The thing that makes the Pixel phones so unique is their software; both run a bespoke version of Android Nougat that simply will not available anywhere else. Exclusive features for the Pixel and Pixel XL include, Google Assistant, Unlimited Storage For Photos and Video (even 4K video), among others.
But these aren’t what make the Pixel special. What makes the Pixel XL so special among several tech bloggers is its overall performance. The handset simply flies; nothing can hold it down. Couple this with market-leading battery performance – the type that has to be seen to be believed – and a brilliant camera and users have one hell of an Android phone.
Google has also revealed, as of October 20, that the Google Pixel phones will be guaranteed updates to the latest Android builds for the next two years. On the firm's "Check & update your Android version" page it promises to keep the Pixel series updated until October 2018.
"Pixel phones get Android version updates for at least 2 years from when the device became available on the Google Store. After 2 years, we can't guarantee additional updates."
Security updates are guaranteed for three years, however.
But if users aren't rocking a Nexus handset, then they may have to wait that little bit longer for Android N to arrive on their device. The reasons for this are myriad. Unfortunately, long delays on Android updates, even for flagship phones, is a fact of life within the Android Kingdom.
Here’s the official line via The Big G:
"The Android 7.1 Developer Preview gives you everything you need to test your app on the new platform or extend it with new features like app shortcuts and image keyboard support. It includes an updated SDK and tools, documentation and samples, as well as emulators and device system images for running your apps on supported devices.
We’re continuing the model we used in N and earlier releases, and with Android 7.1 being an incremental release there are a few differences to highlight:
Since 7.1 has already launched on Pixel, we’re delivering the initial Developer Preview at beta quality for the Nexus lineup of devices. The goal is to tease out any device-specific issues.
We’ve finalized the new APIs as API Level 25
We’ve opened up publishing on Google Play for apps targeting the new API level, so you can update your apps soon as you are ready.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at each of Google’s major hardware partner’s track-records with Android updates."