Hey, Google: It’s time to step up your Pixel upgrade promise

    Look, it is no massive secret that I’m a fan of Google’s Pixel program.I’ve personally owned Pixel telephones for the reason that first-gen mannequin graced our gunk-filled pockets means again in 2016. And Pixels have been the one Android units I’ve wholeheartedly advisable for most folk ever since.There’s a cause. And greater than something, it comes right down to the software program and the general expertise Google’s Pixel method offers.
    Part of that’s the Pixel’s interface and the dearth of any pointless meddling and complication — together with the absence of complicated (and sometimes privacy-compromising) duplicative apps and companies larded onto the telephone for the producer’s enterprise profit and on the expense of your person expertise.
    Part of it’s the unmatched integration of remarkable Google companies and unique Google intelligence that places genuinely helpful stuff you may truly profit from entrance and middle and makes it an built-in a part of the Pixel bundle.
    And, sure, a part of it’s the Pixel improve promise and the truth that Pixel telephones are nonetheless the one Android units the place each well timed and dependable software program updates are a built-in function and assure.
    [Psst: Got a Pixel? Any Pixel? Check out my free Pixel Academy e-course to uncover all sorts of advanced intelligence lurking within your phone!]To make sure, different Android device-makers have gotten higher about upgrades on and off over time. But they’ve by no means dealt with that space with the consistency and the precise dedication Google provides — notably relating to the timeliness facet of the coin. That’s very true with the oft-overlooked previous-gen flagships, the place most different Android-associated corporations actually drop the ball.So, please, preserve all of that context in thoughts after I say this: Google’s gotta do higher. Allow me to elucidate.The Google Pixel replace evolutionTo get to what’s occurring in the present day, we first have to fly again for a second to this time six years in the past. Way again at the start of the Pixel line’s existence, again within the fall of 2016, providing a telephone with two years of working system replace help was just about desk stakes.That quantity was the de facto Android ecosystem customary — for a flagship telephone, at the very least, even when most others producers did not all the time observe it.So seeing Google persist with that setup for its preliminary Pixel product made sufficient sense. It wasn’t distinctive in and of itself, however the truth that Google truly delivered all of these updates to all of its Pixels kind of instantly after every replace’s arrival was completely one thing price celebrating (and that is placing it mildly).Still, even then, it felt like there was room for Google to do extra. As a sure comely author mused that October, shortly after the unique Pixel’s debut:
    If the Pixel goes to symbolize the perfect of Google and Android, because it’s meant to, Google ought to convey issues up a step from the baseline and make the Pixel stand out not only for its dedication to timeliness but additionally for its dedication to longevity. …
    An further 12 months of updates would present that it is a telephone meant to final — that it truly is a lower above the remainder. It’d present that Google is worried with long-term client satisfaction over short-term gross sales. It’d present that on this form of holistic state of affairs, updates do not need to be a supply of frustration on any stage.
    More than something, it’d present that the Pixel actually is a particular telephone, by means of and thru — a telephone that … will provide you with unmatched worth to go together with its unmatched person expertise.
