As noted by Mishaal Rahman on Twitter/X, Google appears to be working on updating the Linux kernel on all Tensor-powered Pixels. Specifically, the evidence presented suggests an update to version 6.1, which was released in December 2022 and is the second-to-newest version of the kernel, with 6.6 having been released in October 2023.
Release of new software updates on a regular basis is one of the biggest selling points of a Pixel device, and it appears that Tensor-powered Pixels are about to receive a rare software update that updates the kernel used in the background.
While there’s no word on what a kernel upgrade might change, this is notable for a couple of reasons.
One of the comments mentions that “some Pixel devices” will be released with version 5.15 on “Android V,” which is Android 15. That also suggests that the timeline at play here is not in the immediate future but rather sometime after Android 15’s release. The 5.10 kernel version will see its end-of-life date in December 2026, so it most likely will not be too long after. For starters, this update would put all Tensor-powered Pixels on the same kernel. Pixel 6 and forward all ran on version 5.10 until the launch of Pixel 8, with 8 and 8 Pro running version 5.15.
Updates to the kernel typically do not affect the user experience much, but they can have a significant impact on how your device functions. This includes performance and battery life. Custom kernels were a fairly common feature back when Android modding was more common.