Dec 15 AT 11:07 AM Dustin Earley 101 Comments

Not all GSM Galaxy Nexus devices will be updated directly by Google


One of the biggest draws of owning a Nexus device is getting updates directly from Google. In fact, it’s one of the few things that make a Nexus a Nexus. We’ve talked about this on Android and Me many times and more, but today it bears repeating. Because apparently, not all Nexus devices are created equal.

Now before anyone gets up in arms, your newly purchased Verizon Galaxy Nexus will be updated directly by Google. It’s the GSM Nexus that’s under fire today.

You see, over on XDA some GSM Nexus owners have been having problems manually flashing the recently rolled out update to 4.0.1. Unfortunately, there’s no problem with the update file. It has to do with custom Samsung installed firmwares.

Some GSM Nexus devices are shipping with region specific Samsung firmwares. There’s a fingerprint in the build.prop file for all Android phones. The direct-from-Google Nexus has the hardware code maguro and the software code yakju. Once Nexus owners started having signature problems when trying to manually update to 4.0.1, they started checking their build.prop file to see if there was something wrong. And sure enough, there’s several different Nexus configurations that come with Samsung controlled firmware.

All GSM Galaxy Nexus devices still have a hardware code of maguro, but different software configurations include yakjuxw, yajusc, yakjukr and yakjuux. As far as anyone knows so far, any Nexus with one of those software codes won’t be updated directly by Google. But there’s still some confusion surrounding the subject.

yakjusc and yakjuxw are indeed the two Samsung-prepared builds I'm aware of at the moment, but I'm discovering them as they get released. I only have some visibility over the builds that are prepared by 
Google, i.e. yakju. Everything else comes from Samsung, and I don't 
know what their schedules and release plans are.JBQGoogle

At this point, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to receive your updates directly from Google if you ended up with an xw, sc, kr or ux device. While it’s not being endorsed by Google, some users have flashed yakju software to their Nexus without problem. Allowing their device to receive the 4.0.1 OTA, and presumably, any other updates Google sends out in the future.

It’s nice to see that, yet again, the Android community has come up with a solution to a problem with their device. But that doesn’t change the fact that quite a few Nexus devices out there are missing something that is, for most people, a major selling point.

Is this the death of the Nexus as we know it? This same question came up when it was revealed that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus would come with third-party apps pre-installed. The fact that it would still be updated by Google, not Verizon and Samsung, made up for that. The same can’t be said in this situation. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this story and providing you with any information we can get our hands on. For more details on the unique builds, visit XDA.

Source: XDA Developers

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

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  • Peter Dowling

    Well I guess it pays to be a VZW customer now, because Google will update it.

    • BiGMERF

      yes google will after Verizon get it and check its first :)

    • Thomas Biard

      It always pays to be a VZW customer, except for each time of the month when the bill comes, but *shhhh* don’t tell anyone else that.

      • DroidSamurai

        Ha ha ha. The most funny thing I’ve heard today. Yes, indeed. It always pays to be a VZW customer. The reliable connection (at least that’s true in NYC), the dependable LTE speed … the only problem is when you receive your bill, you realize that there’s no free lunch in this world after all.

    • pritams

      Indeed you pay for it..!!

  • keridel

    Mine is yakju so im happy happy

    • BiGMERF

      Mines is Yakju also! made sure of that a few days ago.. :)

      • Futureboy

        BiGMERF’s was from Negri Electronics, so it appears that Negri is shipping Yakju.
        Anyone else care to list where they bought and what version they received?

        • endone

          Please, anyone that ordered from negri contribute to this lol

          I just ordered from there… arrives tomorrow (thanks google for not selling the unlocked gsm)

          • BiGMERF

            everyone i knkow who ordered from negri that i know (over 50) received yakju

          • B2L

            I received Yakju from Negri as well. :)

          • mattlehrer

            +1 on yakju from Negri.

      • CJ LaFleur

        how can you know when you buy it? where did you buy it from?

  • zyphbear

    This is a little surprising to hear actually. But at least for us in the US, the Verizon one will be fine.

    Let’s hope the US GSM models won’t have the same issue!

  • TJungus

    This negates the name Nexus to me. If it is not 100% software controlled by Google, and Google alone, then it is a Samsung Galaxy Phone, not a Nexus.

    • c1liu

      I agree. this is a major selling point for people who buy this phone.

    • AppleFUD

      I agree. I’ve been recommending people hold off till they can get the GN because of updates–these are not people that can or will flash a ROM. I’ve even recommended buying from the UK to get it faster–since some want an unlocked device.

      Now I hear this. . . YHGTBFKM!!!

      I’m really starting to get the feeling that Google doesn’t want me to recommend Android to friends and family.

    • Futureboy

      I call shenanigans!!!

