With all the excitement of Nexus availability and the Android 4.2 source code being pushed into AOSP this morning, one little statement by Android developer JBQ regarding 4.2 device support in the AOSP announcement was easy to overlook.

-There is no support for 4.2 on Nexus S and Xoom. Those devices should continue using 4.1.2.

Yep, that (very, very likely - it's intentionally vague) means exactly what you think it does: it's the end of the road for software updates on the Nexus S and Motorola XOOM (and yes, that means all variants). At least, that's what's implied. When asked for comment, JBQ said no further information could be given about future updates for the Nexus S or XOOM, which is the standard response to such inquiries.

So, the devices will quite probably be left at Android 4.1.2, and receive no further support in AOSP. Of course, the developer community will continue to vigorously support these two products for a while yet, so don't get too down if you were absolutely dying for that bump to 4.2 on your Nexus S. CyanogenMod and various other ROMs will probably continue to develop for these devices until doing so becomes little more than a game of "will it run?"

Based on Google's previous end-of-life policy (... for one phone) on Nexus hardware, the Nexus S and XOOM fared about average. The Nexus S survived all the way to fall 2012 (with the release of 4.1.2), a full 22 months and two major updates to Android (4.0, 4.1). The XOOM managed to make it through Honeycomb (with several smaller revisions to that release), ICS, and up to Jelly Bean, also accounting for two major updates. If you don't recall, the Nexus One was supported up to Android 2.3, and started at Android 2.1, which yet again made for two major updates.

It's sad to see support for these two Google Experience devices end, though we can't say the writing wasn't on the wall. The question to ask now, though, is will the Galaxy Nexus make it beyond Android 4.2? I guess we'll see next summer.

Google Groups

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://www.facebook.com/siddude11 Sid Goswami

    What the f***? I m so depressed now.. :(

  • http://cyanogenmod.com/ ciwrl

    That's the one you latched on to? Not the fact that JBQ flat out says the N4 is not supported in AOSP? http://goo.gl/h2axh (see dialog between Mahfooz Hasan and JBQ).

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      We saw that as well, don't worry. This particular post is relevant to a lot of people.

      • Jens Holst Schumacher

        Jean-Baptiste Queru
        7:32 PM (16 minutes ago)
        To clarify: Nexus 4 is not supported in AOSP at the moment: no source files, no binaries.

        AT THE MOMENT is the thing you should latch on to...
        He has in no way said that N4 will not get AOSP support.

    • http://profiles.google.com/wisefire935 Joshua Wise

      JBQ; 'To clarify: Nexus 4 is not supported in AOSP at the moment: no source
      files, no binaries.'

      At the moment..

  • RedPandaAlex

    Just kind of sucks because the utility of my aging Xoom would have been increased a lot with multiple user accounts.

    • Jonathan Wong

      I'm sure someone is going to port 4.2 to the XOOM.

    • ltredbeard

      i'd check out codename android (cna) you'll prob get exactly what you want (in due time that is)

  • TechGuy21

    i thought nexus devices were guaranteed updates

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      Until support for them ends, yes.

    • fixxmyhead

      seriously just change your name already

    • Simon Belmont

      The avatar picture fits. Your post "sucks."

      That is all. The end.

  • Aaron Berlin

    It's two years. It would be nice if these devices were supported forever, but I'm frankly impressed they've continued updated the Nexus S as long as they have!

  • http://www.facebook.com/htmlspinnr Rick Johnson

    Honestly, the Nexus S is already slowing down thanks to 4.1.x's larger memory footprint. Unless 4.2 could improve that, I'm not sure I see a continued benefit of adding more "features" to this underpowered device.

    • Will Tisdale

      Totally. The underpowered hummingbird SoC has struggled with all the 4.x releases and the RAM usage of 4.1 makes it unbearably slow.

  • Asphyx

    It was bound to happen eventually, I would be very interested in hearing why they can't get the support for it. Memory Limitations? Proc speeds?
    My guess is when they say it will not be supported they mean to say that AOSP won't build for it right out of the box, which could be overcome by 3rd party devs running custom kernels.
    But they will have to start writing their own Kernel code as Google won't be making updates anymore.
    I won't mind if there was a very good alternative with WLAN support that had all the features my Xoom has. But then again it's just remarkable that the Xoom being the first Android Tablet ever still has more features than most Android tablets.

  • http://twitter.com/navjotbatra Navjot

    I don't understand what about 4.2 the NS can't run if it can run 4.1.2. Probably because 4.1.x is kinda sluggish and they just don't want to have their name attached to a sluggish device.

    • carlisimo

      PhotoSphere, or whatever it's called. That would definitely bring my Nexus S to a grinding halt. It's been slow enough as it is.

      • Colton Walker

        At least they're putting it all out there - not like the lack of Siri for iDevices that got updated to iOS 5. Its very clear-cut. However, there's still a chance they might get the update...at least the Xoom!

