Google has said what it wants the public to know about its new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones, so it’s up to that public to discover the fine print that it left unsaid. While that usually implies some negative hidden caveat, this particular one cannot be but positive. Not so easily seen from the Pixel 2’s tech specs is the assurance that Google’s 2nd gen smartphones will be getting 3 years of OS and security updates. And that’s only the minimum.
There is actually a bit of a debate on whether Google should have made its “Nexus guarantee” back in the days, promising two years of updates for each new device, which practically means two major Android versions guaranteed in the phone’s life time. That has become more or less users’ expectation, even for non-Google devices, whether or not OEMs made a similar commitment.
Now Google is setting the bar higher, perhaps even for itself. Not immediately seen on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL’s tech specs page is the fact that, in addition to running Android 8.0.0 (not 8.1, or even 8.0.1), these two smartphones will get a Mininum 3 years of OS and security updates. Security updates customarily extend beyond the OS updates deadline, so that could be extended as little as half a year.
Why Google didn’t sing about that feature is a bit puzzling. Guaranteed updates, which Google fortunately has a track record of, is one of the things the Android faithful latch on to quite easily and is one of the selling factors of the Nexus and Pixel lines. Perhaps it doesn’t want yet to commit to 36 months, but now that the cat is out of the bag, it would end up with egg on its face if it backtracks on that.