May 11 AT 4:49 PM Dustin Earley 176 Comments

Why I bought a Galaxy Nexus from Google Play

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The Nexus name has come under some serious fire lately; and I can’t deny playing my part in that. Thanks to botched updates, carrier control and an absolutely horrendous initial rollout, Google’s Nexus line just ain’t what it used to be. So why then, did I just recently purchase a Galaxy Nexus as my next personal device? In a nutshell: everyone deserves a second chance.

When the Galaxy Nexus was announced, before the device was actually released, was when the problems first started. We knew the device would launch on Verizon here in the US, but it ended up taking much longer than initially expected. As for those of us not on Verizon, despite a GSM version of the device, compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile HSPA, being detailed alongside the Verizon LTE version, there was no news of that version of the Galaxy Nexus coming to the US at all. In fact, even a Sprint version of the Nexus was detailed before a US GSM variant was.

After that, between the release of the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon in December and this April, a lot of crazy stuff went on. The CDMA version of the Nexus was labeled “fake” since Verizon practically has complete control of it, different versions of the international GSM Nexus were facing update problems as it was discovered carriers and Samsung also had control of those devices. And that’s just the Galaxy Nexus. The Nexus S is still facing update issues, and the Nexus One has been left for dead. But there was still hope for the Nexus name, and it came in the form of the Google Play store.

When Google first announced they’d be selling the GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus direct to consumers out of the Google Play store, I was ecstatic. The “Pure Google. No Contract. No Commitment.” slogan on the banner for the Nexus’ sale page had me excited. The software information page for the Play version of the Galaxy Nexus is what had me sold.

“A Galaxy Nexus purchased on Google Play is a Pure Google device and is among the first to receive the latest software updates from Google. We are pushing out updates to Nexus devices as quickly as possible and we will continue to provide the latest updates to these devices going forward. For devices purchased on Google Play, you can expect software updates to come directly from Google, rather than your mobile service provider.”

Could this finally be it? The Nexus I’ve been waiting for? It certainly seems like it. I know Google has messed up in the past, and I know it still has a huge PenTile display (which is what originally deterred me from wanting the Galaxy Nexus). But if Google were to, say, announce and release Jelly Bean at I/O this year, this would have to be the device to get it first. Seeing a new version of Android being released and not being able to use it right away is some strange from of torture I wouldn’t wish on even the most obnoxious of Android enthusiasts.

And to top it all off, a totally unlocked PentaBand device that is guaranteed to get updates directly from Google surely must cost at least $600. Right? The fact that Google is able to get the Galaxy Nexus directly to consumers for just $400 is nothing short of a miracle. Even with tax and shipping, I only paid $435. That is incredibly cheap in terms of brand new unlocked phones. Plus I was able to pass my Nexus S down to a budding Android enthusiast at a steep discount to knock some money off that $435 as well.

Looking past the price and updates, more than anything, I want the Nexus name to succeed. Not in the way that analysts and carrier CEOs do. In the way the developers and die-hard fans do. I know I’ve badmouthed the Nexus name recently, but it’s only because I felt personally betrayed. Not many companies can do that to me, which really says something about the place Google holds in my life.

So I ordered a Galaxy Nexus from the Google Play store. And I’m really hoping for the best. Google, please don’t let me down again.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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