2011-10-21 17h07_01

Holy crap. Brace yourself for some Friday afternoon bad news -- it looks like Google may be washing its hands of all associations with the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. No one knows for sure why El Goog would do this, but all signs point to the fact that it is indeed turning its back on the first ICS phone here in the US.

Update x2: Let's see if we can clear this up a bit, shall we? The basic gist is this: CDMA phones require proprietary code in order for voice and data service to work. This code is handled on the carrier-side of development, not Google's. Therefore, Google can't provide full "support" for these devices since it can't provide the full code. This doesn't mean that Google is dropping the Nexus altogether - it's actually far from that. This update to the developer support pages was simply a means of letting devs know what is going on and will actually have little-to-no effect on the end user.

The good thing about all of this is that we now know what's going on with CDMA devices. Unfortunately, we had to go through a lot of kerfuffle to get to the end result.

Update: Dan Morrill just posted an official word on the state of CDMA devices:

Hello! This is a quick clarification about support for CDMA devices.

For various technical reasons, recent CDMA Android devices implement core telephony functionality in .apk files provided in binary form by the carriers. To function correctly, these .apk files must be signed by the so-called "platform" key. However, when an individual creates a custom build from the AOSP source code, they don't use the same signing key as these CDMA flies were signed with.

The result is that these files don't work properly, and pure AOSP builds running on these devices can't place calls, access mobile data, and so on. Because we aim to make sure that we are as clear as possible about the degree of support that devices have, we updated the docs over at source.android.com to reflect this reality.

We will still make available as many as possible of the closed-source binaries for these devices, and Nexus devices will continue to have unlockable bootloaders. And, of course, GSM/HSPA+ devices are still supported, as are any other devices we're able to support. We've simply updated the documentation to be clearer about the current extent of CDMA support.

We are of course always working to improve support, and we'll keep everyone updated as we make improvements. Thanks as always for your interest in AOSP!

- Dan

The Evidence

A claim this heavy can't be made without some sort of proof, right? Droid-Life has done most of the heavy lifting on that one, and came up with some pretty damning evidence.

First off, if you check out the "Building for devices" section on the Android Development site, you'll notice a list of devices: Maguro, Wingray, Crespo, Passion, Sapphire, and Dream. Those are all the Nexus devices of old, with Maguro being the GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus. Nowhere on that list will you find Toro, the LTE/CDMA version of the GN. It was there just a few days ago according to this cached version of the page.

If you look a little closer, though, you'll notice more discrepancies between the two: not only is the US GN missing, but so is the VZW XOOM (Stingray) and the Sprint Nexus S 4G (Crespo 4G). Those are all CDMA devices. What exactly is Google doing here?

2012-02-03 14h54_39


2012-02-03 14h54_24


From there, if you head over to the "Factory Images for Nexus Devices" page on Google Code, you'll find even more proof. The mysid factory images for Toro are now listed as "archived, for reference only." What the hell does that even mean?

2012-02-03 15h25_45

Of course, this may all just be a misunderstanding and Google could be doing something random, like separating US devices from global devices, or something similar. We're really not 100% sure what to make of all this, but you better believe we'll let you know as soon as more evidence comes to light.


Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://justreboot.wordpress.com Dei

    I'm trying so hard not to overreact right now, but this is the most infuriating Android news in a LONG time. Especially because I'm posting from a GNex.

  • Sahil

    In my opinion, the terminology used, such as "For Reference Only" tells me this is much more serious.

    I think Google has dropped all CDMA devices for some reason (If I had to guess, I would say something with CDMA radio makers refusing to release drivers/radios)

    This is horrible, sad news, and all I can do is hope that Google is going to set up a separate site for CDMA devices, OR this is some kind of negotiation tactic used by Google to cause scandal (like this) to force whoever is causing this to allow Google to re-list Toro.


      that actually makes a lot of sense...

    • Jon Garrett

      how do you get your picture as your avatar?

  • Brian

    I'm going with the "rumor and wild speculation" route until either a) an official announcement is made or b) a week goes by with no statement or correction. I'm guessing it's just a mistake or an oversight and will be corrected shortly.

    If it does pan out to be true, however, I'll wash my hands of Android all together to be blunt. Between the screw up that was Honeycomb, the rocky launch of ICS, and the possibility that the expensive device I'm stuck with for another 2 years will not actually be the "Google supported" device it was promoted as, I'll have zero faith left in the platform.

    • http://gthing.net sam

      Exactly. In other news my wife was five minutes late coming home yesterday, therefore she must be cheating on me!

  • Jim

    Cue people going apeshit................NOW.

    Not that you shouldn't. I just think until we get some more info/answers (if we even do) then we shouldn't freak out just yet.

