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Google has declared EOL for the original Pixel. I got my Pixel for a Google Fi account I use just for travelling, and I'm not really interested in replacing it. Realistically, how much longer can I use my original-release Pixel before it stops functioning?

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    Just a side note: A large number of devices (especially the cheap non-name devices) are EOL at the same day they are announced - meaning they never get any update. And still a lot of people are buying and using such devices. It just depends on your personal attitude what device is "usable". – Robert Nov 5 at 18:17
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    Just to note that as a developer of Android apps, we track what models of devices are used and around three quarters of then are EOLed devices, some which ended support 4+ years ago. – Moshe Katz Nov 6 at 14:27
  • Kat: it needs to allow me to connect to Google Fi, make calls, use the internet, and install apps from the Google Store. Apps I need to work include Maps, K9Mail, WeChat, and WhatsApp. Google Pay is negotiable. – FuzzyChef Nov 6 at 19:21
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Theoretically, the OG Pixel will work indefinitely until there's an irreparable software/hardware issue. Realistically? Depends on how the user takes care of it ;)

"End of Life (EOL)" doesn't mean that the device will end its life. It is just that the manufacturer (in this case, Google) will stop its support; no more security & OS updates, and the like.

If the user is adventurous enough, they can unlock the bootloader (warning: will delete all the storage) and flash custom ROM which at least extends the life a little further. (In addition, seems it's also compatible with Project Fi).


Anecdotal evidence: I'm using Nexus 5 which was released in 2013 (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) and EOL in 2016 (Android 6.0 Marshmallow). I flashed Lineage OS after that until it's not maintained (Android 7.1.1 Nougat). As of 2019, the phone is still usable in daily life.

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    Custom ROMs often don't get support for much longer than the official ones. Often the limiting factor is hardware support (hardware manufacturers no longer port their drivers to support newer Android versions), and this affects both official and custom ROMs. – James_pic Nov 6 at 11:55
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    @James_pic Vendor drivers used to be the limiting factor. Nowadays, in theory, any device that supports Project Treble will never require HW driver updates just to support a newer Android OS, because the drivers pass a Vendor Test Suite to ensure forward-compatibility. android-developers.googleblog.com/2017/05/… The original Pixel supports Treble. androidpolice.com/2017/05/18/… – user10063 Nov 7 at 21:15
  • I've been using a Nexus 5 with its official Android 6.x ROM until last month. Although somewhat low on resources, all apps and the store worked perfectly fine (until the display or the GPU finally died, thus practically bricking it). – grawity Nov 8 at 5:36
  • I still have a Nexus 6 with LineageOS 16.0 (Android 9.0). I only stopped using it because its battery no longer holds a charge for more than a few hours. My replacement Nexus 6P is still going strong on 15.1. – Michael Hampton Nov 8 at 6:50
  • I continued using my Nexus 6P for a few months after EOL. The reason why I switched is because I dropped it and broke the screen. – gparyani Nov 9 at 2:16
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If Google declares a device to be "EOL" this simply means that you no longer receive device and security updates.

Therefore your Android devices will not stop working, however after the point of EOL the chance of a security vulnerability that allows to attack you and your data will continuously raise.

However as Google devices can be unlocked easily you don't have to accept this. Unlocking the bootloader allows you to install an OS that does not come from Google, like LineageOS (warning: unlocking will erase all user data). The first Pixel (code name "sailfish") is a supported device by LineageOS. Therefore you can download and install LineageOS on your device and again receive updates until LineageOS also drops support for your device.

But there are also some draw backs of unlocking and installing LinegeOS: Some device assume that LineageOS devices are rooted and therefore insecure (they just assume that in general, independendently of the reality). Therefore apps like GooglePay may refuse to work.

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    How long does Lineage OS tend to support devices? Historically speaking, since I know its open source. – FuzzyChef Nov 5 at 18:10
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    @FuzzyChef That depends on the people maintaining the software for each device. The more popular a device (and long-living it is) the longer it stays in support. The Pixel seems to be still popular, as it has two maintainers. The Nexus 5x (which AFAIK was also very popular) on the other hand is no longer supported for quite a while. – Robert Nov 5 at 18:14
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    @FuzzyChef The 5x probably lost support because the awful hardware has killed everyone's phone. The Samsung s5 has had incredible support because it is indestructible. – Qwertie Nov 6 at 6:14
  • A modern rooting method such as Magisk will generally re-enable apps that require SafetyNet, such as Google Pay or your bank's app. This is how I use Google Pay on my rooted LineageOS. – Michael Hampton Nov 8 at 6:52
  • @Michael: SafetyNet bases on comparing the system fingerprint with those from Google database, hence the SafetyNet check will fail by definition. Please note that my answer was on custom ROMS without root. Therefore Magisk is not an option. The apps detect a custom ROM and assume it is rooted even if it is not. – Robert Nov 8 at 11:09
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In reality, i'd say a few years until it loses his usefulness. I have a 2 old phones that still work if plugged in, but a lot of the apps now fail because the API endpoints changed. Google maps won't load any maps or autocomplete searches, and only shows me a dot on a grey screen if GPS is turned on. YouTube videos wont play anymore, neither with the official app nor via browser. I think the webbrowser has some issues with SSL certificates that are now required everywhere. In the best case you get a message to update your software, but then the google PlayStore tells you that the latest app version is not supported by your android version.

The hardware, phone and text messages might still be working in 10 years, but eventually your apps wont be supported anymore.

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In one respect it became a potential brick the day after your warranty ended, as it'd doubtless be uneconomical to repair. But it's not going to get 'turned off'. It'll work until it breaks.

I have a Pixel C with unresponsive screen. Effectively a brick. Pity. It was a nice machine.

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