Google explains why it chose 7 years of update promise for Pixel phones

Google with its Pixel 8 series made a bold promise — the phones will receive seven years of software updates.  It means longer security, new features, and a smartphone that feels fresh further into the future.

But how will this work in practice? In a recent podcast, Google’s VP of Devices & Services Software shed light on this groundbreaking commitment.

Google’s Seang Chau, VP of Devices & Services Software, emphasizes the immense collaboration required for this endeavor. Partners like chip suppliers, the Android team, and even carriers needed to be in the loop early on for consistent testing and smooth updates.

Google’s use of its own Tensor chip across generations simplifies things further, as updates are optimized primarily for that single piece of hardware.

Moreover, the switch to year-round beta programs and Quarterly Platform Releases (QPRs) also plays a big role. Google now gets more extensive feedback on updates before they hit the masses. This means they can move features once reserved for major Android releases into smaller, more frequent updates.

Google didn’t just pluck a number out of thin air. Google carefully analyzed how long people use their Pixel phones, including secondary markets and hand-me-downs. They found solid activity on older devices well into the seven-year timeframe, making this a pledge to keep your Pixel secure and relevant for as long as it’s in your hands.

Google Pixel 8 7 year software update

However, after the initial years, not every feature will be rolled out for older devices. Rather Google will focus on software-based additions that don’t heavily tax the hardware. Older Pixels will still benefit from features originally launched on newer models whenever possible.

The decision to bring Gemini Nano (an AI language model) to Pixel 8 is a perfect example. RAM limitations were the key concern due to the model’s memory-intensive nature. Google is carefully evaluating its impact to avoid performance issues on both the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.

Google’s 7-year update promise is a major win for users. It means your Pixel phone will stay secure and relevant for years to come. 




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