With the launch of the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL yesterday, there are still things being uncovered about the new phones and Google’s support of them. One thing that has come to light is the length of the upgrades and support windows for these new devices.
Traditionally, Google has had their support windows for 2 years. That meant that you would get two major versions of Android on that device and then another year of security updates. For example, the Google Pixel XL, my phone, shipped with Android Nougat in 2016. That means I will get Android Oreo (which I have), and Android P. That’ll be it for major updates but I’ll get another year of security updates.
For the Pixel 2 lineup, Google is now extending that major update window to three years. That means that the phones announced yesterday could well see Android R.
With this change, Google appears to try to be addressing one of the biggest complaints about the devices (and Android in general) which is the short upgrade window. While the vast majority of users out there upgrade within 2 years, there are many who don’t and having the latest version of Android and security updates is important. Having a three year window on these new phones is a good thing indeed and for those who tend to upgrade at longer intervals, this is another reason to pick one up.
Don’t expect this to be retroactive to the original Pixel lineup. While it was not explicitly called out, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL undoubtedly have Project Treble built into them which allows for more seamless and easier upgrades. That is likely the reason that Google is extended the support windows and why it won’t be retroactive to the older Pixel devices. This isn’t a big deal for Google themselves but for manufactures, it will be and it could allow for them to extend their support windows too.