Nov 13 AT 5:07 PM Nick Gray 39 Comments

Google drops Nexus S and Motorola XOOM from AOSP, Android 4.2 not on roadmap

Nexus S boot

Today’s launch of the Nexus 4 and Android 4.2 comes with a bit of sad news. Android Open Source Project technical lead Jean-Baptiste Queru announced today that the Nexus S and Motorola XOOM will not be updated to Android 4.2. Both devices will finish out their days on Android 4.1.2, just like the Nexus One was labeled as “too-old” to be upgraded to Android 4.0 last year.

Google isn’t revealing the reason behind this decision, but we have a feeling that hardware limitations and the age of the devices have a lot to do with it. Android 4.1 runs quite well on both devices, but many users have complained that the latest update has significantly slowed down their devices.  The Motorola XOOM was never a huge success, and most people who purchased the Nexus S at launch have likely upgraded to a newer phone by now.

However, not all hope is lost. A year after the Nexus One was abandoned, the development community is still working hard to make sure that the device is running on the latest version of Android. We have no doubt that the same will be true for the Nexus S and Motorola XOOM.

Source: Google Groups

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • PhaseBurn

    Most people who have these devices aren’t likely running stock on them anyway if they’re still around. See htp:// for more info, and rest assured they will be supported by CM for a while (at least, they should be – I can only speak for myself, of course)

    • h37s3m

      i have the nexus s and run stock android on it. anyone who DEMANDS to have 4.2 on the nexus s needs to shut up. 4.1 BARELY runs on the nexus and it is certainly not running at an acceptable performance

      • hector

        It may be your nexus s. Mine works like a charm and a lot better than ICS.

        • fatlad

          My Nexus S did run better on 4.1 at first but for some reason has slowed down more and more recently, needless to say I’m going to be jumping ship to the Nexus 4 next month.

          • tajio

            Hmmm, the Nexus S’s sibling – the Galaxy S i9000 works beautifully with 4.1.2 so I’m surprised with proper sources that it doesn’t run well on the Nexus S.

        • Carlos

          My Nexus S was quite slow on ICS and then JB. 4.1.2 didn’t seem to have helped at all. I finally replaced it this weekend with a One S (didn’t like the size of newer Nexuses).

          I’m glad to hear others were working better, but many definitely weren’t.

  • Nate B.

    These people need to honestly upgrade. I have a Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. 4.1.2 even rooted does not run so well on the Nexus S. Galaxy Nexus is fine of course, but anything older shouldn’t be supported anymore anyways. Like the first post said, those people are most likely running ROMS. So they can look forward to 4.2 on their unsupported devices. But even Dev support is only for so long. Eventually you have to move on.

  • Dr Samsung – CEO of betrayal and customer genocide

    another google betrayal….google to become the next scamsuck?

    • Jimmy_Jo

      LOL…. Oh no! Google won’t put their latest firmware on a 2 year old phone that has a 1GHz single core CPU with 512MB of RAM. Please! The only people I feel bad about are folks in Canada. Those poor guys are locked into 3 year contracts. 2 years suck enough but at least the new phones can probably last 2 years without feeling completely useless. And that works for me until I go pre-paid and get whatever phone I want

  • Ardrid

    Not surprised by this. You’re dealing with hardware that’s more than 2 years old at this point. There are a decent number of advancements made to Android that simply require faster hardware.

    • hector

      Tell me one that is not an app that can be stripped (like the photospheres).

      • Ardrid

        Changes to the CPU governor, hardware acceleration, multiple threads, and voice/speech recognition/dictation for starters. All of those advances in software require comparable advances in hardware to be pulled off smoothly. A 1GHz single core CPU with limited bandwidth throughput, cache, and local memory (read: RAM) is going to start to choke on those workloads.

        • hector

          All of that was introduced in ICS (except for multithreading, which was a feature of Android 1.0).

          • Ardrid

            Incorrect. The majority of those advancements were made in JB via Project Butter. The changes to the CPU governor in particular are part of the reason why JB is perceptibly smoother than ICS. Vsync is another major reason, one which requires hardware that is capable of sustaining 60Hz consistently. Voice/speech dictation was also pulled in locally in JB to be done offline, which, again, requires qualitatively better hardware to accomplish successfully since you’re no longer relying on Google’s servers to get the job done.

          • hector

            OMG. Just look at what you’re saying. I am running JB, nexus s can handle all of that!

