In September 2023, Google rolled out its latest security update for Pixel smartphones. However, there was a noticeable absence on the list of eligible devices the Google Pixel 4a. Launched in 2020, this mid-range device seems to have been removed from Google’s list of Pixel phones eligible for future updates, raising concerns among users. Here are the details of this development, its implications, and what it means for other Pixel models.
The End of Support for Pixel 4a
The Google Pixel 4a, a budget-friendly device, enjoyed Google’s software updates for only three years. This is a relatively short period considering the prevailing trend in the Android smartphone market, which has been shifting towards longer software support lifecycles. Google’s decision to discontinue support for the Pixel 4a is in line with their standard practice.
A Sign of Things to Come: Pixel 4a 5G
The discontinuation of software updates for the Pixel 4a raises questions about the fate of its sibling, the Pixel 4a 5G, which was launched a few months later. If Google’s pattern holds true, the Pixel 4a 5G is likely to face the same fate in November of the current year.
Google’s official documentation had stated that updates for the Pixel 4a would be guaranteed until August 2023, and it appears that this deadline has been met.
Three Years of Updates – Not a Day More
To clarify, Google has a policy that guarantees at least three years of software updates, including both Android version upgrades and security patches, starting from the date of the device’s initial release on the Google Store in the United States. Google has consistently adhered to this schedule.
Following the Pixel 4a, the Pixel 5 will be the next Google smartphone to reach the end of its software support cycle in October 2023. Subsequently, the Pixel 4a 5G will follow in November, and the Pixel 5a 5G in August 2024. It’s important to note that the end of software support doesn’t mean your device will become unusable, but its security level will deteriorate over time.
Implications and Considerations
Google’s decision to discontinue support for the Pixel 4a serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding a smartphone’s software support lifecycle before making a purchase. While the Pixel 4a was a popular budget option, its relatively short update cycle may make some users reconsider their choices.
For those who own a Pixel 4a or plan to purchase a Pixel 4a 5G, it’s essential to keep in mind that while the end of software support may be near, the devices will still function for a considerable time. However, without regular updates, they may become more vulnerable to security threats.
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