Before the announcement of the Pixel and Pixel XL that Google was planning to launch the new flagships by way of Verizon Wireless, rumors are swirling around. Some rumors suggested it would land on other carriers, but the general consensus, as far as rumors were concerned, was that at least Verizon would be part of the mix.
With an exclusive deal with Verizon in place, Google made that official earlier this month, the fear began creeping in. Why an exclusive at all? And, perhaps worse, did this mean that Verizon would be handling the software updates for the Google phones?
A short time before Google confirmed that Verizon would indeed be handling the software updates for the Pixel and Pixel XL under its banner – but not security patches, which Google would handle directly.
That revelation led many to assume that software updates for the Verizon Pixel phones would be slower than those released for Google’s direct offerings. Those assumptions were founded on past situations, of course, so they weren’t completely unfounded.
I know a few people who skipped the Verizon Pixel for that exact fear.
One of the strengths of the Pixel lineup, as Google made clear, was that software updates would be handled by the company, just as the Nexus lineup had been (at least the ones not launched on carriers). That meant easy access to new features, and not having to wait for carriers to get around to it.
So going with the Verizon variant just wasn’t an option for some people who wanted those quick updates.
Here we are today, and Verizon has confirmed that it will not be standing in the way of software updates for the Pixel or Pixel XL. That means, as confirmed by the carrier, that when the non-Verizon variants are updated from Google, the Verizon handsets will also be updated at the same time.
So while Verizon is technically handling the updates, they aren’t going to slow them down with its testing and red tape. Technicalities aside, this should alleviate the fear some have had, and will hopefully mean even more sales for the Pixel lineup under Verizon’s banner.
More than that, though, I really want this to mean a change on Verizon’s part. I know that it isn’t likely, and this is probably Google just trying to leverage its size and scope like Apple continues to do, but the language of Verizon’s confirmation has me hoping despite myself.
Verizon says it “won’t be standing in the way” of software updates, which, at the very least, confirms that Verizon is acknowledging it has done just that in the past. Even recently. So does that also mean that Verizon is changing its outlook on these types of updates moving forward, for other manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, and HTC?
Maybe not. Maybe even probably not. But here’s hoping, right?