The obvious benefit of this new standard is that Pixel 8 owners won’t feel obliged to head to the store every three years to get the most out of the Android operating system. With Android updates dropping frequently, a device that has not been updated can look very different from one that is, even if only a year has passed. Security is another crucial component of updates. Although buffing up a device’s security is not as flashy as a features update, it is arguably more important.
That’s increasingly important, as smartphones become not only our repositories for personal data like payment cards, bank accounts, and social media accounts, but a growing target for hackers. Meanwhile, though Google — like other phone-makers — may be bringing design and development of some components in-house for its handsets, it still relies on third-party manufacturing, not to mention a host of other parts from suppliers. Each represents a potential for performance tweaks and improvements, security patches, and other updates as new iterations of software and hardware are developed.
While no smartphone is able to promise perfect safety, Google’s new commitment does at least mean the reassurance of a greater likelihood that, when vulnerabilities are discovered, they can be patched even if the phone is approaching its seventh year in production.