Google's Pixel 3 and 3 XL smartphones get their final update

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All good things come to an end, they say, but sometimes those things come to an end too soon and with little reason. After three years in service, the Pixel 3 and its larger sibling, the Pixel 3 XL, are getting their very last maintenance update, one that's arriving a bit later than expected. Unfortunately, the end of software updates for these models seems to have arrived earlier than necessary, especially since there doesn't appear to be many technical reasons for Google to stop the flow.

The Pixel 3 handsets launched backed in 2018, so at least in terms of guarantees, Google already fulfilled its software promises. The phones reached their end-of-life updates back in October, but the company had promised a final cumulative update, something it had previously done for the Pixel 2. Consumers had nearly given up hope on receiving this final update, but 9to5Google reports that it has finally arrived.

The Pixel 3 February update is a minor one, but it's important because it is the last update the phones will ever receive from Google. The release contains the accumulated security patches and bug fixes from November 2021 to February 2022, so the model isn't missing out on anything yet. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL did get an update last month to fix the strange and dangerous Microsoft Teams bug, but that was the full extent of that update.

Android's update problem

The end of updates for the Pixel 3 and 3 XL once again brings to light one of the biggest complaints about the Android platform. While it has matured in features, design, and stability, Google's mobile OS still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the consistency and reliability of updates. Even Samsung is putting Google to shame in this regard, surpassing what the Android maker itself has promised for its current Pixel 6 flagship.

The Pixel 3 may sound old in market terms, but its hardware is still quite decent even today. The model is on par with many modern mid-range phones, and more importantly, it's still usable and in working condition for many owners. Google's decision to cap updates at three years is essentially arbitrary, hinting at how few resources the company is willing to throw at supporting older phones — something Apple seems to have no problem doing.