    • stenzor

      The Nexus name has been tainted :(

    • aranea

      I seriously was thinking about giving my Atrix to my father and buying an unlocked GSM Nexus. Now I don’t think I will.

    • NathanN

      I agree with you entirely but as long as it can be worked out since I’m regular at xda. That being said, it’s completely unfair to the people that bought the phone on the premise that google would update it for them and don’t want to be bothered with fast booting images and what not.

  • eliander mendoza

    Well they keep f**ing it up. They are messing with android too much. Papa android needs to set some rules so this kind of stuff stop happening and we all get update like IOS updates all their products, or at least must of them. It’ll be great to see this in android. :)

    • david

      ok, now google is officially evil. a nexus is a nexus is a nexus. Now the only thing we knew to rely on when buying was that we could just buy a nexus and be fine, assured that we got the real deal.

      now what? people will start buying a nexus only to find out its not a nexus…

      So now let me keep my nexus s, true nexus and skip this bullcrap completely.

      Seriously!!!!!!!! I’m that pissed off!!!!!

      Samsung shareholders rejoice, you’re freeriding the nexus people.

  • markL

    wow, thats horseshit. between verizon (presumably) delaying the galaxy nexus ship date and some gsm versions not being updated by google, i hope we convey to google how unacceptable that is. i think the $650 pricetag is outrageous. i was really looking forward to the phone but that price just seems greedy to me. ill be waiting til its under 500 before i throw away my nexus one.

    • dafi81

      I will force myselft to wait until its under 400. everthing else is just, dare I say it, overpriced!

    • jamboy5590

      Yea google has really sh*t the bed on this launch. First they hype up the phone so much make everyone want to buy it. Then when they finally launch it’s only for verizon in the US wtf google. Then the buggie gsm version is fricking $700 and now u cant even update the bloody thing? Damn right my hands are up in the air wtf google this is not how to sell a nexus.

  • mrmrchris

    I’m worried about this. I noticed last week that when I visit the market website, my device is listed as “Vodafone Galaxy Nexus.” Would this suggest some carrier branding? I really dont want to have to wait for Vodafone to push updates…

    • keridel

      no thats just how it is written on the market. mine says orange galaxy nexus but it is 100% Gsm unlocked free of all crap and running Yakju system.

      • mrmrchris

        Thank you! A +1 for you!

  • Steve Heinrich

    This whole thing knots my stomach to think about. The Nexus line of devices is supposed to provide a sense of order for Android purists. It’s a way to quiet the noise of the ever expanding Android universe. I truly hope all of this is analyzed by Google for the next Nexus device. Remember Google: don’t be evil.

  • breinhar

    Being a google phone was one of the main things that was drawing me away from my iPhone. I like that there is no fragmentation and waiting with my iPhone and I figured the same with the nexus. It looks to be otherwise now.

  • Chris Clark

    Once again the users of XDA start crying about something without actually thinking about it.

    There were several different builds for the Nexus One. Really! Just like this situation. Google released specific upgrades paths for each one.

    And no, not just the two different ones for T-Mobile and AT&T bands. There were several builds just for the AT&T band version.

    When an OTA went out you couldn’t just flash one of them on every build, you needed the correct OTA upgrade file.

    This is just more FUD from panicky users that assume everyone is out to screw with them.

    • Héctor

      Read the statement from JQB and rethink again.

  • CheekyBroad

    It’s baffling that the Android community needs to be responsible for taking matters into their own hands and fixing the issue when this should have been addressed with the initial production plan by the company. If there is an absolute need for region specific software configurations it still should be addressed and fixed with each version and not left for users to fix. It leaves the impression of an unpolished product.

  • kest009

    Is there an easy way to check what build you have?

    • steve

      I used Astro (but any file explorer app will work) and search for “build.prop” then VIEW the file and scroll down to see the relevant info.

  • Lewis McGeary

    That’s annoying, I don’t have one myself but the Nexus branding implies a directness from google. Not good for those who purchased without being told the situation.

  • newmexican

    I was frustrated to only the the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon and not on T-Mobile. But it becomes clear to me. This is not a device worth the name Nexus. I hope Google will come up with a true Nexus again in the future, when they see this one being a mess :-(

  • Jimmy13

    I don’t have a nexus and I can’t see affording one anytime soon. That being said this is still pretty disappointing… This is half the reason you buy a nexus… I guess they can always head to the CM9.

  • Xallies

    Google Keeps fucking up what makes a Nexus a Nexus. At this rate i will lose all respect i had for the device.

  • triangle

    Fragmentation? Not this again and not with the Nexus.

  • Jeb

    Hmmm, this seems pretty fishy – but really how much would sammy need to do to these builds to get them ready for release when google is finished?

