The Pixel 4 series was the beginning of a more “experimental” phase in Google’s portfolio, equipped with advanced sensors and high-performance hardware to compete with the flagships of the moment, but already this can be said to have “expired”. Google is discontinuing software support for these models as they are three years old. From now on, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL will be updated for two more years only for security certificate renewals, without new Android versions.
Pixel 4 series will remain “locked” to Android 13
The Pixel 4 was an unusual series for Google, as it relied on the use of a radar sensor called Soli for authentication. This was an advanced security system, comparable to Face ID on the iPhone, but it wasn’t as successful as it should have been. The Soli technology eventually found a “home” in the company’s Nest Home series of sleep monitoring devices.
The odd thing about the Pixel 4, however, was the top “bangs”, or “forehead”, as the front sensors were positioned above the screen, with no cutouts. Thus, users were probably a little put off by the phone’s unusual design. This was thus Google’s last flagship-level phone, before they moved on to models that were more focused on user experience and less on high processing power.
The Pixel 4 launched with Android 10 and has received updates to all versions to date, including Android 13, so it has received more support than most phones released in the same period. Being a Google phone, however, we would have expected longer software support. However, Google has dropped previous Pixel models every year for the past few years after three years, and doesn’t seem to promise longer software support for the next generations either.
Competition in the market offers a longer period for system updates
Given that Samsung, a Google partner, promises four years of updates and five years of security, and Apple, which produces both software and hardware, like Google, usually guarantees a minimum of five years of updates, and in some cases even extends to six or seven years for its phones, Google’s decision to drop its phones so quickly is odd, to say the least.
The mid-range Pixel 4a and 4a 5G models, however, will remain on the officially supported list until the summer, when they “turn” 3 years old, even though they are considered inferior models.