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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom Lose Google Support: Doomsday for Verizon CDMA Phones?

Google will no longer support the Verizon CDMA/LTE version of Samsung's flagship phone - the Galaxy Nexus. The news came from the official Android developer Web site as the company has removed nearly all reference to CDMA phones and tablets from its official documents and Google's developer site, the Android Open Source Project, and replaced it with a note saying, "No CDMA devices are supported." Verizon's CDMA-enabled phones such as Motorola XOOM and Nexus S 4G too have been removed from Google support.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which was released with Google's latest Android 4.0 Ice-Cream Sandwich operating system, appeared on the Web site only a week back but now the Verizon phone appears under "archived, for reference only."
According to the latest arrangement, the Verizon version of the Galaxy Nexus will stop receiving all updates from Google and will receive updates that come through only Verizon, just like any other Android smartphones. The news perturbed the Nexus Owners who believe this decision by Google of removing support from CDMA version of Nexus kills the "pure Google experience."    

Google, however, clarified its position on the Android Contributors Google Groups page. Android Open Source & Compatibility Tech Lead  Dan Morrill posted an official statement on the CDMA devices:
"This is a quick clarification about support for CDMA devices.
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 files 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 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.
We are of course always working to improve support, and we'll keep everyone updated as we make improvements. Thanks as always for your interest in AOSP!"

Google's latest move can be viewed as a response to Verizon's continual reluctance to support the Google Wallet feature. But the news of removal of CDMA devices came just a day after AT&T and Verizon announced to unblock installation of Google Wallet on the Android Market.
The Galaxy Nexus LTE, Nexus S 4G and XOOM CDMA, however, are still valid as Verizon devices and users can still download the Android code, compile it and run it on the phone.

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