    IDK, waiting to hear more from more people on this one.

  • ben dover

    ugh, this phone is releasing way to close to the trade shows where all the awesome new tech gets showed off! One thing the GNex has that most new phones most likely won’t though is the tri color notification LED. That is a big plus on my list!

    Hopefully this whole thing gets sorted out! I’ll most likely end up running CM9 anyway but I still don’t like seeing a Nexus not get updates directly from Google!

    • DroidSamurai

      >> this phone is releasing way to close to the trade shows

      Think back. It’s always like that for all Nexus phones.

      • impulse101

        Its not a tri color led, it has about 16 different colors on the led light. Download lightflow to set up custom led notifications

  • dharr18

    Just need to pay attention to what you are doing and know your device before blindly installing an upgrade or ROM, If there are multiple versions of your device, you need to install the correct version. Much like anyone who runs CM7, you aren’t going to load up a release for the Dinc on your Nook.

  • Héctor

    Really tired of this. And it keeps getting “better”.

  • drosseau

    I thought the whole purpose of the Nexus line of phones was so that Google could control it and show off the experience as they envision it. It is frustrating for me that we have to wait so long to get updates to our phones on normal devices. I thought that by making my next phone a Nexus that it would be pure Google, just like I want it!

  • SP

    I am not able to upgrade my Google Nexus phone from 2.3.1 to 2.3.4. I got 2.3.4 Gingerbread upgrade on my mobile but not updating. I want to upgrade my mobile manually. Can any one help me out on this matter.


  • MrMrMan

    Google needs a new slogan… Don’t be stupid.

  • phohammer

    Very disappointed in Google.

    If I had Galaxy Nexus, I would totally get the build.prop that would get me Google updates. But that’s okay, since I won’t buy a nexus phone. The nexi, starting especially with the S, have such mediocre hardware, it’s not even worth the “early” taste of a new Android update (devs are getting ICS to devices before the Nexus even realeases this time). Look at the cameras on the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus S. They’re about 6 months behind competitors (even the hardware of the Inspire’s camera is better than than the Galaxy Nexus).

    It’s like an awesomely efficient car is released, but it looks like the back side of an ox. It’s nice to get good gas mileage, but the car is just ugly.

  • djfrantz

    You know, this sh*t has got to stop. It almost makes me want to just say f it and go to an iPhone. As much as I may dislike Apple’s practices at least there is really only one company to deal with at the end of the day. There are FAR too many players with their hands in the mix, and all it is doing is just making a mess of the entire environment. I’m a T-Mobile customer who is waiting out the ATTTMo mess, wondering if I should just jump ship to Verizon now. I’m a year out of contract with my rooted Cyanogen Nexus One and the Galaxy Nexus will probably be my next phone. Probably. I see that the Verizon version is not affected by this but still. I started with the G1 not too long after it was released and I want to have hope for Android, but if this is what we have to look forward to, well…

    • MauiLove

      The GN is to be my first android phone due to updates being directly from google…that is THE key selling point and no OEM UI. I agree that the GS2 has better specs but just read yesterday that Bell Canada has an eta of April for the GS2 to be updated to ICS…way to long in my opinion. So i am willing to forgo better specs including a better camera to get updates directly from google and have a true google phone. However, when Rogers makes the GN available next month and IF it is region specific… which i don’t see why it should be…then i and this pains me GREATLY to say will just hold out and wait for the new iphone5/6 to arrive next summer. :-(

  • Dirge

    Dang, I’m glad the Verizon version is directly supported by Google. Sucks the GSM version is having such issues. :(

  • iamXiV92a

    Just bring it to AT&T, and fast too!

  • Wilson Lara

    This is ridiculous, why the hell does samsung need so many different configurations… why the hell are they in charge of releasing updates for any Nexus? Nexus Updates should always be done by Google. Life just doesn’t make sense anymore.

  • uknowme

    Hopefully next year it will be different. I am patiently waiting for HTC to make another Nexus.

  • Ilyse Rose

    Wow. I don’t even know what to think of this, I thought the whole point of a Nexus was a direct-update from Google device. Someone dropped the ball.

    I wish HTC would make the next Nexus. I keep saying that but I really love their hardware.

    • dan

      I would rather have a samsung phone with a samsung screen

  • keridel

    I think you guys are reading way too much into this. i’ve spoken to a lot of GSM users over the last few weeks and none of us have anything but the google driven device.

    there may be some that arent but it’s a minority.

    and you all know that verizon are going to slow updates down to a crawl. because thats what they do..

    • David

      does not matter if its one person even. the Pandora’s box has been opened, and only “evil” can come out of it!

      google has turned to the dark side. let’s enjoy while we can.

  • Andrew Castro

    Clap clap Samsung, what kind of dirt do you have on Andy Rubin to get him to make you the Nexus maker 2 years in a row?

