Verizon Promises Speedy Google Pixel Android Updates

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Verizon, which will be the only US mobile carrier to sell the new Google Pixel smartphone, promised today to push Android updates to the devices as soon as Google makes them available.

Longtime Android users were concerned last week when Google said that operating system updates for Verizon Pixel models would be handled by the carrier, which has been slow to push Android updates in the past. But Verizon tells Ars Technica that the Pixel update process will be different.

In a statement, the company explained that "when Google releases an update, Verizon phones will receive the same update at the same time (much like iOS updates). Verizon will not stand in the way of any major updates and users will get all updates at the same time as Google."

Previously, Google said system updates for Pixel phones would be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and by Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store. While that still appears to be true, the carrier insists there won't be any lag time for Verizon Pixel users who want the latest Android version.

Verizon also confirmed that while it is the only carrier to offer the Pixel for sale, even the models its sells will be unlocked. It's unclear whether it will still manage software updates for customers who buy a Pixel for Verizon but choose to use it on a different network. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

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.

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