At its Made by Google event, the tech giant unveiled the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. The smartphones are coming to India this month, and the pre-order begins from October 13. However, in the US, Google has already started taking pre-orders. The Pixel and Pixel XL are being sold unlocked on the Google Store, while the only carrier partnered for these smartphones is Verizon. This exclusive partnership has raised eyebrows, and buyers are looking for hidden caveats that could stem as a result of this exclusivity. Now, clarity on the Verizon and Google partnership is surfacing, and the Pixel smartphones sold through Verizon will come with ‘preloaded’ apps, a locked bootloader, and the system updates will be managed by Verizon – not Google.
Verizon will be ‘preloading’ three apps onto the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones – My Verizon, Go90, and Verizon Messages. We are placing the word preloaded between quotes as out-of-the-box, the smartphones will not have these apps on board, instead, they will be installed during the setup ad activation process. These apps are in addition to the Google suite that anyways comes pre-installed on most Android smartphones. This time Google is bundling Allo, Duo, Android Pay, Docs, and Keep apps as well. Thankfully, the Verizon installed bloatware is removable, and can be uninstalled, reports Business Insider. So, even though the smartphone will initially bundle these Verizon Play Store apps, they can be easily manually uninstalled from the smartphones.
Regarding updates, Google has informed 9to5Google that it will take care of all monthly security updates, but the Android system updates will be managed by Verizon for the units they sell. However, all the unlocked units brought from Google, the tech giant itself will handle the system updates and security patches for those phones. “Monthly security updates will come from Google (for all models), and system updates will be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store,” the Google spokesperson told the publication.
A Verizon spokesperson told Engadget that it won’t delay in system updates, as it looks to give the ‘best experience’ to its customers, but did not divulge in any specific timeframe. Customers that pre-order the Pixel or Pixel XL are getting a Daydream View VR headset for free as well.
In India, only the Pixel smartphones are coming for now. As for the other hardware products launched at the event – Google Home, Daydream View, Google Wi-Fi router, and the Chromecast Ultra – there is no clarity on when Google plans to launch them in India.