During yesterday's full reveal of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, hearing google confirm that it was indeed committing to a full 7 years of updates, that includes android OS upgrades, is still something I'm not sure we've wrapped our brains around. Updates on a phone until 2030 is wild to think. If they had started the Pixel line out with a similar update policy, the launch of the Pixel 8 would have meant the end of updates on the original Pixel phone. That's how many years we are talking about here. If they keep updating the Pixel 8 as planned, we should see updates through the launch of the Pixel 15. That's crazy.
When confirming the full scope of the 7 years, Google talked further in a blog post about how they've secured commitments from partners that will help this situation, that appropriate testing structure is in place, and that they still want to deliver them on a consistent basis, as long as they are of the highest quality. And we all know that Pixel updates over the years have landed on our phones and reddit immediately fills up with complaints of new bugs, so that's an important point.
In relation to updates being of the “highest quality” and “best tested,” Google also confirmed another piece of this puzzle that we've been talking about since at least April and have tried to remind folks on a number of occasions – Google is done with its first-Monday update schedule for Pixel devices. Here's the quote from the blog post:
We also dug into how we can deliver the highest quality, best tested updates to Pixel users on a consistent basis. As part of this effort, our security updates, bug fixes and feature updates won't roll out on a specific day each month. Instead, we'll deploy updates as soon as they've completed the necessary tests to ensure they improve the experience for all Pixel customers.
The idea here is that they will still deliver updates monthly, they just don't want all of us tech-obsessed nerds focused on that first Monday of each month as the day we should expect an update or we yell, “Google is late again!”
And again, readers of this site know that Google removed their commitment to the first Monday of the month back in April of this year and has delivered updates outside of the first Monday a number of times. While they've kept the first-Monday schedule for general Android security bulletins, Pixel updates have not followed that. We talked about this in June and in September. We know that first Mondays are out and have been out.
Google officially acknowledging this change is what it is. I know some of you will be annoyed, and I'm with you on some level – the general expectation of that first Monday was nice. We knew when updates were coming, could plan for them, and make sure we had a fresh 6-pack ready to go during that damn apps optimizing screen.
So now, we should still expect monthly updates, we just don't know which day of the week or in which week they'll be here. I think we'll take that if it means 7 years of updates, won't we?