Google announced the Android December security patch with much fanfare, calling it the first quarterly "Pixel feature drop" that adds new system capabilities and app functions to all Android 10-equipped generations of Pixel phones. However, just like the company had issues with the November patch for the Pixel 4, it looks as though many Google phone owners still haven't received the December system update thus far. Even hitting the "check for update" button doesn't seem to help. This makes the feature drop feel more like a disjointed feature drip, with some parts of it dribbling out faster than others.
Following the release of the Pixel 4, the "check for update" button in the system update section in Settings has become unreliable. In the past, Google promised that hitting that button would always pull the latest software update, regardless of your device's assigned position in the company's notorious staged rollouts, but we've noticed that this feature tends to break every once in a while. That seems to have happened again with this December update, and it looks like that was intentional. After a Twitter user complained to the company, it answered that "updates are released in phases."
We understand your concern, Evan. We've started rolling out December security patch update and your Pixel phone should receive it soon. Updates are released in phases and you'll receive a notification once it comes through. Appreciate your patience.
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) December 20, 2019
Considering Google advertised the December system patch as part of the Pixel feature drop with a slew of updates for multiple apps, holding off the release for many users is neither a good marketing move nor particularly customer-friendly. Once people read or hear about new capabilities, they expect to receive them instantly, especially when they can tap a button labeled "check for updates." The fact that some of the Pixel feature drop capabilities roll out independently from the December patch only increases the confusion around what a Pixel feature drop even is. It just doesn't make sense to announce a "feature drop" when it turns out to be more of a "feature drip."
We've reached out to Google for comment on the dysfunctional update button and when we can expect a wider December patch rollout. Let's hope the company shines some light into the situation.
New 'joint' cumulative update planned
The Made by Google Twitter account is now telling those affected by the ongoing update deployment problem that a new "joint" cumulative January+December update will be landing in the coming days, presumably somehow distinct from the usual rollout.
We understand your concern, Mike. If you did not receive the December update, in the coming days you'll be receiving a joint January and December security update. We apologize for the inconvenience.
— Made by Google (@madebygoogle) December 31, 2019
While a full explanation for this new Pixel update problem is still not forthcoming, we hope this is an indicator it will be resolved soon — if not for our sanity, then at least for customers' security. This nonsense has now lasted several months, starting for some as early as the Pixel 4 launch, and building in intensity with the December "feature drop" update. Right now, it's hard to trust any vague claims potentially clueless social media reps might make without more information.