The two years of major OS updates is over for the Nexus 6P, 5X, and Pixel C.
The first developer preview for the next major version of Android—Android P—is out today. These releases occasionally come out for supported Google devices, giving developers a heads-up on what changes to expect from a coming release. The supported device list for this release is a little slim, though. The Android P Developer Preview only works on the Pixel 1 and 1 XL, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, and that’s it. Support has been dropped for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C tablet, which is a big change from the Android 8.1 Developer Preview.
After checking with Google, we confirmed that this isn’t a fluke of the developer preview program—the Nexus 5X, 6P, and Pixel C won’t be getting the final release of Android P. While they will still receive monthly security updates, Android 8.1 was the last major Android release for the Nexus phones and Pixel tablet.
The Nexus 6P and 5X launched with an update policy of two years for major OS updates and three years for security updates. They all launched in Q4 2015, so the two-year update window has been closed for some time now. In fact, technically they shouldn’t even have received an update to Android 8.1. Monthly security updates will still continue until at least November 2018.
The Pixel C launched around the same time and should have the same update policies, but it isn’t listed on Google’s update page. The death of the Pixel C means Google currently has no supported Android tablets.
For the Pixel 2, Google upgraded its update policy to three years for major OS updates and monthly security updates, but this still pales in comparison to what Apple is doing. The latest release, iOS 11, works all the way back to the iPhone 5S, which was released in 2013. While buying a phone from Google lets you sidestep Android’s fragmented update mess, Google still can’t compete with Apple’s end-to-end control. Apple’s control over the OS, phone manufacturing, and even the SoC allows it to support a device for as long as it wants. For now, that seems to be a whopping five years.