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From the editor’s desk: Imagine Android 17 on Pixel 6

Android 12 Material You WallpaperSource: Alex Dobie / Android Central

The launch of the third Android 12 beta this week gives us a look at an increasingly polished and largely complete version of Google’s next operating system. On phones like the Pixel 5, there is a marked improvement over previous beta versions and represents the biggest visual overhaul for stock Android in more than five years.

Back in 2016, the current Google flagship was the Huawei-built Nexus 6P, and the original Google Pixel – still then referred to as a hypothetical “HTC Nexus” – was just a rumor. In the dying days of the Nexus app, Android looked a lot different. Next to the innovative Material You Design language, Early Material Design in Android Lollipop and Marshmallow looks charming.

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Nexus 6P

Source: Phil Nickinson / Android Central

Five years is a long time in technology, especially mobile technology.

Five years is a long time in technology, and especially mobile technology. This is why the prospect of Google supporting its upcoming Google Pixel 6 phones for five years after its launch is a very big deal. If the latest reports are accurate, the Pixel phones it launches will in just a few months still run an updated Android platform version in early 2027. The comparison is that the original Pixel, launched in 2016, will be the latest update to Android 12 later in year.

It is true that some brands, especially Samsung with a four-year promise, have pushed forward with longer life for their flagship phones. Even OnePlus, which has recently earned a small reputation for updating something in addition to this year’s flagship, is increasing the game. But the Android ecosystem as a whole still does not come close to matching the life of the iPhone, and this is where the Google competition can force everyone to do better in 2022 and beyond. While it’s true that old iPhones may not get all the features of newer iOS versions, and that direct comparison of the Android and iPhone update models is not entirely fair, there is no doubt that five years of OS updates is a significant steps in the right direction. .

Google Pixel XL

Source: Alex Dobie / Android Central

Can Google soon become the most vertically integrated Android phone maker?

Over in iPhone countries is the oldest device supported by the upcoming iOS 15 2015s iPhone 6s. Just a few years ago, the Google Pixel 2 series launched with the promise of just two years of platform updates, a figure that was seen as quite generous at the time.

Given the striking features of three- and four-year support cycles for some of the best Android phones at the moment, this is clearly something Google is pushing for throughout the ecosystem as a whole. As such, it makes sense for the company to lead by example while also exerting competitive pressure with their own products.

If Google really plans to support Pixel 6 for five years, it will be vertical integration which helps it to pull this off. (Simply put, by using key components of its own design in the products instead of off-the-shelf parts.) Pixel 6’s bespoke “Whitechapel” processor, also called the GS101, makes Google the silicon supplier and lets it set the terms of the software support directly, without having to rely on the whims of Qualcomm as before. In 2021, no other Android phone maker really has this level of freedom.

In fact, with Huawei largely out of the picture and Samsung still using Qualcomm processors in the US and China, Google may soon become the most vertically integrated Android manufacturer. Pixel phones may never offer raw horsepower to an iPhone or even a flagship from the Snapdragon 800 series, but the extra flexibility it provides to Google should not be underestimated.

The Pixel 6 series looks set to launch later this year along with a major redesign for Android – the third platform has seen, after Holo in Android 4 and Material Design in Android 5. And if the latest leaks are to be assumed, it can only be seen the next, maybe in Android 15 in another half a decade.

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