        • carlisimo

          The Nexus S didn't get face unlock when Jelly Bean rolled out for it. Similar move as a lot of Apple's restrictions, probably, but Apple is more conservative about it (to a fault, I'd say).

          • http://twitter.com/navjotbatra Navjot

            The face unlock thing was definitely because the NS could not handle it. I remember I had flashed a modified gapps at some point so that I would be able to use it, and it didn't work at all. The camera on the NS wasn't good enough for face unlock. I have it on my N7 and it works perfectly.

          • ssj4Gogeta

            They had a valid reason for not doing so - the camera on the Nexus S is 0.3MP (vs. Galaxy Nexus's 1.3MP). I've tried it on a 0.3MP front camera and it hardly works. Apple, on the other hand, didn't have a reason to not give those devices Siri, as far as I know. It just needs a microphone, all the processing is done remotely.

      • Jason Rittenhouse

        My NS4G has been showing its age but it runs Photosphere fine. The new clock and keyboard work great. Unfortunately I can't get the 4.2 gapps to work but I don't see what in 4.2 would have a negative impact.

      • deltatux

        Photosphere works just fine on my Nexus S. I flashed it to my phone and it works perfectly...

  • grellanl

    I'm not surprised about the Nexus S (it's slow), but the Xoom has gotten better with each revision of the OS, and I imagine it will run 4.2 very well. Hopefully the shift from 4.1 to 4.2 doesn't mean that drivers etc break, so we can still run AOSP based builds like TeamEOS... I mean, I'm going to get a N10 but the Xoom still makes a nice (if slightly bulky) secondary tablet.

  • http://twitter.com/phonecount StalkyTheFish

    Seems about right. A year ago the N1 got left behind for 4.0. Now the N-S. A year from now it will be the Galaxy. It doesn't seem to be about number of updates but time. You get 2 years worth of official updates on a Nexus, which is a hell of a lot better than you get on most carrier phones: usually one point version 6 months late... if you're lucky.

  • Robert Grimm

    4.2? I'm still waiting for 4.1 on the Xoom. The lesson here is to avoid Verizon.

    • nhizzat

      Or to take matters into your own hands

      • Robert Grimm

        I'd love to, but I don't trust it. I had a horrible experience doing that with the Galaxy Nexus while I waited for JB. I tried six or seven ROMs. None were reliable. I have business software on the Xoom that is a real pain to reinstall and requires bothering the developers, so I need to wait for the official release.

        • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

          The official release isn't any more reliable neither. Pick a ROM that is near stock. I use Bugless Beast, which is very stable IMO.

          • Robert Grimm

            I haven't had any more trouble with the official JB than I did with the original ROM. It is much more reliable than any other ROM I've run. I liked some of the features of Cyanogen, but it wasn't worth the crashes and the occasional failures to boot.

  • http://twitter.com/kapsidi Vasilis Kourtis

    Just at the day when Cyanogenmod 10 has gone stable!

  • MikeCiggy

    The g-nex will most definitely be able to handle another iteration of Android and possibly even 2 more. It has a dual core processor and plenty of ram. As devices advance there update life should also expand.

    • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

      Plenty of RAM for now. Don't you see OEMs launching phones with 2Gb RAM even before the Nexus 4 comes out? They know future Android OS updates will need that.

      • MikeCiggy

        Need? 2gb is over kill

        • http://twitter.com/navjotbatra Navjot

          As the Android developers began to move forward, they will just assume that devices have 2 gb of RAM (just look at the Nexus S, they didn't optimize ICS for it even though it was only a year old at that time, they optimized it for the Galaxy Nexus...JB ran pretty slow on the NS) A year from now, the GNexus is going to start feeling really outdated.

        • GazaIan

          Back in 1980-1990's, we thought 512MB of RAM was overkill, we thought a 30GB Hard drive was overkill... Yet here we are, 2012, computers shipping with octo core processors, 8GB of RAM, 1 TERABYTE hard drives.... Phones won't be sitting at its current specs forever.

        • ssj4Gogeta

          For now.

  • daniturn3

    well R.I.P nexus s it looks like unless developers make roms like cyanagenmod than it will be dead before you know it and i really love the phone even after all this time with it

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikhilkaduskar Nikhil Kaduskar

    There you have it, my decision to upgrade from NS to N4 made easy by Google! But the NS is still functional on 4.1.x; yes it's slow, but it still works to my needs...

    • OSagnostic

      I am in the same situation. Tried to order the N4 but system failed. I guess I will have to keep hold of NS until next batch comes into UK play store.

  • Jeffrey Tarman

    ICS is still working well on my Xoom. Patiently waiting for JB before the end of the year. After that, custom ROMs

  • TheDrunkenClam

    Won't there be a 4.2 Rom made though?

    • ssj4Gogeta

      There'll be tens of them, just not from Google.

  • Simon Belmont

    I think newer hardware like the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 will likely be supported longer than their forebears. I would think at least 3-4 iterations of Android support should be possible.

