Android’s November patch leaves behind the Pixel 3, fixes Pixel 6 issues

Enlarge / The Pixel 6 and Pixel 3. If you’ve forgotten what the 3 XL’s bathtub notch looks like, I’m sorry I had to remind you. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

The start of a new month means it’s time for Google to roll out an Android security patch. November’s patch is more notable than usual, thanks to some Pixel 6-specific bugfixes and the cutoff of the three-year-old Pixel 3 hardware.

This release also marks the death of the Pixel 3 in Google’s support lineup. The Pixel 3 launched in October 2018 with one of the biggest display notches ever and a serious dearth of RAM, earning it a lukewarm reception and disappointing sales. While the phone survived long enough to get the big Android 12 update and the October 2021 security patch, October marked three years of updates, so the November security update won’t be arriving on the Pixel 3.

The Pixel 3 hardware is still perfectly functional, as its Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM are not far from a brand-new $300 phone. Google could treat its customers better and reduce the amount of e-waste it puts into the world by extending its support timelines, but it has been reluctant to do that. Even the new Pixel 6, over which Google has end-to-end control, will still be obsolete after three years, though it will continue to get security updates. We’re only asking that Google’s $900 flagship match the support window of a $400 budget iPhone.

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