Nothing satisfies gadget lust like being able to walk into a store and buy that new phone right now.
It’s why Google has buddied up with Verizon on the Pixel, which will sell the phone in stores and is featuring it prominently on the carrier’s website. But with any bargain, there are bound to be some tradeoffs.
The biggest is that Verizon will control when Android updates roll out. According to a Computerworld report, Google says carriers (in this case Verizon) will have the authority to certify updates for any device on its network. As further evidence, the following Google statement was issued to 9to5Google:
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.
Verizon likes to keep tight reins on its network, so this isn’t altogether surprising. The other caveat is that the phone will come with three Verizon apps: My Verizon, Verizon Messages, and the Go90 streaming service. Your phone will download these apps during the setup and activation process.
However, unlike bloatware on other phones, you’ll be able to fully uninstall these apps, not just "disable" them. And Google will be the one calling the shots on the monthly security patches, so you should get those at the same time as the unlocked Pixels.
In all, the experience will be far better than your typical Android phone (Nougat is nowhere in sight, for example, for the Note7, Galaxy S7, and S7 Edge). But given that the model from the Google Store also works with Big Red and comes with 24/7 support features, that’s really the way you ought to go. You can even pay via monthly financing through Google's store, so you don't have to drop $700 or more all at once.
Why this matters: The bottom line is that you should buy the Pixel from the Google Store. The phone still works on Verizon, you won’t have to uninstall the bloatware, and you’ll get updates straight from Google. It makes sense why Google opted for the partnership given that it gets the phone in front of more eyeballs, but more discerning buyers should be aware that there’s a better way to pick up Google’s phone.