Pixel 3 and 3 XL might still get one last update next year

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The latest monthly security update for Pixel phones was a bitter one for Pixel 3 owners. It only emphasized the fact that the phone, after three years, is no longer getting monthly security updates even after receiving Android 12. To be blunt, there are very few technical reasons why that has to be the case, and Google’s slightly good news partially proves it. Like the Pixel 2 last year, the Pixel 3 and 3 XL might still receive one security patch, but not until some time in early 2022.

The situation goes back to the question of why manufacturers put a certain limit to supporting phones with software updates. In the past, it may have been tied to the regular two-year warranty period offered by telcos or component makers, but that has always been an arbitrary decision since software isn’t beholden to the same restrictions as hardware. It might also be a case of managing human resources working on updates, but the mobile industry has already progressed to the point that it shouldn’t take too much work, especially for larger companies.

Those considerations might not even apply to the Pixel phones since Google controls both hardware and software, or at least most of it. The company had the opportunity this year to prove it has as much control and confidence in its platform as Apple but fell short of expectations when it announced its update plans for the Pixel 6. In that light, it’s really no surprise that it didn’t even bother to move the needle for the Pixel 3.

Its 2018 flagship was really only promised three years of updates for both Android feature upgrades and security fixes, and it reached the end of the line last month. That said, it seems that Google is giving the phones one last hurrah, just like the Pixel 2 last year. Unlike the Pixel 2, however, 9to5Google was told the Pixel 3 won’t receive its last maintenance update until the first quarter of 2022.

That update will, of course, be a minor one but will hopefully include at least the fixes from November and December. It still boggles the mind that Google couldn’t extend security updates for its phones a lot longer, especially in the light of other manufacturers lining up to brag about theirs. In fact, just recently, Amazon announced its guarantee of at least four years of updates for its Android-based Fire TV devices, though admittedly, there are other factors to consider when comparing Amazon’s implementation with Google’s “pure” Pixel Android experience.

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