Android P drops support for Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and the Pixel C tablet

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.


No matter how it’s spun, it’s still a shitty thing for Google not to support the Nexus 6P with Android P. They’re gonna push Android P on Android Go phones that aren’t more powerful than the 6P.

The hardware is there and sufficient to run it. All the hype and just 2 years support. Shame.

It’s not necessarily about powerful devices, a lot of times Qualcomm doesn’t support devices multiple years later and that’s clearly a reason why devices like the Nexus Player which is on an Intel processor, has much better support long term.

I agree that its can’t be about how powerful the are, because they are powerful enough.

But my initial thought is that its just laziness – they just can’t be bothered testing the 6P

Blame qualcomm. They don’t provide support for platforms past 2 years of launch, Google can’t do anything about it. One of the huge reasons for Treble in 8.0 was to get around that and that’s why the pixel 2’s have 3 years of platform updates now.

Google can’t do anything about it

Can’t do anything? This already happened with the Galaxy Nexus, why not negotiate longer support as part of putting Qualcomm chips in the Nexus line? It’s not like Google can’t incentivize Qualcomm with a giant pile of cash.

Because there is no other soc choice in the us market. Google has almost zero power to incentivize Qualcomm and anything Google could offer would probably be very little compared to a planned obsolescence after 2 years and more frequent sales.

One of the side effects of the monopoly Qualcomm has here. There’s a reason many of the big phone manufacturers are supporting Apple’s lawsuit with Qualcomm over LTE radios.

I don’t think Qualcomm is desperate to get into Google’s devices, you’re right. But I think Google could pay for support or even a license to write the drivers themselves. Which isn’t in their wheelhouse at all, but "Qualcomm abandoned us" is a lame excuse. Why didn’t they bring Treble to the 5X and 6P last year?

Because how far back is google expected to provide significant platform changes? Treble dramatically changes how android is built and it seemed to be a decent amount of work just to get it on the pixels which are the ONLY devices on the sd820 platform using it and only a handful of sd835 devices use it (pixel 2 and Essential I think are the only ones).

Also, if you are still using a 6p then bravo. It was a great phone at launch sure, but the 810 was more useful as a space heater than anything else and every person I know that had a 5x has had it die and they replaced with with something else. Another thing you can blame on Qualcomm btw.

Qualcomm isn’t going to go through the trouble to support new drivers for a device that sells a couple or few million. There are also more companies than Qualcomm to consider when it comes to updating drivers for the next version of Android.

Blame qualcomm.

That’s not how it works, I don’t phone up Foxconn if I have issues with an iPhone.

My last phone I kept for 3 years and would have kept for longer if the battery hadn’t been poor from the get go, it would actually be a good selling point to me if a company was offering enhanced levels of support/updates, in a crowded market with a lot of overlap that seems a good selling point but it is much easier for them to try to push the yearly upgrade model on us.

That actually is how this works. Qualcomm is in the way of updates for more than 2 years. We need Samsung selling chips in the US. Or Google designing their own.

Foxconn manufactures the iphone. Qualcomm did not manufacture the Nexus 6P. If you can’t tell the difference you won’t understand the details of the actual problem here.

How does Treble avoid the Qualcomm issue?

Because with treble EVERYTHING that is hardware specific or vendor specific is separate from the base android framework and communicates with android through a standardized vendor interface.

You can update "android" separately from everything else. It will also be big for custom roms because they should not need to touch the vendor stuff. One of Google’s certification tests has the phone boot a completely stock aosp image of android.

Hmm.. Only time will tell if this pays off and OEM’s actually update.

"a lot of times Qualcomm doesn’t support devices multiple years later" Somehow Lineage OS manages to keep these phones current. I wouldn’t be quick to give google a pass.

With hacked together kernels and drivers intended for older versions and no regard to legality in terms of included software/drivers. Yay for seeing the difference.

True, at the very least the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will now have 3 years of both features and security updates and that, I think, is reasonable.

No matter how it’s spun, it’s still a shitty thing for Google not to support the Nexus 6P with Android P.

Well, given that they’re STUCK on Android 8.1 while my wife’s 2-year newer Samsung Note 8 is still on Android 7… what does that say about how shitty Samsung is?

Just a guess, but that Note 8 on Android 7 prob has features that will only make it to Pixel devices when Android 9 or later comes around.

Also, I’m quite sure that your wife’s note 8 will be updated at some point.

But if all you care about are the version numbers listed in settings, why’d you let her get anything but a Pixel?

Samsung is historically very slow on both OS updates and security updates.
It’s not like they aren’t making enough money on them. More likely the lack of upgrades helps them keep selling new hardware.

Of course the Note has other new features, it’s two years newer, and a flagship — that wasn’t the case with the Nexuses. Still those Nexuses have better fingerprint readers than the Note, and better camera for stills than the Note (although slower). And have more recent security updates and are running the newest Android OS, something that the Note can’t say.

My wife wanted the Note 8 because she had an old Note 2 and liked the S-pen. But after having it for a few months she wishes she had the Pixel 2 XL like I do.

The Nexus 6P camera is superior in stills as compared to the Note 8 camera? In what universe is this the case? Same goes for the fingerprint reader. The note 8 may have more awkward placement, but it is objectively a better sensor in terms of speed/accuracy.

Also, it is quite difficult to imagine the average consumer that purchases Samsung devices caring very much about security patches or version updates. Maybe they’ll grumble a bit if their friend’s Pixel gets 3D animated VR emojis or whatever newfangled feature they put into the newest android, but they most certainly won’t be compelled to upgrade because "everyone else has Android P".

Yes, I had a 5x and it was way better in low light than the Note 8. The 6p has the same camera as the 5×.

Her fingerprint reader misses a read like 30% of the time, in addition the the poor location. She can activate my Pixel 2’s reader instantly 100% of the time. And the 5x/6p had the same reader.

But after having it for a few months she wishes she had the Pixel 2 XL like I do.

Genuinely curious, why? When I mentioned the Note 8 had features we’d only see in later Android versions, I was comparing it to newer Pixel 2 devices not 2/3 year old devices.

1 – She hasn’t used the S-pen really
2 – It’s fragile and she therefore needs a bulkier case than I do on my Pixel 2 XL
3 – My battery life is better than hers
4 – (Biggest reason) Her fingerprint reader doesn’t read very reliably unless it is pushed really hard. Not a light tap like my Pixel
5 – The Pixel’s camera is better
6 – The Pixel gets SW updates more frequently. She’s still on Nougat.

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