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Google publishes Nexus device End of Life timetable

by Mark Tyson on 23 June 2016, 11:31

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), HTC (TPE:2498), Huawei

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qac3xd

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Google's Nexus devices are highly regarded for their flagship hardware, on release, and their timely software updates thereafter. Owners of Nexus devices are often brimming with the geeky satisfaction gained from having the newest Android OS features and, importantly, the latest security updates. However the time during which users of Nexus devices are guaranteed Android version updates isn't particularly long. A new 'End of Life' (EOL) table published by Google makes this very clear.

As you can see above, from the official support page, Google Nexus devices are only guaranteed two years of Android version updates, starting from the time they debut on the Google Store. Security patch supply is guaranteed a little longer; for 3 years from availability, or 18 months since the device was last sold on the Google Store – whichever is longer.

According to the table the newest Nexus smartphones available, the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, will receive no guaranteed Android version updates after September next year. That seems quite a short amount of time for a device probably bought with the Nexus USP of the timeliest updates in mind. Despite Google's claim that "Android was built from day one with security in mind," it is frequently in the headlines for out-of-date, unpatched OS vulnerabilities thus being open to various viruses, trojans and malware.

HTC Marlin and Sailfish

If your aim is for the longest and most timely software update support for your next smartphone you will likely be anticipating the Nexus 2016 devices. According to the latest rumours, leaks, and reports HTC is currently working on a pair of Nexus smartphones codenamed Marlin and Sailfish. At least one of the phones will be powered by a Snapdragon 821 chipset says the report. Previous talk that Huawei would be the maker of Nexus devices again this year could still pan out with another 2016 Nexus device aimed at the Chinese market. Whatever the case, it is expected that Google will reveal its new Nexus devices in September for sale shortly after.

HEXUS Forums :: 26 Comments

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2 years guaranteed is way too short. Should be 3 years at the very minimum. Are they slaking is order to appease the the fear of manufacturers who make so little efforts in updating their devices?
I'm starting to be tired of the way android is developing. Sadly, other alternatives are not great.
Completely agree with Chuck - but equally annoyed with the way MicroSD slots are disappearing seemingly solely so the manufacturers can overcharge for the larger memory versions of their devices
Wow this is enough to put me off Android.
Admittedly the phone isn't going to just stop working but at the same time 2 years is just far too short in my opinion.

Now I can understand new features not being added to older phones (ala iPhone) but I find it highly unlikely that ‘higher end’ (which nexus are when you think about it) won't be able to run android in 2-3 years from. Having said iOS updates after 2 years seem to ‘slow down’ the phone…

This is purely a case of selling more phones rather than actually being able to update it, the amount of times I've seen cyanogenmod or custom roms with the latest android available for old devices show it is possible to run most of the newest versions.
2 years for Google. 18 mths for most Android makers. Its about the same for the fruit company since their latest iOSes tend not to run well on older fruit phones.

Still I feel security patches should be way longer. Consider this - Android development has addressed fragmentation very well by making many Google/Android apps modular and breaking them off from the OS for easy updating via Play Store.

Perhaps Android Nutella or future versions should focus on breaking things up even more (i.e. kernel and other low level systems) for security patch updates via Play Store.

In the meantime, at least we have custom ROMs.