What you need to know

  • Pixel 3a phones are currently on a security patch from March.
  • Security patch updates from April, May, and June are coming in June.
  • Pixel 3a users will be able to opt into Android Q beta again beginning in June.

Google wowed us last week with the launch of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL phones at Google I/O 2019. Part of the reason these two new phones are so intriguing is the fact that you'll have the latest software directly from Google for an affordable price.

However, directly after launch, we're already finding that the Pixel 3a and 3a XL don't come with the latest security patches. The current patch is from March 2019, and it appears the new phones are also running an older build of Android.

To make things even worse, Google has come out and said there won't be an update until June 3. That's when the Pixel 3a and 3a XL will receive security patches for April, May, and June. When asked about this, Google said it is to "ensure the best customer experience."

That tells a different story from the one Google told on stage at I/O, where it boasted about security and updates of the new phones. You would expect Google of all companies to be able to launch a phone with all the latest security patches ready. Even my Galaxy S9+ is a month ahead of the Pixel 3a phones at this point.

Another benefit to having a phone directly from Google has been early access to the beta versions of Android. While initially, users were able to sign up for the Android Q beta, that option has now been pulled.

Opting into the beta program is one of the easiest ways to try out the new version of Android. It allows you to download and install the beta version much like any other update. Plus, it's easy to opt out of and revert back if you find Android Q to be too unstable for day to day use.

Right now, it is still possible to install Android Q beta 3 on your Pixel 3a or 3a XL, but it requires downloading and manually flashing on your device. The option to opt in for the program has also been pushed back to June.

That said, neither of these reasons should deter anyone from buying a Pixel 3a or 3a XL. It's simply a minor blemish on Google's reputation for keeping its own phones ahead of the curve when it comes to software. Hopefully, this is just a speed bump during the launch and not par for the course when it comes to how Google will treat its new midrange lineup.

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