Verizon has made it clear that they will not be going through the same process with Google Android updates that they had with past Nexus models. This means you, Galaxy Nexus. While in the past, a device with a carrier, (even a Nexus device), would get OS updates from Google later than their off-carrier counterparts. This was because of system-level apps from the carrier and an extra layer of consideration on the part of the carrier. Now that wont be a problem any longer.
According to a Verizon spokesperson speaking to Ars Technica, the following will be true of the Pixel and Pixel XL in the near future:
“First and foremost, all operating system and security updates to the Pixel devices will happen in partnership with Google. In other words, when Google releases an update, Verizon phones will receive the same update at the same time (much like iOS updates). Verizon will not stand in the way of any major updates and users will get all updates at the same time as Google.”
“Also, the Verizon version of the Google Pixel is carrier unlocked, so you can use it where ever you like. Finally, we have three apps pre-installed on the phone Go90, My Verizon (which is your account management tool) and Verizon Messages (your messaging app). As you noted, all three can easily be uninstalled by the user.” – Verizon Spokesperson
Google also sent a message to Ars that reads as follows:
“OS updates and monthly security patches will be updated on all Pixel devices (Verizon and non-Verizon versions) simultaneously.” – Google Representative
So it would seem that Verizon is promising that, regardless of any certification that might need to take place, “users will get all updates at the same time as Google.” That includes both security updates and operating system updates.
This seems to be a change from what was originally planned, as previous knowledge suggested that Google’s start-to-finish handling of updates would only work with security updates, while the OS would still need a certification step from Verizon.
If that certification still needs to be done, it would seem that Verizon is promising that it wont have any effect on the speed at which the update reaches Pixel and Pixel XL users.
With no system-level carrier apps in either the Pixel or the Pixel XL, it shouldn’t have been an issue – or at least an immediately apparent issue – for Google to essentially bypass Verizon to send out updates as such. It’s great to see that this seems to be the case in reality.