One of the biggest potential advantages offered by the Pixel smartphones is the ability to receive timely firmware updates direct from Google. Unfortunately, for those in the UK who purchase a Pixel or Pixel XL from EE, updates will be provided by the network instead.
In a Twitter conversation, which was picked up by a Reddit user, an EE support agent told someone that the network itself would be responsible for rolling out updates. EE features, such as Wi-Fi calling, were given as the reason behind the decision.
This is not a total surprise, and it is likely that some other mobile networks around the world will also take control of updates themselves. From a user’s perspective, though, networks becoming involved in the process of rolling out updates usually leads to delays, due – in part – to additional testing that is put in place.
In the UK, the Pixel and Pixel XL are sold on a semi-exclusive basis through EE – a mobile network which is a division of the BT Group. Although it is possible to buy the Pixel and Pixel XL SIM free through either the Google Store or Carphone Warehouse, anyone wanting to purchase the device as part of a network contract has to sign up to EE.
When purchasing a Pixel smartphone and SIM card as separate items, both the Pixel and Pixel XL can be used on networks other than EE.
Buying a smartphone directly through a network is still a popular route for many, however, due to the simple monthly payment options that are offered.