❤ The March Pixel update with Android 13 QPR2 and Feature Drop is late



Historically, Google updates its Pixel phones on the first Monday of the month at 10 a.m. PT. That’s today, but there’s no March update yet in an unexpected delay for Google Pixel.

Update 1: As of 10:30 a.m. PT, there’s still no Pixel update, but the Android Security Bulletin—March 2023 has been published. There are 31 security issues resolved in the Android 13 March patch dated 2023-03-01 and 29 for 2023-03-05.

Google’s post, as always, links to the March 2023 Pixel Update Bulletin, but that page is not yet live.

As of the usual time, there are zero blogs from Google announcing the March update for Pixel phones, while there are no new factory or OTA images.

Even if the update doesn’t roll out immediately for some phones, Google usually still details the release. For example, the Tensor-powered Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in 2021 often received their updates — factory images and on-device OTAs — a few weeks after older phones.

One recent example of Google deviating from the norm was last August, but that was due to Android 13 coming in the middle of that month. Google made no announcements on Monday, August 1 and waited until Thursday, August 4 to roll out an “additional update” just for the Pixel 6 series and 6a. The Android 13 update for all remaining phones came on Monday, August 15.

It’s not clear what’s causing this delay, or how long it will last. Android 13 QPR2 progressed through the Android Beta Program normally and is not the biggest update in terms of user-facing changes. One possibility is that Google found a showstopper bug that derailed today’s update.

New Google ‘phone’ shows up at FCC, likely Pixel 7a or Pixel Fold

A new Google device, labeled as a “phone,” has shown up for approval from the FCC, likely putting the Pixel 7a or Pixel Fold closer to release.

Before any device with wireless connectivity can be released, it needs to get approval from the various governmental regulators around the world, such as the FCC in the United States. This evening, a trio of new listings appeared at the FCC, all of which point to a single new “phone” coming soon from Google.

The new listings — G0DZQGHL1X, and GWKK3 — all make reference to one another and one includes a mention of another model, G82U8. To make the connection more explicit, one document that Google submitted to the FCC explains the differences between most of the new models.

FCC ID: A4RG0DZQ (parent model for NFC), FCC ID: A4RGWKK3 (parent model for BT/WLAN) and FCC ID: A4RGHL1X (variant model) use the same identical internal printed circuit board layouts, while the variant models depopulates mmWave related components and populated a different MHB ENDC module, details are available in the operational description.

Knowing that all four of these model numbers should be describing the same phone, the bigger question is which device we’re actually looking at. Up to this point, there have been leaks of the upcoming Pixel 7a, which is set to significantly upgrade Google’s previously midrange A-Series phones with things like a better camera, wireless charging, and 90Hz display.

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Pixel Fold has also been rumored to be on track to release this year, marking Google’s third recent attempt at releasing a foldable phone. Last week, we exclusively reported that the Pixel Fold is set to be heavier than the Galaxy Fold 4, likely due to its larger battery size.

Unfortunately, nothing in the FCC listings seems to indicate the physical size of this new phone, which would be an immediate giveaway to whether this is the Pixel Fold or Pixel 7a. The availability of an mmWave model doesn’t rule out this being the Pixel 7a, as even the Pixel 6a was available with mmWave through Verizon.

One potential clue lies in the inclusion of serial numbers of the devices that were tested, each typically beginning with “28291FQHN” or “28251FQHN.” In a hands-on leak of an early model of the Pixel 7a, a serial number beginning with “2A281FQHN” was visible, which appears to be quite similar.

The only thing we can know for sure is that this latest Pixel phone should release well before the usual fall Made by Google event, as the FCC’s confidentiality (which temporarily hides device images and manuals from the public) expires in six months. That means we’re almost certainly looking at something releasing midyear, like A-Series Pixel phones typically do.

The dates for Google I/O have not yet been announced, but that would be the next most likely opportunity for the company to showcase its latest hardware. This appearance at the FCC is just one step of many along the path to release. We’ll be keeping an eye on this mystery Pixel phone and any other devices Google may have up its sleeve between now and Google I/O.