When it comes to software updates in the Android ecosystem, Samsung has set the standard with its promise of four years of OS updates and five years of security patches for the best Galaxy phones. But Google seems to be gunning for its title with the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, which could increase the number of Android OS updates to surpass Samsung and even rival Apple.
9to5Google sources claim Google's revamping the Pixel 8's software update policy to match the iPhone's, which offers up to five years of the latest iOS updates for the best iPhones, starting with its upcoming line of handsets. While there are no additional details at this time, this could be a huge game-changer for Google and fix one of the worst things about its Pixel phones.
With the Pixel 6, Google began offering three years of major Android OS version updates and an additional two for security patches. Of course, Samsung almost immediately put that to shame with the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S22, when the company began promising users four years of Android software updates, plus an additional year of security updates.
That policy continued through devices released this year, including the Flip 4 and Fold 4 as well as Samsung's more affordable offerings, like the Galaxy A54, which topped our list of the best cheap phones. Prior to the S22, Samsung guaranteed just three years of software updates, which still positioned the company among the more generous Android phone makers.
Google's tipped transition to the powerful Tensor G3 chip could be behind its decision to expand the Pixel 8's timeframe for OS updates. As 9to5 Google points out, current-gen Tensors are heavily based on Samsung Exynos. So if Google switches to an in-house Tensor SoC, that would give it more control over the entire software and hardware stack, allowing it to extend software support for its phones and tablets beyond what it offered previously.
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Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.
Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats. She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.