06
Dec
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Yesterday, a Google representative confirmed that the upcoming Verizon Galaxy Nexus will not support Google Wallet, Google's NFC payment service. The news was disappointing - it is a Google phone after all, but understandable to a degree, since Verizon Wireless is part of the competing Isis consortium, which also partners with AT&T and T-Mobile.

Verizon Wireless, however, today posted a statement and wants everyone to know that it isn't blocking Google Wallet (they actually say "Verizon does not block applications" - orly?). "Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones."

Update: "Verizon asked us not to include this functionality in the product," a Google representative told CNET.

How about that? A phone designed by Google from the ground up doesn't support Google's own service, with Google's own spokesperson pointing a finger at Verizon, if ComputerWorld's report is to be believed ("and that the choice was made by (you guessed it) Verizon").

Excuse me while I inconspicuously cough "bullshit" - the issue is clearly something else (money, partnerships, commercial agreements, call it whatever you want). History repeats itself - remember how the Nexus S on Sprint supports Google Wallet, but it doesn't on T-Mobile? It has been shown to work on the T-Mobile/AT&T Nexus S without a hitch. Guess what - T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless are all Isis' partners. Even Verizon gets confused at the end and states that they're "continuing commercial discussions with Google on this issue."

So, does anyone still think the app's omission on the Galaxy Nexus is merely an implementation problem? My guess is VZW's lawyers made it a point to never openly state the carrier's bias towards Google Wallet due to its allegiance to Isis. That way Verizon can't be accused of anti-competitive behavior in the future. It just really grinds my gears to see a political statement with the sole purpose of unjustly shifting the blame.

Statement From Verizon On Google Wallet

12/06/2011

Statement from Jeffrey Nelson, spokesperson for Verizon:

Recent reports that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on our devices are false. Verizon does not block applications.

Google Wallet is different from other widely-available m-commerce services. Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications. Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones.

We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue.

Source: Verizon Wireless

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Aaron

    What a load of crap.

    It's starting to appear as if Verizon agreed to carry the Galaxy Nexus just so they could botch the launch and cripple the device in every way possible.
    I'm beginning to think they are too afraid of the trend the industry is taking and what a big step Nexus phones are in that direction.
    These damn US carriers need to get over themselves and stop stifling innovation.

  • http://iandouglas.com Ian Douglas

    I was ready to dump TMobile on Friday when Verizon gets the Galaxy Nexus, but lately I'm having serious doubts about Verizon, considering this NFC stuff and considering the bloatware they have got pre-installed on the Nexus. So much for a plain vanilla flagship device.

    • Aaron

      I went through the same thing, and decided against Verizon. I have been consistently upset by their business practices and their pathetic desperation.

      I bit the bullet and got an unlocked GNexus at full price.

      • Steven

        Besides being a bit expensive I have never had an issue with Verizon. Not saying they are perfect but in comparison to the major four carriers there is nothing really sticking out making them so terrible like some people have been saying [when talking about the GN]. With the whole bloat thing I personally am glad they have it because I use those apps but even if I didn't I could disable them(stock) or delete them (root, but it if any phone should be rooted it should be a nexus).

      • animejay

        What network are you on? Did HSPA+ work?

        • Ryan

          I have the Galaxy Nexus (GSM version imported). HSPA+ works extremely well with T-Mobile USA. Here's a screenshot of speedtest.net while connected to HSPA+

          http://db.tt/0zg50LPC

          Also... whoever said T-Mobiles HSPA+ is not 4G can shove it.

  • http://www.joshuanaylor.com Joshua Naylor

    As a commenter on The Verge put it - Verizon is just a pipe I have to connect to - please don't mess with MY phone.

    I was really hoping to get the nexus and NOT have to root it - it is after all supposed to be a pure google experience. But I guess even the nexus line now requires rooting to bypass the shit that carriers try and pull.

    • http://www.thepixelpuse.com aj

      I think it's just Verizon really. Verizon for some reason has this obsession to brand every damn phone they carry. Can't wait to see this come to Sprint. My Nexus S 4G doesn't have google wallet disabled because of the carrier's bias, and it doesn't have one bit of bloatware. Hopefully if it comes to Sprint, the Galaxy Nexus will follow in the NS4G's footsteps.

  • Perry Ahern

    They're playing with words. It's true, they didn't block it. They asked Google not to put it in, so there's no need to block what isn't there.

