Last week, many people were taken aback when it was announced that Verizon Wireless would be taking control of Android OS updates for Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. Given that carriers are notoriously slow when it comes to providing major OS updates for smartphones, news that a Google-branded phone could be at the mercy of Verizon for updates was met with utter shock.
While those initial fears were definitely warranted giving past performance, it appears that everyone was getting worked up over nothing. Verizon confirmed in a statement today to Ars Technica that Verizon-branded Google Pixel devices will receive OS updates at the same time as unlocked versions that can be purchased directly from Google.
The statement in full reads (emphasis ours):
First and foremost, all operating system and security updates to the Pixel devices will happen in partnership with Google. In other words, when Google releases an update, Verizon phones will receive the same update at the same time (much like iOS updates). Verizon will not stand in the way of any major updates and users will get all updates at the same time as Google.
Also, the Verizon version of the Google Pixel is carrier unlocked, so you can use it where ever you like. Finally, we have three apps pre-installed on the phone Go90, My Verizon (which is your account management tool) and Verizon Messages (your messaging app). As you noted, all three can easily be uninstalled by the user.
That is definitely good news for those that choose to purchase a Pixelphone from Verizon (the only reason we could assume that someone would want to go that route is to take advantage of installment-based purchase options). And while carrier-branded phones are often loaded down with plenty of bloatware, Verizon seems to be turning a new leaf with the Pixel and Pixel XL according to the above statement.
Although three carrier apps are probably still three too many for some people, it’s a far cry from the hordes of apps that we often see on other carrier phones.