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'Google Is Forcing Me To Dump a Perfectly Good Phone'

Wednesday January 26, 2022. 01:02 AM , from Slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard, written by Aaron Gordon: Not quite three years ago, I bought a Pixel 3, Google's flagship phone at the time. It has been a good phone. I like that it's not too big. I dropped it a bunch, but it didn't break. And the battery life has not noticeably changed since the day I got it. I think of phones in much the same way I think of refrigerators or stoves. It's an appliance, something I need but feel no attachment to, and as long as it keeps fulfilling that need, I don't want to spend money replacing it for no real reason. The Pixel 3 fulfills my needs, so I don't want to spend $600 on the Pixel 6, which seems to be just another phone that does all the phone things.

But I have to get rid of it because Google has stopped supporting all Pixel 3s. Despite being just three years old, no Pixel 3 will ever receive another official security update. Installing security updates is the one basic thing everyone needs to do for their own digital security. If you don't even get them, then you're vulnerable to every security flaw discovered since your last patch. In response to an email asking Google why it stopped supporting the Pixel 3, a Googles spokesperson said, 'We find that three years of security and OS updates still provides users with a great experience for their device.'

This has been a problem with Android for as long as Android has existed. In 2015, my colleague Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai wrote a farewell to Android because of its terrible software support and spotty upgrade rollouts. Android has long blamed this obvious issue on the fact that updates need to run through the cellphone company and phone manufacturer before being pushed to the user. At the time, Google didn't make any Android phones; the Nexus line was the closest thing, a partnership with other manufacturers like Motorola and HTC (I had one of those, too). But for the past six years, Google has made the Pixel line of phones. They are Google-made phones, meaning Google can't blame discontinuing security updates on other manufacturers, and yet, it announced that's exactly what it would do. Gordon goes on to say that he's 'switching to an iPhone for the first time,' noting how the most recent version of iOS can be installed on phones going as far back as the iPhone 6s, which was released more than six years ago.

'Unless you routinely destroy your phone within two or three years, there's no justification from a sustainability perspective to keep using Android phones,' he adds. 'Of course, Apple is only good by comparison, as it also manufactures devices that are difficult to repair with an artificially short shelf life. It just happens to have a longer shelf life than Google.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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