Verizon Google Pixel will get updates right away, is carrier unlocked

On our podcast earlier today, I told our listeners not to buy the Google Pixel from Verizon. Historically, being tied down to a carrier meant slower software updates, and Verizon is notoriously bad for that.

Turns out things are different with the Verizon version of the Google Pixel, though. Here’s what Verizon told Ars Technica:

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.

Why this matters:

This is pretty unprecedented for an Android smartphone on a U.S. carrier. Verizon and other carriers usually have a tight grip on all software updates, save for those issued by Apple. Now it looks like Google has managed to get Android the same privilege. With rumors that the Google Pixel is bound for AT&T, too, this is huge news for Android.

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