        • Ken Marshall

          Yeah shut up dude the Nexus S ALREADY GOT OFFICIAL JELLBEAN. ITS RUNNING 4.1.2. ITS GOT PROJECT BUTTER, TRIPLE BUFFERING ETC SO THE QUESTION IS WHAT DID THEY ADD between 4.1.2 > 4.2, that is so resource heavy.
          Bearing in mind they havent announced any headline changes to performance with 4.2, except it makes the Nexus 4 perform worse than Optimus G (with same hardware)

    • Ardrid

      Not sure why I got rated down for speaking the truth. You honestly can’t expect Google to support Nexus devices indefinitely. Software advances don’t exist in a vacuum; they require hardware advances as well. As others have attested to, the Nexus S was already starting to feel slow on 4.0/4.1. That’s not likely to change anytime soon.

    • NotRelevent

      Actuallllyyy the XOOM is not 2yrs old. It just slightly over a year old.

  • Rick

    thats what i was thinking. i have a XOOM and is great im running 4.1 no root or anything, straight from Google. but i really like the new Nexus 10….if i can only sell my Xoom and make some type of money…

    i got the Nexus 4 today after dealing with the website from half a hour. my order never went thru and then i received an email with a confirmation number

  • Ben Netty

    My poor Nexus S has had so many ROMS, it doesn’t know it’s own identity!

    That being said, it’s been a champ for me. With the latest ROMS I’ve found it occasionally needs a clean reboot every now and then, but then it’s back to running well. I actually have it back to stock 4.1.2 and that also is running well.

    But… I did get through today and ordered the Nexus 4! You can make it through 2 years w/ a nexus device, it just requires a little more hand holding as you get closer to that 2 year mark.

  • hector

    The only reason is laziness, and maybe to make more money. Internal JB changes are minimal (and even some are optimizations), and resource hungry apps can be stripped off (like photospheres). The worst part, if there are any camera or gpu driver changes, we’ll never be able to reverse engineer them.

    Dead end. Expect Cyanogen to drop support for Nexus S in next version of his mod. This makes me angry.

  • Ian Medina

    Nexus S users deserves to upgrade. Level up guys!!!

  • John

    The same news will occur 18 months later from now for nexus 4. It’s a real thing! Thank you google!

    The nexus s left with problems in 4.1.2, the SIM toolkit is missing, the 9023 European version has a bug with CRT closing animation. Now you know that no one is going to fix them official. Also you know for sure you will be supported for 18 months only.

    Definitely I will not going to buy a nexus phone again. Prefer to go for another android device and flash it with custom roms.

    Just for the info, the CM 10 will support the nexus s on 4.2 and later. Just not google. Google sucks officially.

    • 3566

      I watched 007 Skyfal…….l and boy what a snorefest…..zzzz

    • NotRelevent

      Where are you getting 18 months from? The Nexus S is nearly 2yrs old. That’s 24 months for those who can’t count.

    • Ilici

      So after Nexus S having very big problems… You can not use it as a phone… they are dropping it without any fix…

      Please see: Nexus S rebooting during calls on Jelly Bean 4.1.1 ( and 4.1.2 )!msg/mobile/FaiptkgrbsM/wlbCnNpEhqcJ

      I will never buy a Nexus device again. Thank you Google

  • Jcopernicus

    That’s NOT what the message from JBQ means. He was just talking about the current availability, not whether or not it will ever be supported.


  • mike

    4.2 is such a small update from 4.1

    So stupid they wont release for nexus s…oh well devs will incorporate into roms

  • Harpo

    Oh well, it was a good run. I bought my Nexus S a year ago for 99 cents on Amazon Wireless and in that time it has been upgraded from Gingerbread to ICS to Jellybean while other newer phones haven’t been upgraded at all. Pretty hard to find fault with that. I still have the option to root or go for an early upgrade in May.

  • Nathan D.

    Considering android, these devices are old

  • Paul Atreides

    Next year it will be the Galaxy Nexus. After key-lime pie say goodbye to major updates from Google.

  • Jeremy Johns

    I can understand not supporting a two plus year old phone. However, tablets should be supported! First of all the android tablet market is very small when you match it up to ipad unless you count the Kindle Fire as an android tablet. The general public does not upgrade to a new tablet every two years like with a phone and if you want people to buy android tablets over the ipad then you cant say screw you after less than two years. CANT HAPPEN!

  • Thorpeland

    The only reason Google is no longer upgrading the Xoom to this next small incremental update is they have finally introduced their own 10 inch tablet. Why give people the same OS features? I have a Xoom. It runs great on 4.1.2 and im sure it would run just fine on 4.2. With this news it won’t get 4.2 immediately had me feeling like maybe it’s time to upgrade to the Nexus 10. Just as Google wants me to do. Updating the Xoom would then directly compete with their latest product.

    • Dylan

      with that logic, google shouldn’t update the galaxy nexus.

    • Kilgore Trout

      I couldn’t agree more!!!
      (I love my XOOM)

  • neenee

    i wish the nexus s had the 4.2 update the 4.1.1 isnt all that

  • melan26

    This looked really good, too bad.