Christopher Price is the Founding Editor of PhoneNews.com. Today, he leads the team building iConsole.tv - a new kind of Android™ device. He still likes to pontificate... a lot. You can visit his personal blog at ChristopherPrice.net.

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31 responses to “In-Depth: User Frustration Rises as Verizon Galaxy Nexus Falls Further Behind”

  1. Spektor

    That’s outrageous — I thought the whole point of buying a Nexus phone was that it was a true Google phone and Google would update it to the most recent OS as time went by, like an iPhone (or, gulp, theoretically a Windows Phone). I’d be screaming at Verizon at this point if I owned one. Sounds like deceptive advertising to me.

  2. Christopher Price

    We suspect Apple’s agreements with each carrier allow for Apple to certify part, if not all, of the firmware themselves in many cases.

    For example, when iOS 6.1 had bugs on iPhone 4S 3G access, some foreign carriers prompted users (via SMS) to not update, rather than pulling the update themselves.

    This implies that Apple has special agreements with carriers that, to date, we aren’t aware of any other company having regarding firmware. In the carrier’s lust for iPhone, they may have given up authority to reject a firmware update.

    Note that we have no idea if this applies to Verizon or not, we have not seen Verizon’s contracts with Apple or Google/Samsung in regards to carrier/device approval specifics.

  3. [Verizon Galaxy Nexus] Getting fisted by Codect - TribalWar Forums

    [...] In-Depth: User Frustration Rises as Verizon Galaxy Nexus Falls Further Behind | PhoneNews.com Quote: [...]

  4. tneidin

    What I can’t understand is why there is no class action lawsuit started. All of us bought into the idea, and were told by Verizon, that a nexus phone was always up to date. Any lawyers out there??

  5. Mike

    I’ve been with Verizon since three providers ago prior to Verizon taking over. I’m very disappointed with this process taken by Verizon regarding the Galaxy Nexus cell phone. I hope to see the upgrades soon. If not my family and I will be going to another provider.
    Respectfully,
    Mike

  6. Charles

    Christopher…to your point above, “…not a crime to update Nexus 4 and not update T-Mobile Nexus 4…” My question is: then how does one get an update? If you’re going to use a Nexus 4 in the USA, you’re pretty much going to have use it with T-mobile or AT&T. So, I am confused about how an in-service Nexus 4 gets updates from Google? OTA via wifi? (btw, I have a GNex Vrz that I flashed to Cyanogen Mod 10.1 and am running JB 4.2.2. The phone works perfectly and fast as can be. Just wish I hadn’t waited so long to root and flash!)

  7. Charles

    Christopher…excuse my lack of knowledge….I guess I thought what made a Nexus 4 either a T Mobile or AT&T phone was the removable SIM card. Based on your reply, this is not the case, so does that mean that a Nexus 4 purchased from T Mobile has something internally that prevents it from receiving OTA updates from Google? What if I deactivate the Nexus 4 and remove the T Mobile or AT&T Sim card….does that then allow for updates directly from Google via wifi? Trying to understand how all this works!
    Thanks!

  8. Skip

    After nine years with Verizon, I’ve been so displeased by this Galaxy Nexus foot-dragging that I’ll be buying my next phone from Google and getting service from whichever carrier has the most compelling offering.

    Frankly, I wish Google or Motorola would just setup an MVNO and sell me a phone and the service for it. I can’t believe I’m the only person out there who bought a Nexus device that just happened to be made by Samsung, versus buying a Samsung device that just happened to have Android. The same analysis also goes to the carrier side of things in my case. My top buying priority is a pure-play Android device, and I’ll no longer care particularly who manufactures it or who I’m paying for service.

  9. mason makita

    really stinks for Vzon customers who purchased LTE GNexus-es. at this point (02/2013), it’s a looong shot that Vzon would allow any more updates to its GNex iteration.

    if you’re the traditional Vzon (or any other major carrier) customer, it’s the same storyline: the carrier has the final say. they either lag OR halt any future update. the carrier/manufacturer has zero incentive to update a purchased phone (sucks).

    if you truly want the unadulterated Google Android experience, buy DIRECT from Google and purchase future Nexus-es from them.

    options:
    either switch to GSM (& forgo LTE) — Vzon customers are already used to paying sky-high monthly premiums, AT&T should be comparable. and buy a Nexus from GOOG

    or:
    root your LTE GNex

  10. Jeff

    If Google were to release the Nexus 4 with an LTE radio can Verizon legally refuse to activate the device? Why is a GSM phone the only type of unlocked phone they can sell us?

