Verizon to Handle Android Updates for its Google Pixels

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The benefit of buying a Google Nexus—now Pixel—device has always been that they are usually the first to receive major Android OS updates. Google said as much as its Tuesday event, promising Pixel upgrades as soon as they are available, downloaded in the background.

If you buy your Pixel through Verizon, however, it might be business as usual when it comes to Android updates. A Google spokesman confirmed to PCMag that Verizon will handle Android update rollouts for Pixel phones on its network.

"Monthly security updates will come from Google (for all models), and system updates will be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store," the company said.

Last year, in the wake of the Stagefright bug, Google announced that it would roll out monthly security updates for Nexus devices. It appears that will continue with the Pixel, even for Verizon devices, but when it comes to OS updates, rollout schedules will be Verizon's call.

Perhaps the carrier will deploy as soon as Google does, but maybe not. If you're eager to have Android updates as soon as they're available, buy directly from Google. While the Pixel is a "Verizon exclusive," meanwhile, there are other options, like Republic Wireless and Google's own Project Fi.

Those who purchase a Pixel will get an upgraded version of Nougat that lets users swipe up from the bottom for a quick view of apps (see video above).

Pixel comes in two sizes—5 or 5.5 inches—and runs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. It sports a high-def AMOLED Corning Gorilla Glass 4 display with 4GB of RAM, a fingerprint sensor, USB-C connector, and 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as support for Bluetooth 4.2. Google is offering unlimited storage for full-resolution photos and 4K videos shot with the Pixel's 12.3-megapixel rear-facing camera. And VR fans can pop the Pixel into Google's new Daydream View—the first Daydream-ready headset and controller, available next month for $79.

Pre-orders are now open in the Australia, Canada, Germany, the US, and the UK. Phones start at $649 or $27 per month for the 32GB model; a 128GB version is also available.

For more, see how the Pixel compares to the Galaxy S7 and our comparison between the iPhone 7 Plus and Pixel XL.

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 12:40 p.m. Eastern with comment from Google.

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