are also improvements to the Pixel camera and the sensor software used in the Pixel devices.