Some Android phone makers are starting to get serious about offering long(er) term support for their phones, while others ship phones that may never see a single security update, much less a major operating system update.
You’d think Google would be at the head of the class here, since the company’s Pixel phones run Google-made Android software. And indeed, if you buy a Pixel 6 this year, it’ll keep getting security updates until at least October, 2026. But if you bought an older phone, you may not have been so lucky: the Google Pixel 3, for example, was released in 2018 and the phone recently received its final update.
Here’s the thing though: as Motherboard’s Aaron Gordon points out, the Google Pixel 3 is still a pretty good phone. The software is relatively up to date, and the specs are good enough to run most recent Android apps. And even if it never receives a major Android operating system update, it could continue to pick up new features through app updates and updates rolled out to Google Play Services.
But without any new security updates, the phone is essentially a ticking time bomb. As new vulnerabilities are discovered and not patched, using an older phone that no longer receives security updates starts to look like you’re just asking to get hacked.
And so Gordon finds himself “forced to dump a perfectly good phone.” Heck, it’s a phone that you can still buy new for around $190 and up.
So that got me wondering. Is the end of security updates enough for you to consider dropping a phone that’s otherwise still useful?
Personally I find that my phones usually suffer from battery degradation long before the security updates stop. So I end up buying a new phone every 2-3 years anyway because it’s increasingly rare to find a phone with a user replaceable battery (unless you opt for niche devices like the PinePhone Pro or Fairphone 4).
But non-removable batteries and security updates that end after a few years are both symptoms of the same problem: planned obsolescence. It’s not really in the interest of most phone makers to let you keep using the same device for more than a few years, because they want you to buy a new one.
As we bid farewell to security updates for the Google Pixel 3 and ponder whether 3 years of support is really “a great experience” for users, I wonder: do you keep using phones after they stops receiving updates? I guess some never get them at all, so…
Huawei P50 Pocket foldable phone and P50 Pro flagships hit Europe this week, but neither will be available in the US. Like all recent Huawei Android devices though, they’ll ship without Google Play Services. They also lack 5G.
Lenovo Legion Phone 3 Elite and Legion Phone 3 Pro leak with multiple gaming features and up to 18 GB of RAM [NotebookCheck]
Lenovo’s next-gen gaming phones could have monster specs, dual fans for cooling, big batteries, 144 Hz displays, and lots of gaming buttons (4 x ultrasonic shoulder, 2 x capacitive rear, 2x onscreen force). There have been a number of official teasers from Lenovo, plus some unofficial leaks recently. NotebookCheck’s article does a pretty good job of summarizing what we know so far.
The new Simply NUC Everglades is a small, fanless mini PC with an Intel Celeron J4125 Gemini Lake Refresh processor for $299 and up (the starting price is for a barebones model with 4GB RAM, no storage, and no OS).
Next month Microsoft will roll out a public preview of the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), allowing you to run Android apps on Windows 11 stable. Ahead of that launch, WSA is now available in the Release Preview channel for Windows Insiders.