Google’s new Pixel phones look nice and all, but you could hear the entire tech community collectively groaning when the company announced that – other than the unlocked versions – it would be available exclusively from Verizon. Thankfully, Verizon has addressed one of our biggest biggest worries.
See, when the phones were announced, Google had told 9to5Google that though security updates for Verizon models, would come from Google, system updates would be managed by Verizon. Given the carrier’s poor track history with Android updates, that did not bode well.
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But today the carrier reached out to ArsTechnica to clear things up, providing the following statement:
First and foremost, all operating system and security updates to the Pixel devices will happen in partnership with Google. In other words, when Google releases an update, Verizon phones will receive the same update at the same time (much like iOS updates). Verizon will not stand in the way of any major updates and users will get all updates at the same time as Google.
Also, the Verizon version of the Google Pixel is carrier unlocked, so you can use it where ever you like. Finally, we have three apps pre-installed on the phone Go90, My Verizon (which is your account management tool) and Verizon Messages (your messaging app). As you noted, all three can easily be uninstalled by the user.
Google itself then corroborated the statements.
So while the Verizon version will still probably come with a locked bootloader, your experience should be largely the same – unless you plan on rooting your phone.
Still, we can’t see why you wouldn’t just buy the unlocked version. With financing, it basically costs the same, and you don’t the risk of Verizon ever changing its mind about what constitutes a ‘major update.’
That’s not to say having a carrier model isn’t a good option for the everyday user who doesn’t frequent tech blogs, but given the option and reasonable pricing, buying unlocked is almost always your best bet.