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Pixel 3a confirmed to get Android 12L even as Google winds down Pixel 3 support

With the announcement of Android 12L, Google shared a list of Pixel phones expected to receive the beta when it began the testing period in December. While the Pixel 3 was understandably absent, Google also didn’t include the newer Pixel 3a — which was taken as an indication that it was likely not going to get the newer Android version when it rolls out. Fortunately, that’s not the case, as Google confirmed to Digital Trends over email that it was an oversight and documentation would be updated shortly.

According to Google, the Android 12L beta will be going out to the following Pixel phones: Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6, Pixel 5a with 5G, Pixel 5, Pixel 4a (5G), Pixel 4a, and Pixel 4.  It will not be coming to the Pixel 3, which received its last guaranteed update with Android 12. The Pixel 3’s exclusion is a little weird, though. Launched in May of 2019, Google promises updates for up to three years post-launch. As indicated by the company’s Pixel software support list, this means the Pixel 3a should expect major updates through May of 2022.

A Google spokesperson confirmed this interpretation, noting that the Pixel 3 has gotten its final security update with one “final sunset update in early Q1 2022,” and the Pixel 3a would keep trucking along through Q2 2022, so their last updates would be expected to come before March and June respectively.

As for Android 12L itself, it’s a minor update for smaller Android phones, mostly bringing in minor bug fixes. For larger screens devices like tablets and Chromebooks, Google is working on optimizing the Android layout to take advantage of that increased real estate. This means multi-column layouts on apps running on larger screens, a taskbar, and improved split screening for Android tablets. Android 12L goes into preview testing this December, with a final release expected sometime during spring 2022.

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Michael Allison
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