Google’s Pixel 6 could have 5 years of software support, just like the iPhone
If the rumors are true, Google is gearing up to launch the Pixel 5a next month, but what we’re really looking forward to is the Pixel 6 series launch later this year. Based on what we know so far, it looks like the Pixel 6 Pro will be the first truly premium flagship-level smartphone from Google, as previous Pixel phones have always lagged behind the competition when it comes to hardware. When it comes to software updates, Google has consistently provided the fastest and longest-term support (among Android OEMs), but recent update commitments from Samsung and OnePlus have put Google in third place. That could change with the release of the Pixel 6 series, however.
According to Jon Prosser of FrontPageTech, Google is reportedly committed to providing at least 5 years of software updates for both phones in the Pixel 6 series. It’s unclear if that means both phones will get 5 generations of OS updates, 4 generations of OS updates plus an additional year of security updates, or some other combination of OS + security updates, but what’s clear is that Google is taking full advantage of the fact that it has full control over the silicon powering both devices. As a reminder, we’ve known for a while that Google plans to ship both devices with its custom GS101 silicon, code-named “whitechapel.” Since Google is coding the drivers to make Android compatible with its GS101 silicon, we presume they can support new versions of Android for as long as they’re willing to invest time and money into supporting newer versions.
Five years of support is definitely great news as Android phones have always lagged behind Apple phones when it comes to long-term software support. The Pixel 6 series could finally be the first phones from a major smartphone maker to have software support on par with Apple’s iPhones. We won’t know for sure until the phones are announced, though, but we’ll probably have confirmation as we approach the rumored launch date later this fall. Prosser says the launch will happen “sometime near October of 2021”, but he doesn’t have a finalized release date yet.
Prosser’s leak also reveals a couple of other details about the new Pixel 6 series. According to him, both devices support 6GHz Wi-Fi (also known as Wi-Fi 6E), are Android Enterprise Recommended, and run Android 12 out of the box. The smaller phone, code-named “oriole” (Prosser’s report seemingly has a typo as it lists the code-name as “oriel”), has a 6.4″ AMOLED display, a dual rear camera setup comprised of a 50MP wide and a 12MP ultra wide camera, an 8MP front camera, a 4614mAh battery, 8GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of storage, and Android 12. The larger Pixel 6 “Pro” model, code-named “raven”, sports a 6.71″ plastic OLED display, a triple rear camera setup comprised of a 50MP main, 48MP telephoto, and 12MP ultra wide camera, a 12MP front camera, a 5000mAh battery, 12GB of RAM, and 128, 256, or 512GB of internal storage. The Pixel 6 Pro marks the first time that Google has shipped both a telephoto and an ultra wide angle camera in the same phone, and it’s also the first phone from Google to have more than 8GB of RAM and over 128GB of internal storage.
It’s worth noting that Prosser has a shaky history with Pixel leaks. While his leaks of the “Pixel Ultra” and Pixel 5 were proven wrong, his recent leak of the Pixel 6’s design was corroborated by none other than Steve Hemmerstoffer, AKA OnLeaks. Thus, we’re inclined to believe Prosser has a legitimate source on Pixel info this time, but as always, you should take any leak with a grain of salt.