A year on, Google’s Pixels remain important — this is what you need to know.

Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are fantastic. These phones are the first made entirely under Google’s control, following in the footsteps of the two Chromebook Pixels and the Pixel C tablet — and they marked a new era of smartphones blessed by Google.

That makes these phones interesting from a hardware perspective, wearing just the “G” logo on the back and taking on some neat design cues, but also in terms of how the software and features are deeply integrated into these aluminum blocks. Here’s everything you need to know about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 are coming

Pixel 2 leak

With almost a year in the rear-view mirror, the original Pixel and Pixel XL are about to hand off the torch to their successors. The Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will be announced on October 4!

The offering is expected to follow a similar formula: two phones at different sizes and price points with the same set of core features and advantages. The difference in 2017 is that the phones are expected to be made by different manufacturers, with HTC taking the smaller Pixel 2 and LG taking the Pixel XL 2.

Read: Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2: Release Date, Specs, Price and Rumors!

What will happen to the original Pixels?

Of course, the original Pixels will continue to live on — at lower prices, and still with plenty of runway in terms of software updates. They will get the newest version of Android Oreo, expected to be version 8.1, right alongside the new Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2. And aside from any hardware limitations (there shouldn’t be many), they should have all of the same features as well.

The original Pixels won’t be left behind — expect software support for Android P and beyond.

The interesting thing to see will be how much Google brings camera improvements back to the original Pixels. So much of what Google does with photography is in the software rather than hardware, and it’s feasible that the original Pixels could ride the wave of camera improvements through Android 8.1 and the new Google Camera app.

If you choose to hold onto one, the 2016 versions of the Pixel and Pixel XL will get Android P in 2018 as well — and get security updates for another year after that. So you don’t have to worry about being left behind in the dust.

Read (and watch) our Google Pixel review

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