  11. Christopher Price

    @Jeff

    According to Verizon, they will certify any LTE device that meets their hardware requirements. Those devices would not be subject to Verizon firmware testing and approval. Presumably even the NFC chip would be totally free from Verizon audits.

    So yes, Google could go that route.

    The problem is cost. To enable LTE would mean paying a lot more for hardware in the Nexus 4. It would send the cost of a Nexus 4 LTE soaring. You’d be talking $599 for a phone that on every other carrier is $299. By keeping the Nexus 4 unlocked-and-inexpensive, Google is telling the LTE carriers to play ball with their needs (firmware, NFC, etc), or watch angry customers walk away from the table…

    … And nobody said a Nexus 4 LTE won’t happen. After all, it does ship with a firmware-disabled LTE chipset today.

  12. Steven Machado

    I know I bought into the Nexus as it was pure android (this one was a bit lacking) and according to Verizon when I did my upgrade the updates were from Google. The story I was given was the LTE drivers where proprietary and not released to google so they couldnt do the updates having it fall back on big red. Of course all this was revealed AFTER the push of the device. Mine is the 32G version and they later snuffed it for the 16G version. But ATM my home phone, wife’s cell an mine are all through big red on a business account. I wont give them the satisfaction of breaking the contract but when mine is up next Feb Im taking all my business lock stock and barrel to AT&T and getting myself an iPhone or the like. Tired of being the man left in the cold here while big wigs sit behind their desk and get paid for service that is only 1/2 of what they implied it to be.

  13. Tom James

    All consumers can do is vote with their wallets. That’s what I’ve done. I own a Verizon GN. The whole reason I bought the phone is because I didn’t want bloatware or any additional UI and I wanted the latest and greatest version of Android as soon as it was available. Now that I’m 4 updates behind I’ve had my last straw. I have a Nexus 4 on order right now. I’ve notified Verizon that due to their policies I’ll be dropping them as my wireless provider. Hopefully if enough consumers get rid of Verizon (and let them know exactly why) they (and all the other carriers that needlessly hold up updates) will get the message and start operating in a more customer friendly (and, in my opinion, responsible) manner.

  14. Jeff

    @ Tom James

    Who did you notify at Verizon; the local clerk or someone higher up that can make some waves? I’m planning to do the same thing with our company if our AT&T coverage tests pan out. I want to make sure the people making policies like this with the Galaxy Nexus knows exactly why we are jumping ship after more than a decade of subscribing.

  15. Steven Machado

    Yea.. Drop a name so all the remarks go the same way.

  16. Tom James

    @Jeff

    I spoke with the local store manager (who knows if he will do anything though) and I wrote Verizon via the contact us/get in touch/send an email link on their webpage. I am assuming that the email that I wrote is logged and retained. I did mention exactly what my problem was and I did receive a reply. The guy that wrote back said his boss has the GN and that he’s trying to figure out what’s going on with the updates too.

    We’re pretty limited in what we can do as individuals but if enough people complain about this (and actually make Verizon feel it financially) more important people in the company will eventually hear about it.

    If you’re speaking for a business I would think your rep is probably a good person to notify (I would do it in writing too).

  17. Tom S

    @Tom

    Spit in one hand, talk to a manager while looking at another. Which hand has more in it?

    Welcome to the wireless industry. Being proud of telling a store manager something means you’re proud of accomplishing absolutely nothing.

  18. Tom James

    @Tom S

    I never said I was proud. I merely said that’s who I spoke with. At the end of the day I really notified Verizon the most effective way I possibly can; I am not giving them my money any longer.

    You look pretty stupid criticizing me for not accomplishing anything and in the same breath accomplishing exactly nothing yourself… But hey, you probably feel like an important guy, good for you.

  19. Keith A

    This VZW update is killing me, so I got a T-Mobile Nexus 4. Side by side, I can’t see any differences in the service so why am I paying Verizon all that money? My Verizon Nexus dies in hours where my T-Mobile phone can last all day. My Verizon Nexus gets hot…VERY HOT which means I can only use a headset. It also always seems to require a battery pull. My last Samsung Android device was a Charge…..same issues until their software fixes came out to fix all the bugs in it.