    It's all just legal wrangling. The end result is Verizon is responsible for it not being included in the phone.

  • James Carnley

    The thing that irritates me the most is the phrase "on our phones". It's not your phone, it's MY PHONE.

    I don't understand how a wireless ISP can have the gumption to even make a statement like that.

    Customers use Verizon signal to access the internet, I don't see how that qualifies them to dictate what software I put on my device. I'm hoping someone regulates these guys soon.

    • Justin W

      According to the C Block Spectrum Purchase they made, it doesn't, and it's illegal.

  • Napleszen

    I'm guessing they cant come out and say we are blocking it, anti-competitive practices and all.

  • Vorathe

    Quit buying carrier subsidized phones and in general phones from carrier stores.

    • Interest

      BINGO!!!!

      This is the big problem, people want the "cheap" phone, so they sign up and lose their freedom (and money) to the carrier.

      • Oliver

        The problem with unlocked full-price phones in the U.S. is that our monthly rates are the same regardless of whether or not we use a carrier-subsidized phone. So, in essence, we end up paying twice the price for an unlocked phone.

        If/when U.S. carriers create non-subsidized service plans, I will almost certainly go that route. Sadly, I just don't think that will ever happen... :(

        • Justin W

          Read: StraightTalk (or Virgin Mobile, ATT GoPhones, Consumer Cellular, etc.). These are all non-subsidized pay-as-you-go plans that run off of the same networks (Verizon/ATT/T-Mo/Sprint) as the regular subsidized phones do. Yes, I know, I'm 11 months late.

  • Garrett N

    "Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones."

    yea....sounds like what i want. i dont want my wallet running in common app space where other things can get at it. i would rather have it sandboxed and protected (hardware and software) as much as possible.

    when carriers do things like this, they truly suck.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ISantop Ian

    Actually, the Nexus S 4G (Samsung D720) does include a Secure Element in the NFC chip that the standard Nexus S (Samsung i9020x/i9023) doesn't have. Officially, Google Wallet does require this element to be present and activated, though it wouldn't be hard to just put the chip in the phone. They have it on the GSM version, right?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Google designed the Galaxy Nexus, so I'm sure the Verizon version has or had the potential to have all the security features required for NFC implementation.

      As for the Nexus S, I'm not sure why it didn't have the secure element, maybe T-Mobile opted out of it because they knew they wouldn't be using Google Wallet and it was cheaper this way. Or maybe the spec for Google Wallet wasn't out yet.

  • http://gthing.net Sam

    "We don't block software, we just don't allow it to work on hardware we sell."

    • Tomas – University Place, WA

      Quoted For Truth (QFT):

      "We don't block software, we just don't allow it to work on hardware we sell."

      Sad but true, Sam. :(

  • Dei

    Does this mean when we purchase an app from the Android Market online, and the Google Wallet checkout appears, we won't be able to for the Nexus? I'm a little confused as to how this would end up mattering to Johnny Phoneowner who just wants to make sure he can get the apps he wants.

  • F verizon

    I really hope google has learned its lesson from this and will never launch a nexus device again on verizon. What a shit show.

  • VoiceOfReason

    Soooo... a couple points here:
    1. According to ZDnet (Source: http://zd.net/ue1rL7) Google Wallet is a Sprint exclusive. This would likely mean Verizon actually CAN'T provide Google Wallet on their Galaxy Nexus or if they can they would have to give Sprint money, which to me would be a pretty good reason to ask for it to be left out.
    2. I give it a week, maybe two before Google Wallet is available to rooted users (though I question it's security... see point 4).
    3. It's Google Wallet... not exactly a make or break feature right now with it's limited use. Maybe once it supports all credit cards or at least all master cards I would see it being an important feature (and no I don't count making pre-paid credit cards as supporting all credit cards...)
    4. I would guess (though this is pure speculation on my part) that someone (probably Google) is keeping the secure proprietary whatever from Verizon, meaning that if Verizon were to just allow Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus... it would not be secure. I think that the headline "Credit Card numbers stolen from Verizon phones" would be a worse headline to read than "Verizon blocks Google Wallet" don't you think?

  • JW

    Dear Google I love you so much but you are sleeping with the nasty whore in the neighborhood and her name is Verizon. She is going to destroy your product release, and deny you the right to show the world your original intent with stock devices. Please find a new mistress. She can not be trusted.

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