We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. The number one reason you should buy a Nexus device is because your updates come directly from Google. Meaning you have first dibs and the lastest and greatest Android has to offer.
When we learned that some GSM Nexus devices were not going to be updated by Google, instead being controlled regionally by carriers and Samsung, we were a little disappointed. But at least Verizon’s CDMA/LTE Galaxy Nexus is safe. Well, it was.
There’s been no official word from Google, but the Android Developers website tells it all. The CDMA Galaxy Nexus, codename “toro,” is no longer supported on the Android Developers website. Special CDMA radio installation and download instructions have been yanked, and factory images for the CDMA Nexus are listed as “archived, for reference only.”
There’s no telling exactly what is going on, but it doesn’t look like a mistake. Perhaps Verizon wanted more control over the device? Maybe they needed to add more custom apps, or decided they wanted to exclusively handle the updating procedure? Whatever the case, this is a sad day for Verizon customers who thought they were buying a developer device. It’s not that this will really impact consumers for the most part, but enthusiasts will surely feel let down.
We’ll let you know if the situation changes.
Dan Morrill has taken to the Android Contributors Google Groups page to explain the situation.
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.Dan MorrillGoogle
It looks like there’s nothing really going on here. Developers compiling and using pure AOSP builds are leaving CDMA phones less than functional. Your weekend has been saved.