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Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus: For Shame

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Other carriers continue to offer the LTE variation of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus while Verizon have turned their backs on it. Google continues to offer updates, however Verizon have not offered the last four Android updates for the Google device.

While for most users the numbers may not mean anything but to owners of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus the numbers 4.1.2, 4.2.0, 4.2.1, and 4.2.2 do mean a lot. These are the four releases of Android that Google have offered for the Galaxy Nexus.

Verizon has not approved any of these and as with the majority of carriers Verizon will be testing it before they approve it and then roll out the firmware to the device.

Of course to be able to understand this you would have understand how Android is built. First there are the guidelines and then there is the source code. Google releases the guidelines, which are what they want to see from a device running Android. Google will then work with manufacturers and target devices. These devices have typically been the Galaxy Nexus, the LG Nexus 4, the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Previous handsets have included the Nexus One, the Motorola Xoom, the Nexus S and the G1 of T-Mobile.

Sprint has approved Jelly Bean 4.2, which is the second edition of the OS, for the Galaxy Nexus. The only difference between the Sprint and Verizon versions of the handset are the frequencies for LTE towers, the two use band incompatible LTE networks.

When Verizon was asked about what was happening they did commit to making a response, however at the moment they haven’t given one. Since contacting Verizon some mobile media hasn’t waited and have gone on to report the story. So here we are making an effort to share Verizon’s side.

Both Google and Verizon have had relationships issues and the Droid have been very successful for Verizon. The primary maker of the Droid handsets is Motorola and they are owned by Google. The pair is also in a deadlock over Google Wallet and the use of NFC.

The Galaxy Nexus issues could be in relation to the use of NFC on the Galaxy Nexus or mobile payments when using Google Wallet.

Verizon has said that NFC communications for any financial transactions have to go through a secure element, which is a hardware encryption chip in the device for NFC communications. Google Wallet meanwhile relies on an encryption token on the server side that bypassed the secure element. It keeps the transaction secure through the token, instead of the credit card or other payment data from the user between the phone and the payment terminal. The approach of Google relies on the security of the cloud and this is something the Verizon doesn’t accept as a secure transmission for payment data.

This deadlock has meant that Verizon have banned the use of Google Wallet from their handsets.

There have been claims about a recent move to remove unlocking exemptions which would make unlocking and rooting a device illegal. However this is something that we do not agree on.

Google however have been placing bets on Google Wallet, while Verizon have gone with Isis. The chance of the Galaxy Nexus playing piggy in the middle keep rising and more so with each day that passes and so does the frustration of those who bought the handset with Verizon.

Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners are therefore in a tight spot. Of course rooting and the installation of 3rd party firmware does void the warranty of a device. It also adds strikes to the tally of your Google Play Music and it can mean that you are at risk of bugs and issues thanks to the fact that you don’t have access to resources and code drivers. Of course it could be that Verizon will not update the Galaxy Nexus at all.

The founder of Android, Andy Rubin may have said it best. Google did choose to make the LG Nexus 4 and they made it without LTE. This was down to the fact they wanted freedom from carrier controls. They did get their own way, however as Motorola said of the Droid Bionic, those who own the Galaxy Nexus with Verizon have got a raw deal. They cannot get the LG Nexus without having to change carriers.

Mike is the man who reviews gadgets that aren’t mainstream or products that can’t exactly be classified as consumer electronics e.g. portable talking toilets. It’s always interesting to read about the crazy products we have here in Asia that just don’t get as much publicity as they warrant.