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Google didn’t even announce the one Pixel 3 feature that will make everyone want the phone

Published Oct 10th, 2018 9:23AM EDT
Pixel 3 XL Specs Vs Pixel 2 XL
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

After months of leaks and even a handful of early in-depth reviews that resulted from a box full of Pixel 3 XL prototypes being stolen and sold on the black market, Google on Tuesday finally unveiled its next-generation smartphone lineup. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are improvements over their predecessors in literally every way. Well actually, there’s a caveat to that last statement. The larger Pixel 3 XL might be a big step in the wrong direction where design is concerned, but only if you’re among a small group of vocal Android fans who hate the iPhone X style notch at the top of the phone’s display.

For everyone else, the Pixel 3 XL and smaller Pixel 3 are both fantastic phones that pack a ton of new software features into Google’s most impressive smartphone hardware to date. The company spent plenty of time during its press conference in New York City on Tuesday detailing the many exciting new software features packed into its new phones, but Google obviously didn’t have time to cover everything during its 90 minute presentation. There was one feature in particular, however, that probably should have been mentioned because it’s the one Pixel 3 feature that should make every Android fan want the phone.

Despite the fact that Verizon continues to be Google’s only wireless carrier partner for its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones, plenty of Android fans will buy them unlocked directly from Google. In fact, both phones are already available for pre-order in the Google Store ahead of their October 18th release.

In our hands-on preview of the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones, we covered many of the new features Google announced on stage during its big press event. The phones’ new all glass and metal design is sleek and lightweight, the displays are beautiful despite the big bezels that are still present on both models, and the camera continues to be a stand-out feature for Google this year.

Pixel phones offer a “pure Android” experience that continues to be a huge draw for hardcore Android fans who don’t want all the software bells and whistles that vendors like Samsung and other phone makers add to their handsets. But the experience itself isn’t the only thing that’s so great about Android on Google’s new Pixel phones.

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL obviously both ship with the latest and greatest version of Android, which is Android 9.0 Pie. We also know that Pixel phones always get the latest Android updates as soon as their released, while phones from other vendors typically take months to be updated. But a Google support page reveals the biggest advantage the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL have over rival smartphones: guaranteed Android updates for at least three years. That’s right, three years!

With most Android phones out there, user are lucky if they continue to get major updates after two years. Forget about the fact that it can take six months or even longer to get big updates, the phones simply aren’t updated with new Android builds after a while. Flagship phones from big vendors typically have a better track record, with at least two years of updates in store before users are cut off. But as stated on Google’s freshly updated support page, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are guaranteed to get Android updates through October 2021. The phones could continue to receive updates and security patches beyond that date, but Pixel 3 buyers can rest assured that they’ll have instant access to the latest and greatest Android software through at least Android 12.

Google’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are already available for pre-order from Google’s online store, and orders will begin shipping next Thursday, October 18th.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.