The Google Pixel and Pixel XL were launched to great fanfare late last year. The flagship Android Nougat smartphones were praised for their build quality, crisp displays, and excellent rear cameras (despite the lack of image stabilization).
However, all good things must come to an end in Android land when it comes to software support. Back in June, Google provided the following guidance for updates relating to its first-party Nexus hardware:
Nexus devices get security updates for at least 3 years from when the device first became available on the Google Store, or at least 18 months from when the Google Store last sold the device, whichever is longer. After that, we can't guarantee additional updates.
Today, Google confirmed that the Pixel and Pixel XL won’t be guaranteed to receive a major Android operating system update after October 2018. When it comes to security patches, Google will cut Pixel owners loose after October 2019.
That means that the Pixel smartphones will be eligible for Android O (we’re hoping for “Oreo”) and Android P in 2018. After that, you’ll have to go the custom ROM route in order to update to the latest versions of Android.
To be honest, we wished that Google would grant support for Pixel owners a little longer considering that they are first-party devices with the full backing of the search giant. We almost expect software update mayhem when it comes to popular Android OEMs like Samsung, LG and HTC, but Google should be held to a higher standard.
For reference, Apple’s iOS 10 provides support for smartphones dating back to the iPhone 5, which was released in 2012. However, it’s likely that Apple will drop support for both the 32-bit iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c when iOS 11 launches in the fall, as that OS is expected to only support 64-bit hardware (which started with the iPhone 5s).