    I say, start a petition on change.org to get them some bad press and hopefully get Verizon to listen to what it’s Nexus customers want.

  20. Con Phillips

    Great, well balanced article…yet utterly depressing. Question, are we not getting security updates as a result of the lack of updates or are we just missing out on feature updates and bug fixes? If so, the irony abounds. It sounds like Verizon doesn’t want to use Google Wallet because of security concerns, but at the same time its perfectly ok for us to continue to use phones that don’t have the most recent security updates. Can you imagine the fallout if the the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Adobe, etc…were to not deploy timely security updates? I guess it doesn’t apply to Verizon. Then again, maybe these updates are strictly feature and bug updates. I honestly don’t know.

  21. Christopher Price

    One of the concerns about Android long term is what happens when a show-stopping exploit is found in an older version of Android… all devices running that/those point-release(s) of Android do become instantly compromised.

    And, they’ll remain compromised unless/until the handset maker and carrier both develop, test, and approve Android updates, then release them to customers.

    This is why Android Gingerbread got so many point releases by and large, Google is/was still actively issuing security support for it. All older releases (Froyo on down) are basically unsupported. Google appears to be following Apple’s model of only patching those versions if there is a release that truly poses a real and present danger to users.

    The good news for Android is that hackers have avoided widespread exploits with older releases, and the older releases themselves have not yet yielded the sort of exploit that could wreak extreme havoc. When that has occurred, it usually has been with a current-gen Android releases, making it easier on handset makers and carriers to slipstream the security patches into pending updates.

    One of the reasons I have encouraged Google to modularize the Android core, and make drivers and other system enablers a drop-in solution… is that it would make Android far more attractive for corporate use. Corporations would be able to go into devices and patrol security themselves. This is one key reason why Microsoft can still sell copies of Windows; Apple and Google do not give modular security patch control on the desktop. Mobile enterprise will increasingly want this kind of control over their device fleets.

    To the original question of the Galaxy Nexus? Who knows. It’s possible Verizon is testing Android 4.2 for their Galaxy Nexus, and just isn’t giving anybody status on it. It’s possible that they’ll issue Android 4.1 security bugfixes only. It’s possible they won’t update it ever again. We have no idea, but we’re more than happy to share Verizon’s side of the story… when they are.

  22. John Russell

    Charles, how does one go about rooting and flashing their phone to Cyanogen Mod 10.1? Never tried rooting a phone before, but all this crap going on with Verizon is seriously making me consider such a thing. Would appreciate the help!

  23. Charles

    John….first thing to do is go to the xda developers site below and download Galaxy Nexus Toolkit……if you want to post your email address so I can contact you off list, feel free to do that.

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1400871

  24. carlos

    I dont get it. What I am think is that Verizon is afraid of being sued if the wallet was hacked…. so why doesn’t Verizon add a stipulation to there contracts?

  25. Tom S

    Carlos,

    The issue is likely not getting “hacked” as much as Verizon is invested in rival payment system Isis.

    Verizon may be using security-as-a-bullying-service (SaaBS) and demanding that Google drop or fundamentally rewrite its payment system, all the while declaring Isis as the only secure NFC payment system.

    We don’t know for sure, Google isn’t talking, which makes it hard to pin the blame totally on Verizon, but that’s how the situation reads from the outside looking in.

  26. Steve

    I wish Google would take complete control over Motorola mobility. Verizon relies so heavily on Moto phones that Google would certainly have the upper hand. They could basically do to Verizon what Apple did with the iPhone.

  27. Christopher Price

    Wanted to clarify something, got a few emails. As usual, it’s about a CNET report that (as usual) didn’t quite add up.

    CNET stated last month indicated that there was no merit to Google Wallet being the sticking point between Google and Verizon. However, they refuse to cite any sources, let alone indicate if such statements were from Google, Verizon, or both companies on background.

    Needless to say, we’re not convinced… especially since both Google and Verizon have shown a clear pattern of refusal in regards to discussing the matter with us. If the CNET report was valid in this regard, I would say it is well within both company’s interest to do one simple thing; return our phone calls.

  28. 1776USA2013

    The FCC really needs to become involved with Verizon preventing Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus.

    Google needs to use the secure element in order for NFC “tap-to-pay” to work.

    Verizon is just using its monopolistic muscle to stall for time until ISIS has their own NFC “tap-to-pay” system finally developed.

    .

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