  • Nicholas Vettese

    I am excited about the Nexus phone, and happy that it has received the accolades from the community and the press. Best of all, it was nice to see all the people in lines, waiting to get one. I wonder if the Apple crowd will smugly state that they started the line waiting. :)

    • keridel

      apple will probably have patented queueing for a touch device.

  • Louis A

    This kinda sucks, but I don’t care cuz I have the verizon version lol

  • deckoff

    This is a mistake.
    If one gets google, he or she wants google phone. If one wants samsung, he or she buys samsung. IF one gets Google Samsung Galaxy Nexus he or she enters a lottery??? This is clearly a very STRANGE decision…
    Who actually stands behind this phone with his name – google or samsung?

  • SP

    Hello Everyone,

    Can any one help me to upgrade my Google Nexus one phone from Android version 2.3.1 to 2.3.4. I tried doing by air but didn’t worked out. I want to do it manually.

    Any help would be appreciated.


  • honourbound68

    I blame Sammy lol

  • goncalossilva

    Where is the Nexus I used to know? :(

  • slimx30

    wow. this sucks. samsung and timely updates don’t mix. The main reason people get a nexus is to get timely updates directly from google. Why is sammy being aloud to be in charge of some of the updates? why make it harder on yourself and release different versions? wouldn’t it just be easier to get updates out to one version of software on all galaxy nexus devices instead of having to make different versions because build.props is different on certain ones and having to release updates at different times?

  • jamal

    Stop killing the Nexus line. Please and Thank You.

  • inviolable

    This phone has been a soap opera from the start

  • Yuriy

    Mines Yakju as well, ordered and received from Handtec.

  • dantman

    maguro? maguro!

    The GSM Galaxy Nexus devices are Tuna?

    Well now, THAT explains everything.

  • Memo

    The galaxy nexus is going to be old news pretty soon anyway since google decided to release a dual core instead of a quad-core and now this. Im waiting for asus to release their quad-core which will probably be around the same time the GSM version of the nexus hit at&t.

  • jimnguyen

    I’m sticking with my Nexus S.

    • keridel

      i wouldnt..

    • Lewis McGeary

      Me too, but only because I’m half way through my contract, gimme some ICS!

  • Gold D Roger

    how do i check if the software configuration on my galaxy nexus is yakju?

    • keridel

      download “android system info” by electricsheep on the market. it tells you there.

      • donger

        thanks that helps. mines is yakju.

  • Hall Lo

    So Googles not updating the versions where Sammy has customize the rom… make sense but why Sammy would do that to a Google brand phone?

  • Nathan D.

    Well hopefully this will not be a big issue in the future

  • Usman Ansari

    First off, why are some of you whining about Google!? This is SAMSUNG’S fault! They shipped with the wrong device fingerprint. But who the heck cares? Flashing Google’s build takes may be as simple as editing the build.prop as well.. BFD people!

    • impulse101

      I know! So many whiny misinformed morons posting here, it makes me laugh

  • securifirm

    Hopefully this will get fixed as we all know samsung takes forever to release updates.

  • beatrixasdfghjk.

    Mmhm, I’d love to see another Nexus from HTC.
    This is just my opinion, but it’s so beautiful T___TT.
    And none of this Samsung updating nonsense ==

  • GrendelJapan

    Waiting to see a vanilla device from the new Motorola. Hoping that becomes the standard.

  • Anthony44

    Hey just wondering did anyone get the new total that Verizon users got today (GSM) users and I ordered mines from negri just waiting haven’t got a clue when its coming but they did debit my account ha

  • mclarensr

    So when is the GSM version coming to US, officially. Never mind, I answered my own question.

  • Mike C

    This is the whole Xoom story again. All the non-Verizon customers of the Motorola Xoom were serviced by Motorola and Motorola is consistently late with updates. It took them from July 15th to beginning of December to release Android 3.2 to the rest of us.

    Let’s hope that Gooogle and Samsung deals with this swiftly. When you buy a Nexus you expect to get the Google experience (like we though we were getting when we bought the Xoom).

  • Knome

    Got mine from negri electronics today, I can confirm mine has the yakju product code

  • ccn_cristi

    WTF…they ruin the Nexus brand! No direct update from Google and bloatware ?:S

  • humidity

    That’s a bummer…

  • Neal2Me

    An Android phone that is fragmented. Who would have ever thought such a thing occurred? I wonder why iPhone users tend to get updates at the same time. Oh yeah, they are not as fragmented as Android. Wasn’t ICS supposed to curb this issue? I mean, wasn’t that one of the main features? I like Android, but it needs to pull its self together and stop being so fragmented. No wonder developers work on iOS apps first. Oh well, c’est la vie.