Android 15 developer preview confirms Google is now all-in on team Tensor

google android 15 logo
(Image credit: Google)

Android 15 is on the way, starting with Google’s Pixel phones, but there’s some bad news for those of you that are still rocking an older model. If your Pixel is still running on a Snapdragon chipset, rather than one of Google’s Tensor chips, you won’t be able to enjoy the upcoming software upgrade.

We know this because Google just released the first Android 15 developer preview, and in the process revealed which Pixel phones are compatible with the software. The oldest phones on that list are the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro — the first Pixels to come with a Tensor chip. Though this development shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

In the past Google hasn’t been particularly generous with Android updates. The switch to more long-term support has only happened in the past few years, so older phones typically only got three years of software support. That means the Pixel 5’s support expired last October, while the Pixel 5a is scheduled to be discarded this August — which is before Android 15 is expected to arrive.

The Pixel 6 series is also scheduled to lose Android update support in October, so how much Android 15 it gets will entirely depend on when the software launches. If Android 15 launches in late summer, as is often the case, then Pixel 6 owners will get two months of Android 15 refinements to enjoy. 

If Android 15 launches alongside the Pixel 9 in October, as happened with Android 14 and the Pixel 8 last year, then the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro might just slip through the cracks and get an update. But that’ll be your lot, even if security updates are confirmed to last until October 2026.

However it means that Google is now all-in on team Tensor, and the age of the Snapdragon Pixel is over. Some might see this as a shame, since Tensor chips aren’t exactly performance powerhouses like flagship Snapdragon chips. But at the same time Google rarely used the latest and best Snapdragon chip to begin with.

Still, it’ll be nice to see a Tensor chipset that’s all-Google, rather than being based on Samsung's Exynos chipsets. Which, let’s be honest, have never been particularly great. But we may have to wait until the Pixel 10 before we see that.

But if you are still rocking a Pixel 5a, then now’s the time to be thinking about upgrading sometime before the end of the year. Since the Google Pixel 8a is on the way, and expected to launch at Google I/O in May, it may prove to be the perfect option for you. 

Especially if it has 7 years of software updates like the Pixel 8, which would prevent this exact same thing happening in 3 or 4 years time. So don't run out and buy one of the best cheap phones just yet.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.