Google is reportedly set to update its software update policy with the Pixel 8
- Samsung has set the standard for software updates in the Android ecosystem with four years of OS updates and five years of security patches for Galaxy phones.
- The upcoming Pixel 8 series from Google could potentially surpass Samsung devices and offer iPhone-like software support.
- Google’s transition to its Tensor SoC has likely enabled extended software support.
Pixel 8’s Potential to Surpass Samsung Devices
Samsung has set the standard for software updates in the Android ecosystem by promising four years of OS updates and five years of security patches for its best Galaxy phones. And while Google’s Pixel phones are the first in line to get the latest Android updates, they are only eligible for three OS updates. The situation will reportedly change with the upcoming Pixel 8 series, which could even surpass Samsung devices and get iPhone-like software support.
Potential iPhone-like Software Support
Apple typically provides iOS updates for iPhones for at least 5 years after release. And while the 2018 iPhone X will not receive the upcoming iOS 17 update, it still gets important security patches. 9to5Google sources claim Pixel 8’s software update policy could match the iPhone’s. There are no other details, but it would be a big deal if Google could come anywhere close.
Tensor SoC’s Role in Extended Software Support
The more modern ARM v9 cores on the upcoming Tensor G3 could have played a key role in Google’s decision to provide OS updates to the Pixel 8 for a longer timeframe. Rumors indicate this year’s Tensor G3 will pack significant performance and efficiency improvements compared to the last two Tensor iterations.
Previous Pixel Lineup Updates
Google last updated the Pixel lineup’s software update policy with the launch of the Pixel 6 in 2021. All devices launched since then are eligible for three OS updates and five years of security patches, including the Pixel Fold.
Transition to Tensor SoC
The company’s transition to its in-house Tensor SoC likely allowed for extended software support. This is because Google has full control over the entire software and hardware stack, allowing it to determine how long its phones and tablets will get OS updates and security patches. Current-gen Tensors are heavily customized variants of Samsung’s Exynos SoCs. Things could improve even further once Google goes full-custom with Tensor chips, though that will reportedly not happen until 2025.
Raising the Standard of Software Support
As for the older Snapdragon-powered Pixel 4 and Pixel 5 series, they received OS and security updates for three years after their launch. This year, it appears Google is ready to take the baton from Samsung and raise the standard of software support in the Android ecosystem.