  • http://www.swehes.com Hans-Erik (@swehes)

    You know. Maybe Google will hurry up getting the GSM version over then with this move of theirs. Can always hope. Although I'm still trucking along with my old fateful Vibrant. :)

  • Christian

    Galaxy S2 is gonna destroy it once it gets the ICS update anyway... :)

    • Alex

      Yup some touchwiz is gna be great! Might as well use gingerbread they look exactly the same anyway haha...

      • jacob

        if your navigation buttons weren't stuck in one place and you could customize them on a whim, and they didn't add their rather unfortunate touchwiz, i don't think your ics would look like gingerbread.

        but anyways, sorry to hear that.

  • Product F(RED)

    Good riddance. The Nexus S 4G wasn't filled with any bloatware, but I'm sure Verizon gave Google hell in terms of forcing them to let them put their apps on it and brand the Galaxy Nexus. Sprint's GN didn't come with third-party apps but it was branded too. They're probably just sick of having to support different hardware. The NS4G came with WiMax and the GN comes with LTE, whereas the international version is pentaband GSM.

    I wish all carriers were GSM. As a Sprint user, and former AT&T/T-Mobile user, I'm pissed off at the fact that I can't use whatever phone I want on the network. Carriers should be dumb pipes, not dictators. The only reason I'm on Sprint is for the pricing and unlimited data.

  • JimJam

    I always laugh at the massive uproar that gets caused by any Nexus-like news and Verizon. I mean come on, do you seriously think Google can consider and LTE/CDMA version of a device for a worldwide OS as a developer phone when it is stuck on only being used on 1 carrier in 1 country. Haha.

    You will still get your updates, and rather complain about Google go complain about VZW cos anything Google does will have to get approval from the carrier first.

    GSM FTW!

    • http://turbofool.com TurboFool

      Huh? CDMA is on more than one carrier in one country. CDMA exists in quite a few other countries, and the US has both Verizon AND Sprint, not to mention quite a few smaller carriers. Where are you getting your "facts?"

      • Tres Nugget

        He's making them up

      • JoAnn

        Clearly this is a guy who never gets out of his mother's basement to visit the rest of the world. I'm headed to China next week and my CDMA Android phone works fine there.

        • Sergio Rodriguez

          Clearly you don't know how big the GSM market share is.. Hint: more than 80%

      • adnoxaei

        615 Million CDMA devices currently in use, 370 Carriers world wide.
        The United States and Canada have 184 Million CDMA subscribers on 69 operators. Verizon and Sprint, the two largest US CDMA carriers, together have 162 Million subscribers. 162 Million is over half of the US population on CDMA. Those 162 Million people in Google's home country means that CDMA is very visible to Google and its Android team. Completely ignoring the 108 Million subscribers to Verizon wireles alone would be foolish. Ok I think I'm done spewing statistics.

        • Glite

          Get those facts out of here! They make his baseless comment look bad!

          Nah, kidding, I always laugh at people like JimJam.

        • goldo1802

          ok.. fair enough, now look up the gsm share in millions.. gms phones a cheaper to produce because of the time it has been on the market.. also it has more versatility (pop a sim on a phone a there) why do you think in europe it is the standart?? it more benefactor to the end user, not to the company... American company only think about themself and how to make more money... sure you put a great point there, but the fact is GSM has more dominace over GSM (also havent you notice that all android phone are release GSM before CDMA??) "At present, GSM owns over 3.38 billion GSM, WCDMA-HSPA subscribers worldwide and 83.5 percent of global mobile market share. According to the Industry Life Cycle, GSM continues to gain ground till 2014 due to the increase of the emerging markets, relatively low price of GSM endpoints, and GSM technology revolution"

        • adnoxaei


          It won't let me respond to you so I'll try this way.

          GSM is dominant worldwide and allows Europe to have a much better system of selecting carriers. The phones are not only cheaper to produce, but a single model can be rolled out to dozens of nations with only a few regional software tweaks and language switches. Phones run under a different model, so swapping SIMs to stick you on anither carrier is possible. I expect GSM phones to designed first and produced in larger numbers and greater variety, which is why the GSM Galaxy Nexus was unsurprisingly rolled out first, and why I'm rarely surprised to see any GSM phone take months to be redesigned for CDMA (if it does...)

          The US has built up a huge CDMA network, with much wider (but slower) 3G coverage and very similar voice coverage, so we have no CDMA coverage problems. Mexico and Canada, our only neighbors, also both have CDMA networks, so we can roam about almost all of the continent without worrying much. The subsidy model removes most benefits of GSM, so CDMA really doesn't look worse in America. There is no public pressure in the US for CDMA to die, so it will hobble along for years to come and OEMs will fill the need or the carrier switch. (Verizon wants to replace its 3G with LTE, so theres a start)

      • gsleon3

        Duh, all those "smaller carriers" are really just brokers, using leased bandwidth from Verizon or Sprint.

