Developers looking to get a jump on upcoming Android features have a small set of blessed hardware to choose from with Android P: the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL.
Eventually, Android P will ship on new phones from other manufacturers, along with the handful of handsets that third-parties bother to update, but there are a couple Android mainstays that won’t get to enjoy this marvelous future: Google’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones, and the oft-forgotten Pixel C tablet. As Ars Technica confirmed with Google, those devices won’t be getting Android P when it’s released fully. Also, as Android Police notes, there’s no Developer Preview image for the Nexus Player, which came out in 2014, so it might be done getting updates as well.
It’s 2018, and we’re beyond the two years of major OS update support these devices were promised, so this isn’t hugely surprising. All three devices will continue to get monthly security updates through at least November of this year, but they’ll remain stuck on Android 8.1 for an underlying OS as far as official Google updates go.
This is, of course, the time when I point out that iOS 11 works on the iPhone 5S from 2013, the iPad mini 2, and even the sixth-gen iPod touch. I should also mention that Android’s tablet support could barely be considered “nominal” now that Google’s last official tablet is outside the major update window.
But let’s not forget that Google has done a good job of moving major features of its operating system into its apps and services, and Android’s open nature in combination with community support fills in some of the gaps, so in a sense very few phones get entirely left behind these days.