If you were a Telstra customer who had a Google Pixel phone — you know the up to $1419 device with guaranteed updates from Google — it turns out no matter how many times you pounded on the check for update button you were never going to get it, as Telstra was having it blocked.
Just like with previous Google updates to other devices, Telstra took it upon themselves to block their customers receiving updates, and of course didn’t tell anyone about it. First the good news, it seems the artificial restriction on you getting the updated on the device you paid for has been lifted, both readers and members of the Ausdroid team are now seeing updates come through to their devices.
However, the bigger problem here is if this continues to be a trend. With the Pixel, Google was supposed to be delivering a first class Google-driven device experiences, however, this isn’t really first class.
Now, of course, it must be said that the phone-carrying-majority of the planet probably won’t know their update from their Instagram, however, just because most people aren’t paying attention doesn’t make it right. I’m sure Telstra would wax poetically about quality of service, or customer protection, and if this update made people’s phones not work on the Telstra network I’m sure we would ALL have something to say about that.
In the end, I think it’s Google’s responsibility to make sure that all of their carrier partners, especially ones with a market exclusive, are able to support a release from day one. Telstra technically can’t block those updates, it’s Google doing it on their behalf. If you’re going to charge me $1419 for my phone and tell me it’s the best experience at least deliver that.
As a counterpoint, it’s worth noting that the OTA updates were released just over a week ago, so while Pixel devices on Telstra did not receive the update at the same time as users on literally any other network, it didn’t take that long. This isn’t to say that the issue is a red herring; far from it. While it’s only a week’s delay this time, will it be a week or less next time, or two weeks, or a month?
One thing’s for certain, Telstra customers can fairly easily avoid the artificial delay in updates by downloading them directly from Google and installing them using a computer, or by keeping a dead SIM card from any other carrier nearby (go buy a $2 SIM from the supermarket) and throwing that in their phone. Either one will get the updates onto your phone on release day.