        CDMA might be in a few places, but try going abroad regularly for work & you will quickly find the benefit of gsm. Sure, there are a very small number of dual mode CDMA devices, but good luck on that. The simple fact is that gsm service is everywhere & cdma is not & having had a VZW international account for some time, all I can say is that I am glad all I have to do is throw in a TMO, ATT, O, 3, Voda, etc... sim & I am ready to go. Forward my domestic to gVoice & I get all my calls without getting savagely raped by big red.

  • Mike

    this phone isnt going anywhere until i get my hands on the Sprint GN...

  • Tkun

    Even less of a reason to get the Verizon Galaxy Nexus now. Outdated PowerVR chipset, no microSD card support, no USB mass storage, and now there's a chance that Google will no longer support the device? Well, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a Galaxy S III even more now.

    • gsleon3

      Mass storage was fixed weeks ago.

  • Ted Lovejoy

    Is this why we are stuck on 4.02?

    • capflya

      No... you're stuck on 4.02 becaue you don't flash ROM's

  • droidhead

    That's why you just root and use custom roms . I love the gnex. And the rom I'm using. To most people they wouldn't understand what's going on. But I'm sure there is a reason for this. As of right now there isn't any word from Google so its w.e.

  • http://vargus21.tumblr.com vargus21

    Shit just got real...

  • Dutchjonsey

    Says on the build page that no CDMA devices are supported...

  • BoB1673

    Oh shit ! the riots will start soon

  • RcCypher

    I feel like no one actually read the memo that Google released. What it states is rather clear. The software that VZW is handing Google is signed and must be properly verified before it can be used. That verification cannot occur on a custom ICS build for the Nexus because Verizon is preventing this from occurring.

    " To function correctly, these .apk files must be signed by the so-called "platform" key. However, when an individual creates a custom build from the AOSP source code, they don't use the same signing key as these CDMA flies were signed with.
    The result is that these files don't work properly, and pure AOSP builds running on these devices can't place calls, access mobile data, and so on."

    Verizon has always shunned the modding community, and this is just another step along the same path. VZW wants complete and total control over every piece of hardware on their network. From a security and reliability standpoint this makes sense, hell it echos the way Apple handles the Iphone ecosystem.

    The only real surprise here is that Google allowed the Nexus to be released on the VZW network, given this kind behavior. I have to admit that the Nexus was my choice for my upgrade in the next few months. However, given this news, if the Modding community fails to find a hack around this I will choose a SG2 or SG3 if SG3 is out by then. I would say screw VZW because frankly I am tired of their crap, but I am on a business plan and stuck with what I can get.

    • Daniel

      It's the same deal for Sprint, though.

    • dalingrin

      There's nothing to work around. CyanogenMod 9 and other AOSP based OSes run on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus perfectly. This is not nearly as dire as folks are making it out.

    • Glite

      "However, given this news, if the Modding community fails to find a hack around this I will choose a SG2 or SG3 if SG3 is out by then."

      A.) They most likely will
      B.) How would it actually affect you if they didn't?
      C.) With the crazy amount of development support already established, there are tons of options from radios, ROMs, kernels, and themes.

  • Nexuz-Uno

    GSM GNex for the win. This is the one time I'm thankful that I have At&t.

    • Glite

      Enjoy your DSL data speeds. :-D Also, there is already *plenty* of 4.0.3 ROMs to choose from (with more to come undoubtedly) and kernels work regardless of radio types

  • http://gthing.net sam

    Wow. Way to jump to a completely unjustified conclusion. This is pretty shoddy reporting.

    • Cameron Summerson

      Really? How's my conclusion "unjustified?"

      • Adam W.

        Care to read your own updates and then answer your own question here?

  • Tortel

    This was def due to verizon. Sprint has had the crespo 4g for quite some time, and hasn't loaded it with bloat. Its been receiving updates too, although slower

  • Roman

    It was never a true nexus to begin with. It is so funny how you all thought it was or even still is gonna get support from google.
    It was doomed from the start.
    It is nothing more than a glorified galaxy phone with MEH specs and ICS.
    It's great that there's a large developer community behind it, that's one reason I am still rocking the OG EVO!
    Verizon and samsung are the devil when it come to android, and until people realize that its only gonna get worse:(

    • Glite

      Because there was two carrier apps installed? I hope you don't slap your kid when they spill their milk.

      Most people buy Nexus phones to put custom ROMs, mods, kernels, themes, etc on anyway.

