Last week, we told you that instead of Google rolling out software updates to all Pixel and Pixel XL units without a middle man, those bought through Verizon wouldn’t get these updates and instead would receive ones verified by the carrier. This ultimately led to plenty of speculation as to whether Verizon-locked Pixels would receive updates as soon as unlocked Pixels. However, the company has now confirmed to Ars Technica that software upgrades which roll out to unlocked units will hit their locked units just as quickly.
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.
It’s worth noting that we should probably stop saying Pixels bought through Verizon are carrier locked, because according to the carrier, these units are also unlocked, much like the ones sold through Google. They just come with a Verizon SIM card and three preinstalled apps (Go90, Verizon Messages, My Verizon) that, by the way, can “easily be uninstalled by the user.”
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.
You may be a bit confused, so let me clear this up for you: buying the Pixel through Verizon is just like buying it through Google. The only difference is you get a Verizon SIM pre-installed, there’s 3 uninstallable apps on-board, and the price is ever so slightly cheaper. Otherwise, updates will be delivered the same, the two models (Verizon Edition and Google Edition, if you will) are both unlocked, and they each share the same specs, design elements, and software experience. All in all, we should all praise the Man Upstairs since it was naturally assumed that those who bought a Pixel through Verizon wouldn’t be on the bleeding edge of the latest software. Luckily, this isn’t the case and it looks like Google has more control over what gets delivered to these phones than we originally anticipated.
October 20th is the big day when the Pixel will become available, so now the question rises: will you buy the Pixel through Google or Verizon? I recommend Verizon since the price will be cheaper, but you’re likely better off going the Google route since that’s the safest option. Nevertheless, your buying decision is totally opinion-based, so let me know what you ultimately decided to do in the comments.