Google kind of lied at its Pixel and Pixel XL event earlier in the week when it announced the new Android phones would be exclusive to Verizon.
That’s not true. You can also buy them unlocked from Google directly, either at full price or paid in monthly installments over two years. But if you buy them from Verizon, you’re going to get a lousier experience.
Say no to bloatware
Reason number one for not buying the Verizon Pixels: Bloatware. Carrier-branded versions always come with junk apps that hog up storage and slow your phone down. Google’s Nexus phones may have never been a huge hit for Google, but for those that bought them, one of the main selling pionts was they didn’t come with any bloatware.
Verizon’s Pixels will come with three pre-installed apps (Verizon Messaging, Go90 and My Verizon) CNET reports. It’s an improvement from the dozens of bloatware apps that plague other Verizon-exclusive phones like the Moto Z, but they’re still crap nobody wants.
The unlocked Pixels sold from Google won’t have any carrier-installed apps
Verizon in control
Reason number two for not buying the Verizon Pixels: Software updates.
Another reason people bought Nexus phones was because they were the first Android devices to get new software updates.
Google pushed out the latest versions of Android without needing to wait for phone makers or carriers to figure it out. Carriers and Android manufacturers aren’t motivated to push out software updates because they’re in the business of selling new phones. There’s no incentive for them to keep old phones up to date.
That won’t be the case for the Verizon Pixels according to a statement from Google to9to5Google:
Monthly security updates will come from Google (for all models), and system updates will be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store.
HA! Good luck getting Verizon to commit to timely Android updates. The only reason iPhones on Verizon are updated on the same day as on other carriers is because the system updates are handled by Apple.
There’s really no reason to not buy directly from Google, unless you want bloatware and don’t want fast Android updates. Sure, the carrier offers up to $300 for trading in your old phone, but you could probably make that back if you just put it on eBay (depending on the model, of course).
Verizon has the advantage of having the phones in stores for you to feel up. But if you absolutely must know how it feels first, do yourself a favor and buy the phones from Google after you’ve checked them out in a store.
It’s 2016 and Verizon is still pulling its shenanigans. Don’t fall for it.