    • Adam W.

      Clearly you haven't used any recent (current) Samsung Android handsets...the critically acclaimed SGSII, for example, and the GNex itself, which, despite it's "MEH specs", looks and performs incredibly well. Samsung has been making quite a name for themselves lately in the Android world, and you're fooling yourself to ignore it.
      Now VZW, otoh,...I couldn't agree with you more!

  • http://androidpolice.com Alpha55

    Well I really hope Verizon gets some good windows 8 mobile phones then

  • Pegger

    Microsoft and Apple should jump up now, that's a few Android fanboys going there way now :p

    But serieus now, We don't have CDMA here, there are plenty of other country's that do use CDMA (http://www.cdg.org/worldwide/index.asp) Check it out here!

    That's alot of cash Google throws away, i would say!

    • sal

      *their way - PLEASE get it right.

  • Big waner

    Love it! Glad I got iphone.

    • Glite

      Hahahaha, I am too!

      Don't get me wrong, I loved the few that I had but when the OS changes so little over 5 years, it is hard to go through more of the same over and over again.

      Hopefully you can read this text on your screen alright. :-/

      • Adam W.

        WTF? Android has seen far more significant changes in it's lifespan than iOS has...
        wait a sec...aaaaah, you got me! You were just trollin'! Good one!

  • James

    Fragmented platform, nobody can get timely updates, if their devices ever see them at all, and now this.

    Android becomes more of a disaster by the minute anymore, it seems. Think this is the year I make a platform switch.

  • http://gplus.to/kobuu kobuu

    Motorola FTW! ICS is coming. Who needs a GN?

  • slurms mckenzie

    this seals it verizon will never get another nexus

    • some internet dude

      Hey its a war between Google and Verizon. Google wants to push for a pure Android phone, and Verizon wants to do there usual cripple the phone and add crapware. It may hurt a little but i say ask Verizon out of the handset alliance. Let them just sell iPhones and nothing else. Windows Phone does not count, its dead.

  • Mgamerz

    This seems like way overblown hype. If the devices are controlled by the carriers (radios and stuff), then they won't make another nexus device for CDMA phones. How is that a big problem? Maybe google can show AT&T how updates should be someday.

  • Darkseider

    Um.. Assuming any of this is true then that just made the RAZR Dev edition useless as well.

  • Miann

    All the document says is that the GN wont update automatically for CDMA devices until the carrier gives their specific code (assuming it is different from the previous update). What an overblown piece of hype. CDMA should just finish its slow death now.

  • Mark

    WHO REALLY CARES?!?!??! Fucking nerds. Get a grip. The Nexus WILL still get updates. It might be a little slower. So fucking what? It's still the same awesome Android OS and a great hardware. Jeez.

  • Adam

    Can anyone explain what any of this means in English?

  • Mike

    LTE is the future, and all US companies are on board with it. It was the natural evolution of GSM, and in a few years all of this will be behind us. Only the band will matter, and that's a lot easier than different techs.

  • jmotyka

    To the iPhone cults! This is androidpolice not iphonepolice so stfu and gtfo!

  • cosmic

    It seems pretty simple to me. The cdma version cannot just have an aosp rom flashed to it and have the telephone parts work(at least not without some trickery) so the developer label was dropped.

    They'll still be updated, they'll still be Google supported devices, they just don't get the developer label for not working straight from aosp.

  • Joe

    HA! SOOOO glad I have the GSM version! Nothing makes me happier than to see misery from you Craprizon losers who think that 4g/Verizon is all that! LOL on you!!!!! Made my weekend.

    • scott

      Does your Mommy know you're up past your bedtime?

  • Carlos

    It doesn't seem to be as bad as it sounds. This gentleman, Jerry on the following site explains it really well. Just scroll down a ways to see it. http://m.androidcentral.com/verizon-galaxy-nexus-support-not-dropped-after-all

    • Carlos

      from my understanding, google has a set of processes that ROM developers follow when building from aosp source. They are simply saying that if a developer attempts to follow the process step by step to build aosp for cdma, things may not work. Most developers may already know the work arounds ie: custom roms already existing on vzw galaxy nexus. At least that's what i got out of it. I'm no developer, so any devs out there feel free to correct me.

  • Hal Motley

    Actually this post does explain exactly why there is no official CyanogenMod 7.1 compatibility for the CDMA version of the Xperia Play.

    I don't know much about CDMA because I live in the United Kingdom and to my knowledge CDMA is pretty much non-existant.

  • caseyb

    This doesn't seem like it is too much of a big deal, more or less an inconvenience than anything else. But after LTE completely replaces our 3G services, we won't have to worry about any of this, correct?