It's a well-known fact that software updates permeate the Android market at a crawl in comparison with iOS, but Google's own Pixel devices are an entirely different question. The Pixels are an opportunity for Google to brag that when it makes its own devices, it's able to surpass Apple in the updates arena — and that's exactly what Google's senior vice-president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, attempted to do in a recent tweet. However, the feedback may not have been what Osterloh was expecting.
The Google exec tweeted in response to an Android Authority post on Apple's impressive level of OS cohesion: "Pixel users upgrade to new Android releases very quickly; >75% of Pixel users are on the terrific Android Pie release, and more are updating every day."
— Rick Osterloh (@rosterloh) October 12, 2018
75 percent is indeed a significant majority of Pixels, but here's the thing: no one would expect anything less. The Pixel community is inherently in-the-know. It's a collection of Android's biggest fans. If around 25 percent aren't on the latest build, it's likely because they don't want to be, not because they haven't got around to it yet.
In many responses on social media and other online forums, that seemed to be the case, with one XDA Developers commenter going so far as to say they returned to Oreo after frustrating experiences with split screen mode updates and other UI tweaks. Others noted that they were waiting for Google to iron out any issues before updating, and over on Reddit one highly upvoted user called Pie "one of the least compelling upgrades in a while." Overall, the sentiment bubbling to the top seems to be that Android 9 Pie isn't sitting too well with around a quarter of its core demographic — particularly when it comes to multi-tasking features and the addition of navigation gestures.
Still, not all those who commented on the statistic offered a critique. Some were impressed by the statistic, given it's only been a little over two months. Plus, there's always other factors to consider — a portion of the Pixels still on Oreo may not be in use at the moment, for instance. But it wouldn't be the Android community if we didn't give Google a hard time. Keep your nose to the grindstone, Osterloh and company — 75 percent is just a starting point.
- Rick Osterloh via Twitter