Google announced Android 9 Pie for its Pixel-branded smartphones early this month. The new software is available as an over-the-air update for original Pixel, Pixel XL smartphones, and Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL launched last year. The update has been available only on handful of devices including the Essential Phone, which received the update early this month.
Now, the update seems to be making its way to Google’s now-defunct Nexus range, albeit unofficially. Android 9 Pie is now available on the Nexus 6 made by Motorola, and the Nexus 5X made by LG. These devices are getting the newest version of Android via custom ROMs, and both ports are said to be working perfectly on these devices.
The Nexus phones were particularly popular among Android enthusiasts for stock Android experience at a relatively cheaper price tag. Since these devices were more open that their OEM counterparts, it was easier for developers to port their custom ROMs to these devices. In this case, these devices are getting the update despite the fact that Nexus 6 was launched in 2014 while Nexus 5X came out in 2015.
The support for Nexus 6 ended with Android 7 Nougat, while support for Nexus 5X ended with Android 8.0 Oreo last year. Though most custom ROMs have some kind of issues like critical missing features, broken cellular modems or non-functioning camera module, the Android 9 Pie ROMs available for Nexus 6 and Nexus 5X are said to be near perfect.
The Android 9 Pie ROM for the Nexus 5X is called “PieX” ROM, and it comes via XDA Senior Member argraur and it is believed to have only two broken features. One is incoming calls for VoLTE, and the other is SafetyNet, though it may or not be critical for a user. The Pie-based Carbon ROM for the Nexus 6 is in a finished state, and reports to have two issues. The developer notes that only encryption, and an occasionally breaking mobile connection on reboots remain.
Of course, some features may not work that well due to their older hardware but this shows that Google should not have killed the Nexus line in first place. If you own a Nexus 5X or Nexus 6, you can try flashing these ROMs and check Android 9 Pie on these devices.