Android Angst: Verizon's Google Pixel Phones Will Require Carrier Managed OS Updates

Google just can't seem to get out of its own way when it comes to fragmentation among its Android platform. We're not saying there's an easy solution, but in giving Verizon exclusive rights among wireless carriers in the United States to offer its new Pixel and Pixel XL handsets, it also agreed to let Verizon be in charge of Android system updates.

That was the biggest question on everyone's minds when Google announced the arrangement with Verizon, and the Mountain View firm confirmed to 9To5Google what most people hoped wouldn't be the case.

Pixel Phones

"Monthly security updates will come from Google (for all models), and system updates will be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store," a Google spokesperson said.

It's good to hear that Google will at least handle security updates for all Pixel and Pixel XL devices, including the ones that Verizon sells, but it's a bit of a bummer that Verizon is insisting on going through the sometimes long process of approving new versions of Android before doling them out. The reason is so Verizon can add its own tweaks and test compatibility.

In case you missed it, it's also worth noting that Pixel handsets sold by Verizon will have locked bootloaders and pre-loaded apps, which are two more reasons to snag either phone from Google if you can. Pixel and Pixel XL devices sold by Google cost the same (barring any financial incentives by Verizon, such as smartphone trade-ins) and work with Verizon's network.