The Pixel 7 lineup is now available for pre-order. Google showed several improvements during its Made by Google hardware event, such as the new Tensor G2 system-on-a-chip and an improved rear camera setup. But it forgot to mention one important detail — you’ll only get three major OS updates.
Even though both phones have 5 years of security updates, Google is only committing to three years of major OS updates for the just-released Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. In a statement to How-To Geek, Google told us the following:
We build Pixel phones to get better over time with software and feature updates. Like Pixel 6, 6 Pro, and 6a, Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will provide at least 5 years of security upgrades from the date the phones first become available on the Google Store in the U.S. and at least 3 years of OS updates.
The Google Pixel 7 lineup comes with Android 13, so three years of updates would mean that Google is committing to updating the new phones all the way up to Android 16. Security updates will keep coming for two more years after that. Three years of updates is standard for phone makers like OnePlus, and it’s not uncommon to see other companies (namely Motorola) offering just two years, or in some cheaper phones, even just one year.
This is the exact same policy as the Pixel 6 series, and it’s pretty much what Google has provided for its phones ever since the first Pixel was released in 2016. But it’s not cutting it anymore. Samsung, for one, is offering its Galaxy S22 phones four years of major updates and five years of security patches, outdoing Google by an extra year. And of course, Apple gives its iPhones at least five years of iOS updates, and often, they even get more than that — some iPhones have been supported for up to seven years.
Not only did Google not mention this during the event, but it also seemingly went the extra mile to hide it and mislead users. Google touted that both phones would get “5 years of updates” while it was talking about Pixel feature drops during the event, not mentioning or acknowledging that two of those five years would be for security patches only. The company also avoided mentioning it in the spec sheet of the Pixel 7 lineup.
If Google wants to position the Pixel lineup as Android’s equivalent to the iPhone, it really needs to go the extra mile on this, especially seeing how the phones are using Google’s own silicon. There are no excuses.