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Pixel 4a to launch w/ Android 10 as Google prepares to drop support for Pixel 2

Last year, Google set a strong precedent for their Pixel phones by extending a third major update, Android 10, to the original Pixel and Pixel XL. Today, we’ve confirmed that Android 11 will be the last update for the Pixel 2.

Initially, Google only promised that their Pixel phones would receive two major updates, meaning the original Pixel phones should have reached their end of life on Android Pie. Last year though, “by popular demand,” Google extended the Pixel and Pixel XL to Android 10 to breathe one last bit of life into the 2016 phones.

Similarly, this year, the Pixel 2 is included as one of the devices compatible with the Android 11 Beta, and Pixel 2 owners will receive the full Android 11 update when it launches later this year. Unlike the first Pixel series, the Pixel 2 and onward are promised three major updates. That means with the release of Android 11 later this year, Google’s promise will be fulfilled.

We now believe the Android 11 update will be the Pixel 2’s third and last major update, with no extended support planned, according to a developer comment in the Android Open Source Project. In the comment, which also includes our first mention of 2021’s Pixel 5a, the Google developer explicitly states that they’re “in the process of dropping support for pixel 2.”

With that being the case, Pixel 2 / 2 XL owners can probably expect a similar experience to the original Pixel and Pixel XL, with only one or two final security updates after Android 11 launches, before finally being dropped by the end of the year.

In the same comment, the developer includes a list of almost every Pixel device, both released and unreleased, and the version of Android it launched — or will launch — with. From the list, we learn that the Pixel 4a will indeed launch with Android 10, not Android 11 as some have hoped.

Based on that, we believe the Pixel 4a will receive updates out to August 2023, meaning it may reach end of support a few months shy of when we would normally expect 2023’s Android 14 to launch. However, it’s too early to definitively speculate on Google’s update schedule for their mid-range devices.

If Google’s 2020 Pixel lineup seems a bit overwhelming or confusing, our Stephen Hall has broken down and simplified what to expect from each the three upcoming phones and who they are made for, which can also act as a fantastic speculative buying guide for owners of the soon-to-be-retired Pixel 2.

Pixel 2 owners, are you planning to upgrade to another Pixel phone this year or go with a different brand? Let us know down in the comments.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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