November 30, 2023

Google did one thing through the Pixel 8 occasion final week that not even Apple dared to do throughout its iPhone occasions. Google promised 7 years of software program updates, safety updates, and Characteristic Drops for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional. iPhones routinely get 5 years of iOS updates, although Apple by no means commits to a selected timeframe.

I stated that the prolonged assist, one thing distinctive within the Android universe, is an effective sufficient motive to improve to the costlier Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional. To not point out that Google threw a number of thrilling free perks your means in the event you did.

But it surely seems that the 7-year replace declare is likely to be deceptive. Google is already differentiating the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional by giving the latter unique AI options that the previous may additionally run. Due to this fact, the 7-year assure is likely to be meaningless if Google decides to withhold options from older Android {hardware}. Or if the Characteristic Drops differ between the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional in a number of years.

The {hardware} is almost equivalent

The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional pack equivalent {hardware} aside from RAM and cameras. The identical next-gen Tensor G3 makes the magic occur on each telephones, although the Professional has 12GB of RAM, in comparison with 8GB for the common Pixel 8.

On the digicam entrance, the Pixel 8 Professional has a 3rd lens. And sure, there’s a temperature sensor contained in the Professional’s digicam mannequin, but it surely has little to do with the software program discrepancies.

The Pixel 8 begins at $699, whereas the 8 Professional begins at $999. That additional $300 will get you unique options that must also have the ability to run on the Pixel 8. However Google apparently chooses to not make it occur.

Zoom Improve and Night time Sight Video are unique to the Pixel 8 Professional, as The Verge factors out. Handbook controls for the digicam are additionally a Professional-only characteristic.

Google Pixel 8 Professional digicam module. Picture supply: Christian de Looper for BGR

Google’s explanations

Google’s new Recorder AI transcription characteristic can be accessible solely on the Pixel 8 Professional. The up to date Magic Eraser and the good replies are unique to the Pixel 8 Professional. Google confirmed to The Verge that these two options aren’t coming to the Pixel 8.

It didn’t clarify why they’re unique to the costlier fashions. Right here’s the mind-boggling reply:

These gadgets provide the newest {hardware} and software program, together with sooner efficiency than ever earlier than, upgraded digicam sensors, and the newest AI powered options – all powered by the brand new Google Tensor G3.

Google additionally talked about unspecified limitations as a motive for the Pixel 8 not getting the unique Pixel 8 Professional options. There’s a motive I discussed the specs above. The one significant distinction between the 2 telephones is the additional RAM.

Google did disclose to Android Authority one different motive for protecting Video Increase unique to the Pixel 8 Professional. That additional $300 helps pay for the cloud infrastructure that processes the information. It has nothing to do with the capabilities of the Tensor G3 on the Pixel 8 Professional

There’s completely no downside for a vendor to maintain software program options unique to the costlier mannequin. Apple does it with the iPhones, too. However the iPhone 15 Professional Max has unique zoom capabilities as a result of there’s a brand new {hardware} element at play. I do bear in mind the times when Google would mock Apple for giving the bigger telephone unique options.

Additionally, I wouldn’t anticipate all Pixel 10 options to be accessible to Pixel 8 telephones in a few years as a result of the previous would possibly pack particular elements that assist specific options.

Google Pixel 8 Software
Google Pixel 8 software program. Picture supply: Christian de Looper for BGR

The way forward for Characteristic Drops appears unsure

But when Google already differentiates the Pixel 8 Professional and Pixel 8 with out making it apparent from the get-go to the customer, who’s to say that Google will even trouble bringing Characteristic Drops which may work on the Pixel 8 Professional two years from now as an alternative of simply nudging consumers to the Pixel 10 Professional?

Additionally, if the extra superior AI options of the long run will proceed to require processing on Google’s servers, they need to technically run on older {hardware}. Until Google decides it wants newer telephone gross sales to pay for these providers.

Certain, you’d nonetheless get Android OS upgrades and safety updates. However it’s normally these Characteristic Drops that Pixel fanatics would possibly mistakenly assume will probably be accessible to their Pixel 8/Professional a number of years from now. And which may not occur.

It’s not simply hypothesis. Google has already achieved it with different Pixel options. As the identical report reminds us, Google stated the Pixel 7’s Clear Calling and Guided Body options could be accessible on the Pixel 6. However there’s no signal of that taking place.

On that word, Google’s assist doc addressing Pixel 8 updates doesn’t resist Characteristic Drops, solely Android OS releases and safety updates.

With all that in thoughts, the 7-year replace declare would possibly develop into a serious publicity stunt for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Professional. We’ll have to attend no less than a 12 months and see what occurs.