Google’s 2018 flagship phones received their last guaranteed update in October 2021, but there was one more release this February. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL were surprisingly updated with the June Security Patch today.
Historically, Google does one more update after a phone exits the guaranteed Android version and security updates period. For the Pixel 3, that was the February Security Patch, just before the release of Android 12L.
Google’s Factory Images page today lists a total of four updates for the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Each phone has a global build and another for “Telstra, Optus, Vodafone AU.”
The build number suggests this is still the initial Android 12 release and not 12L, which brought a number of user-facing change:
- Pixel 3 XL: SP1A.210812.016.B2 (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone AU), SP1A.210812.016.C2 — Factory Image (2) — OTA (2)
- Pixel 3: SP1A.210812.016.B2 (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone AU), SP1A.210812.016.C2 — Factory Image (2) — OTA (2)
One reason for this update could be to bring Voice over LTE (VoLTE) roaming support as 3G networks are turned off in the US this year. That was introduced with the June Security Patch and the Pixel 3 was initially excluded
We’re reaching out to Google for more details.
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