There has been a lot of press today covering Android P and the first developer preview dropping. That is certainly news worthy because, honestly, it came a week or two earlier than expected. But what is not news is the fact that the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Pixel C tablet will not be getting Android P, officially at least. Google has made it very clear and very public when support for these devices would end, both in major releases and security updates.
While we can debate all day long if two years of software support is too short, it is the number that Google settled on and has published for support of devices. The only exception, and likely the way going forward, is the Pixel 2 lineup which gets three years of major updates. For the Nexus 5X and 6P, major build support ended in September 2017. That means Android Oreo was the last major build.
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As expected with it being the first Monday of the first full week of the month, Google has released the March 2018 Android Security Update patches for the Pixel lineup of phones as well as the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The full factory images for those who want to side load them are available as well as the OTA updates. The automatic sending of the OTA updates should begin later this week for those that don’t want to bother with a side load.
As usual, there are two patches this month although there is also a second bulletin announcement regarding fixes specific to the Pixel 2 lineup. In the March 1, 2018 dated patch, there are a total of 16 fixes, 8 of which are considered critical. These fixes in the first patch deal with Android issues broadly and mostly have to do with media framework and system level issues that could allow for remote code execution.
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Google is finally offering a reasonable replacement to those that have struggled with defective, often bootlooping, Nexus 5X on Project Fi. Customers who have the 5X and have the $5 per month Device Protection Plan on the device, can now get a Moto X4 as a replacement. The $69 deductible payment is still required but this is far better than the $53 check that was offered by Google on defect 5X’s just a few weeks ago. If you didn’t want that $53, you could get a $100 Google Store credit.
The Nexus 5X has been plagued by bootloop issues where the device would simply be stuck in a mode where it is simply never is able to get past the boot up screen on the device and actually load Android to run the phone. Not all phones were effected of course but many where, prompting some class action lawsuits against Google and LG.
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Google has released the January 2018 Android Security Update patches for the Google Nexus and Pixel lineup of devices. Normally the patches are released on the first Monday of the first full week in any given month. Given that yesterday was New Years Day and a holiday, it was delayed until today.
Like previous Android Security Update patches, there are two that have been released. The first patch is dated January 1 and primarily focuses on core Android fixes and addressing security vulnerabilities. In this patch there are a total of 20 fixes included, four of which are considered critical fixes.
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Without any notification or explanation, Google has extended the security update support for the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P an additional two months. Both phones will now receive minor software patches until November 2018.
The change is reflected in an update to the Nexus Android version page on Google Support and appears to be the only changes to the schedule which the company adopted in 2016.
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So here’s a concept: A button that actually does something. For years, the “Check for update” button in Android pretty much did nothing. Sure you could hit it but the odds of you getting an update were pretty slim. Why? Because manufactures like Google, Samsung and others as well as carriers phase updates out to their customers. The result? The “Check for update” button was, by-and-large, useless.
That’s changing under Android Oreo, specifically for the Google Nexus and Pixel devices. Now when you tap that button in Settings>System>System Updates, it actually, really goes out to Google’s servers and download the latest OTA update. No waiting on phasing.
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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.
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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.
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