Surprise! Buying a Google Pixel smartphone from Verizon Wireless means that Big Red has final say when it comes to delivering Android updates.
Those who purchase a new Google Pixel smartphone unlocked from the Google Store will get their future Android updates straight from Google, just how it worked with Nexus devices.
The Verizon Pixel models, however, are carrier versions and updates are left to the carrier. It’s worth mentioning that the same applies to Verizon Pixel smartphones purchase from Best Buy, since the retailer is not carrying the unlocked versions of the handsets.
Google itself has confirmed to 9to5Google that Verizon will be responsible for delivering future Android updates to the Google Pixel smartphones that it sells. This means that it will likely take a while for future updates to hit the devices.
Any intermediary between Google and Google device users typically results in delays, and carriers conduct their own testing processes before delivering updates. Verizon, for its part, is notorious for delivering updates late, which means that Google Pixel owners may not get the latest updates as soon as they’re available.
On the bright side, Google retains control of security. The company will be in charge of delivering the monthly Android security updates directly to its smartphones, be they Verizon versions or unlocked models. Meanwhile, those who would like to avoid Android update delays might want to consider purchasing a Google Pixel or Pixel XL directly from the Google Store. They’re fully compatible with Verizon’s network and might save you some headaches down the line, when new updates hit the scene.
As a bonus, Pixel smartphones purchased from Google will not come with Verizon’s own bloatware preinstalled – and Big Red tends to stuff its devices full of preloaded applications.
That may not change the fact that most people prefer to buy smartphones from carriers, but at least it serves as a heads-up. Verizon is the exclusive carrier partner for the Google Pixel smartphones, but interested customers can always opt for the unlocked version instead.
If you’re not sure which Google Pixel smartphone might be the right fit for you, check out our Google Pixel vs. Pixel XL comparison. The two smartphones will officially go on sale in November, but both are already available for preorder. To further sweeten the deal, both the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL come with a free Daydream VR headset, as they’re the first smartphones to be Daydream-ready.