    Of course, that doesn't even count the LONG support you will see from third party developers like CyanogenMod even after Google drops the ball. These devices are in for the long haul, no matter how you slice it.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I agree re: N4/7/10 - these are no longer developer devices, they're consumer hardware, and Google has to live up to Apple's reputation for supporting legacy devices.

      • http://www.twitter.com/italofigueired Italo F.

        It would be good eheh.

  • Jonathan Wong

    Now I'm thinking I may sell my XOOM and get a Nexus 7 32 GB. Hmm...

  • boogie_monster

    I hope canonical releases the promised Ubuntu for Xoom soon. I can't wait to make my Tablet a real Tablet!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Susan-Martin/100003697994211 Susan Martin

    Australian Xoom owners are YET to even see 4.1 let alone miss out on 4.2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • armshouse

      I sold my Xoom last week on eBay for a modest £200 after owning it for 18 months. Bought myself a 16gb nexus 7 with cash to spare!

  • The_Chlero

    This speaks very bad about Google and Android itself. Galaxy S is not even 2 years old and already is being discontinued. iPhone 3GS is more than 3 years old and is getting iOS 6. This talks about how unstable and very inconsistent Android is.

    I have a Galaxy Nexus GSM, and this worries me about how about this same time of the year, next year, mi phone will be not getting Android 5 or whatever they release and just will be 1.8 years old.

    Sure, you can brag about how there are many Android alternatives and projects, but the responsibility for maintain Android in good shape and position is Google. This gives me bad chills....

    • Simon Belmont

      Ugh. Not this argument again.

      The iOS 6 update on the 3GS is really just in name only. It BARELY has any of the features that headlining Apple devices have gotten out of iOS 6. It is basically a version increment so people buying the 3GS didn't feel bad. My two cents.

      • The_Chlero

        Even if they dont add as many features as the newer devices, at least they are releasing it and updating it with performance and some minor features. But we are talking about a device more than 3 year old. Nexus S and Xoom are barely one and a half year old, and they are already getting rid of them.

        Community ROMS are not valid, because not everybody want to mess with the process, in fact just a very few people want to. I had hope in google that they would be bringing support for those "pure" android devices for a long long time, but I was wrong as I see. Next year will be choosing very carefully if I change my mobile OS.

        • Simon Belmont

          Ah yes, but you can't have it both ways. Apple fans are always talking about Android and its fragmentation, yet when the 3GS gets a VERY MILD version of iOS 6, oh, that's okay, since it's old, but it's still a form of fragmentation.

          I agree with you on the point that devices should be supported longer, but carriers and OEMs don't want to spend the money to do that for the most part. Nexus devices, well, if Google doesn't think the experience will be great for older hardware, then they aren't going to put resources into making it work. Resources they could be using to better effect on newer hardware. The development community has us older hardware owners covered though. Apple doesn't even have that. Again, my two cents.

        • Simon Belmont

          By the way. The Xoom saw a lot of updates, even if it's less than two years old.

          It went from 3.0 to 3.1 to 3.2, then to 4.0 and 4.1. Four point updates is almost unheard of in the Android world.

        • someone

          Just remember that individual applications on android are updated individually, so it's actually about the same experience.

          Except you don't get people whining about how slow the update made their phone. Google it "(old device) (new is version) slow"

    • casinrm

      The Galaxy S was not a Nexus. And it did go through 3 FULL FEATURED software versions.
      iPhone 3GS iOS3, 4, 5, 6, with features being cut out every step of the way and iOS 6 basically being an updated in name only. So in terms of actual advancement of the software, even the non-Nexus phone is on par with the iPhone. 1 more version doesn't make up for gimped releases.

      • ssj4Gogeta

        In fact, mine runs 4.0 just fine. The impending CM10 release should keep me covered until I can get newer hardware.

  • Ken

    Running slimbean on the nexus s is very useable. The dev for slim dumps out a lot of junk you don't need (like the million different notification sounds) while still being a feature powerhouse. Runs 4.1 just fine for me

  • John hyper

    Disappointed from google. I think that the nexus s is better with 4.1.2 that was with 2.3.x. Never again buying a nexus phone. There is no reason for that. Definitely I will not buy nexus 4 even if the phone is excellent. I don't want to write the same words some years later. Better to go for another android device. The CM 10 will support the nexus s with android 4.2 guys. It's official. Put CM 10.

    Thank you google for make me choose. Keep your 18 months and don't believe many buyers will thank you later. After 18 months from now, you will say them the exact words for nexus4 update...

  • http://twitter.com/dewadg Dewa DeeGee

    Ah, it means that the latest development for my Galaxy W is at 4.1.2

  • jlschulz098

    wouldnt it be nice as a xoom 4g ownerbif we actually got the jelly bean before they tell us we wont be going any further ?

  • RampageDeluxe

    I'm kind of glad that 4.2 may not come to the Xoom. After playing with it on my N7, I don't really like a lot of the little changes.