Sean Hollister: ‘Google’s seven-year Pixel update promise is historic — or meaningless’

Sean Hollister, writing for The Verge about Google supposed 7-year guaranteed updates for the Pixel 8 lineup:

[A Google spokesperson] also wrote that not every update is available for every phone due to various limitations,” without describing those limitations. What could they possibly be? The Pro does have 12GB of RAM vs. 8GB on the non-Pro, but it’s hard to imagine that being the blocker on something as simple as camera controls — or, for that matter, features that don’t even run on your device but rather in the cloud. 

Speaking of that, Google did tell Android Authority why one specific feature is exclusive to Pixel 8 Pro: the cost of the cloud infrastructure required to run Video Boost processing” is behind the decision to gate it behind the pricier phone for now. Video Boost is in the cloud, so it has nothing to do with the phone’s capabilities and everything to do with economics. 

And frankly, that’s what I’m worried about for the entirety of Google’s seven-year promise.

It has me skeptical too. Apple doesn’t come out and say OS updates are guaranteed for its devices ahead of time. But they’ve shown us over time that they do their best to support a device for as long as possible. Action speaks louder than words, and all that.

Here’s something else to think about. Sure, there are some new OS features that doesn’t get back ported to the oldest devices. But those are the exception, not the rule. Google’s wording makes it seem like they’ll sprinkle features out, but, as Hollister points out, they could never get a full OS upgrade. It might become harder than ever to distinguish what your Pixel can and can’t do.


❮ Previous post

(Rope) Solo October 5, 2023

Next post ❯

7 Things This Week [#113] October 8, 2023