The Pixel Watch and Pixel 7 deserve greater than 3 years of updates
Google Pixel Watch close

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

After years of rumors and leaks, Google lastly took the wraps off the Pixel Watch earlier this week. Nonetheless, the corporate omitted one key element through the presentation — how lengthy it is going to assist its first-ever Put on OS smartwatch. Fortunately for us, Google’s personal product documentation web site goes into extra element. Similar to the Pixel 7 collection, the Pixel Watch will get three years of assured software program updates, up till October 2025 (Pixel 7 handsets will see an extra two years of safety updates too).

If that three-year OS promise doesn’t sound very spectacular, enable me to reassure you that it’s not. Let’s begin with the Pixel Watch. It faces two large opponents in the meanwhile and each outdo Google handily when it comes to assist. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5, which is constructed on the identical Put on OS basis, will obtain 4 years’ value of software program updates. The Apple Watch Collection 8, in the meantime, can be supported for 5 entire years based mostly on previous traits.

Samsung and Apple each supply longer software program assist for his or her respective telephones and smartwatches.

As a potential Pixel Watch purchaser, it’s disappointing to know that the clock is already ticking. If I don’t decide one up at launch, I’ll be shopping for a product that’s already hurtling towards a set expiration date. Whereas I do agree that Google has to attract a line someplace, three years isn’t almost sufficient for a tool that can keep on cabinets for a 3rd of that point.

Furthermore, contemplating Google’s tendency to close down beloved companies, I’m a bit of cautious about shopping for a first-generation product. Whereas I doubt it is going to share Stadia’s destiny, Google’s reluctance to make a long-term dedication doesn’t encourage confidence. In contrast, long-term updates would enshrine Google’s dedication, although that may be expensive for the corporate if its first-gen product flops. Certainly, the Galaxy Watch 5 appears just like the safer guess, and that’s earlier than we even focus on value. Samsung’s providing is 25% cheaper than the Pixel Watch.

Lengthy-term assist would possibly encourage extra confidence in Google’s first watch.

Earlier than the announcement, I’d hoped the Pixel Watch would develop into an business benchmark for long-term software program assist, much like the Nexus collection. As an alternative, I’m now reminded of how little has modified for the reason that late 2010s. Most Put on OS smartwatches at the moment, together with my second-gen Moto 360, acquired simply two to a few years of software program updates.

Opinion: The Pixel Watch can’t succeed if Google reuses the identical 8-year-old system

samsung galaxy s22 plus vs google pixel 7 back in hand

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

It’s not simply the Pixel Watch that disappoints on the software program updates entrance; Google’s Pixel 7 collection may also obtain three Android model updates. They’ll nonetheless see safety patches for a few years past 2025, however don’t anticipate any new characteristic drops.

When Google introduced that it’s utilizing customized silicon for the Pixel collection, many speculated that the transfer would carry longer assist home windows. This made sense as Google now not has to depend on a third-party chip vendor to launch up to date drivers or present assist. However regardless that Google negotiated with Qualcomm to make sure three OS updates for Snapdragon SoCs launched after 2020, the search big hasn’t moved previous that benchmark for its personal units. It’s not clear why. Maybe value remains to be a barrier given the Pixel’s comparatively small gross sales quantity.

The Pixel 7 collection will get three OS updates and 5 whole years of safety updates.

In the meantime, the competitors has caught up with Google. Xiaomi was as soon as derided amongst Android fans for its inconsistent software program assist. But, the corporate has promised to ship three years of OS updates and 4 years of safety patches to the Xiaomi 12 collection. To be clear, you get a further 12 months’s value of safety updates with the Pixel 7, however that’s solely a slim victory when you think about how far forward Google as soon as was.

After which there’s Samsung. The South Korean firm now leads the Android market when it comes to software program assist. With 4 years of OS updates and 5 whole years of safety patches, it’s not removed from matching Apple’s wonderful observe report. For some context, the iPhone 8 from 2017 obtained this 12 months’s iOS 16 replace. Samsung’s replace coverage additionally applies to mid-range smartphones just like the Galaxy A53 5G, which competes towards the inexpensive Google Pixel 6a relatively than the Pixel 7 and Professional.

If Google needs to rival the iPhone, it must do higher than half as a few years of OS updates.

Granted, there’s nonetheless one profit to proudly owning a Pixel — you get software program updates earlier than the remainder. Android 13, for instance, hasn’t made its method to most non-Pixel smartphones simply but. Despite the fact that Google hosts a beta program yearly, most producers solely appear to speed up growth after the steady launch.

Nonetheless, sooner updates don’t compensate for a shorter assist window. I’d additionally argue that many Pixel homeowners, at the least immediately, purchase into the ecosystem for Google’s clear and feature-rich Pixel UI. These discerning customers usually tend to examine their smartphones’ software program longevity towards the gold normal. If Google needs to promote a premium expertise that rivals the iPhone, it must do higher than half as a few years of OS updates. And extra importantly, we nonetheless want Google to guide by instance and hold the Android business on its toes. I doubt Samsung and Xiaomi would’ve improved their insurance policies if it wasn’t for the competitors.

Do you care about software program updates past three years?

1066 votes

All in all, I hope Google considers upping its dedication to long-term software program updates throughout the Pixel ecosystem — if not for the good thing about clients, then at the least for the atmosphere. Smartphone {hardware} has reached the purpose of diminishing returns, and with Google’s self-repair and different sustainability initiatives, we should always have the selection to proceed utilizing our current {hardware} for longer.

See additionally: It’s time to ditch our fascination with the yearly improve cycle