Normally, you take the day that Google launches a new version of Android, add four lunar cycles, subtract Andy Rubin’s birthday, and are left with how long it’ll be until your carrier-specific device gets the update. Wireless providers are notorious for dragging their heels over pushing updates to devices, leading to massive delays in updates and causing big problems for Android as a platform.
But I’m pleased to report that today things are working a little differently. Google only made the final developer preview of Android Oreo official last week, but Verizon has already started rolling out the software update to users via an over-the-air download.
The timing of an update might seem like a minor detail, but it’s an important thing to get right if Verizon is going to attract Pixel buyers back to its network. Google’s own Pixel phone is always going to have a cult following among the nerdier part of the population, who are the kind of people who complain if they have to wait three extra hours — let alone months — if they want a software update.
When Verizon was announced as Google’s only retail partner for the Pixel last fall, it prompted dismay, and a pledge among some people to just buy the device unlocked from Google, so they’d get releases as soon as possible. Assuming Verizon keeps this trend going, that won’t be necessary.