    One 12 months later, Google listened.With the Pixel 2 in 2017, Google boosted its software program help promise to a few years of each Android working system updates and month-to-month safety patches. By the time we hit the Pixel 6 in 2021, that promise had expanded to a full 5 years of safety patch help together with the identical three years of working system updates. That’s definitely nothing to shake a stick at.But on the similar time, the ecosystem across the Pixel has progressed. The customary has shifted. And as an alternative of main the way in which with longevity, Google’s Pixel is now lagging behind a few of its contemporaries.To wit: As of this 12 months, Samsung is now pledging a full 4 years of working system updates for a few of its Galaxy-branded Android merchandise. And simply this week, OnePlus introduced it’d do the identical for its top-of-the-line flagship telephones beginning in 2023. Now, there are many caveats to be thought of there. Both of these corporations are confoundingly inconsistent with how lengthy it takes for present software program to truly attain its highest-paying prospects — a notion that is very true relating to the previous-generation merchandise. If you are planning on retaining a Samsung or OnePlus telephone for greater than a 12 months, you’d higher be okay with ready lengthy whereas to get the updates that ought to, by all counts, attain you inside a matter of days.And that is to say nothing concerning the timeliness of the equally essential safety patches, which OnePlus will apparently ship solely on a bimonthly foundation as an alternative of sending ’em out each month, as they arrive.So, sure: Google’s Pixel telephones nonetheless present a superior all-around software program help setup — one thing that is notably obvious while you’re palming a one-, two-, or three-year-old Pixel and nonetheless getting the newest and biggest (and most privacy-respecting and safe) Android software program inside hours of its launch as an alternative of ready months to see it.But nonetheless: That’s solely a part of the story. When it involves longevity, Google’s now behind the curve with its Pixel promise as an alternative of main the way in which — or on the very least matching the main provide.Google Pixel perspectiveTo be clear, none of this takes away from the Pixel’s place as the most effective out there all-around Android possibility in my ebook. The asterisks across the different main Android selections are way more important, and even on a purely numerical foundation, the Pixel truly nonetheless comes out forward in most measures.Consider:
    The Pixel 7 prices $600, whereas the Galaxy S22 begins at $800.
    If you divide these costs by the variety of years every machine receives energetic working system updates (and thus is absolutely advisable to make use of, from a privateness and safety standpoint), the Pixel 7 finally ends up costing $16.67 a month over its 36-month interval — which is precisely the identical as what the Galaxy S22 prices per 30 days over its 48-month OS help window.
    And keep in mind, the Pixel 7 will truly get its updates kind of instantly upon their launch all through the period of its life, whereas the Galaxy S22 will face an more and more delayed supply with every year that it exists.
    All of that being mentioned, the comparability right here is not fully parallel. Google is not Samsung. Its function throughout the Android ecosystem is dramatically totally different — as is its enterprise mannequin and what it stands to realize from getting individuals on board with its merchandise.Google, suffice it to say, is not your common Android producer. While most device-makers rely totally on {hardware} gross sales to show a revenue, Google makes nearly all of its cash by encouraging you to spend as a lot time as attainable utilizing the web and thus its companies (which in flip, after all, means you may present extra information that’ll let Google present you extra and higher focused adverts throughout the online).Google’s final aim, in different phrases, is not strictly to promote as many telephones as attainable. It’s to make the Android expertise nearly as good as attainable for as many individuals as it will probably. More than something, it needs to supply a spectacular ongoing person expertise by which its personal companies shine, as that almost all successfully helps its major enterprise mannequin.Google’s in a novel place to set its personal singular customaryThat places Google in a novel place to boost the stakes on software program help and on the very least match however ideally surpass what every other device-maker is doing. It places Google able to set its personal singular customary — one befitting of the Pixel’s positioning as the most effective out there Android expertise, with the most effective out there help.And particularly when you think about the truth that Google now makes use of its personal custom-made chips to energy present Pixels — thus eliminating a typical barrier to offering prolonged software program help, as that may typically rely at the very least partially on the producer of a telephone’s processor persevering with to help the machine’s parts — there’s actually no nice justification for Google to not make a transfer like this.Last however not least, contemplate: Google’s supposedly now “doubling down” on its funding in Pixel units, in response to a current report on the web site The Information. The firm is alleged to be gearing as much as extra aggressively market and push its merchandise as essentially the most optimum strategy to expertise Android, in an effort to extra successfully head off current U.S. market good points being made by Apple.All that is lacking is the ecosystem-leading longevity promise — and now greater than ever, the items are in place to handle that.It’s time, Google. If you actually need the Pixel to shine and to exist in a league of its personal, with none apparent “buts” round it, that is the transfer to make. And that is completely the second to make it.Don’t let your self miss an oz. of Pixel magic. Sign up for my free Pixel Academy e-course and uncover tons of hidden options and time-saving tips in your favourite Pixel telephone.

    Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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