Verizon and Sprint kill the Google Nexus experience, stick with GSM model

Verizon and Sprint kill the Google Nexus experience, stick with GSM model

Summary: The Nexus phones were released with the intent for developers to have a smartphone with the latest and greatest Android operating system, but time and again both Sprint and Verizon have shown they can kill that experience and really should not be allowed to sell a Nexus phone again.


I suspended my Verizon account for 90 days while I focused on funding my new AT&T account with the Nokia Lumia 900 and tried to figure out what I would do with my Verizon account (buy a new iPhone, Windows Phone 8, Jelly Bean, or BlackBerry 10 device). The 90 days is up so I just reactivated my service yesterday, I still have grandfathered unlimited data, and was blown away that there is still NO Android Jelly Bean update for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. I now am much more sympathetic to Jason Perlow's frustration with Android and as CNET's Maggie Reardon stated on Friday there is still now word on when, and even if, Verizon or Sprint will release Jelly Bean for the Nexus.

Google revealed Jelly Bean in June and then back in early July the update started rolling out to GSM/HSPA+ devices. Thus, AT&T and T-Mobile customers are able to experience Jelly Bean on their Galaxy Nexus, just as intended for the Nexus line. The upcoming T-Mobile unlimited data plan combined with a GSM Galaxy Nexus looks to be an even more attractive option now.

I buy Galaxy Nexus devices with the intent of rooting them and installing custom ROMs so I do have Jelly Bean on my Galaxy Nexus. However, the average consumer shouldn't be required to hack their phone to get the latest and greatest version of the operating system on their Nexus device and the lack of timely updates through Sprint and Verizon is unacceptable. Sprint and Verizon have shown repeatedly slow response to getting updates to their Nexus devices and IMHO these carriers really shouldn't be considered as compatible for Nexus smartphones. GSM versions of the Nexus also come as unlocked so you can use it on any GSM carrier you like, again contributing to the open spirit of the Nexus.

Related CBS Interactive coverage

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Verizon

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  • GSM only

    Because of the proprietary nature of CDMA radios, I would definitely agree not to bother with Verizon or Sprint if you want quick updates. In fact, if just go straight to T-Mobile since they actually seem to want your business.
    Jeff Kibuule
    • GSM Nexus

      Getting the GSM Nexus from Google and activating on AT&T is all well and good if you have that option...but a lot of us have contracts with Verizon. Is Jelly Bean really worth paying the ETF?
      • Signal Problems

        From what I've read (try Googling Galaxy Nexus Signal) Jelly Bean does NOT fix the dropped signal problems.

        See my comment below.
      • yes, not having your hands tied by verizon or sprint

        Its worth the experience.

        Verizon is foolish to disregard Jelly Bean.

        Sprint is just too naive to know better.
        • Naivete?

          Actually, I want to mention Verizon, not Sprint, but it was a good subject. Verizon has always been slow with updates. Most of the Verizon Android phones are still running Gingerbread, or were the last time I looked. I have a Windows Phone 7, and the Mango update, as well as every other update has lagged behind AT&T and others. It is really annoying. Unfortunately, I am kind of stuck with Verizon and my wife likes the service, so I don't know if I will ever move away from it.
      • Jelly Bean

        I have Jelly Bean running on my GSM rooted and unlocked Galaxy Nexus. I have to say I really like it. I also have an Iphone 4S and really enjoy the voice assistant on both. Each of them is better ant different things. The JB OS is very snappy and I am really starting to like the Google now feature its very intuitive. If you want to root and install JB search for Galaxy Nexus tool kit that's what I used and its very easy. Good luck

        • Unlocked Galaxy Nexus on which Carrier?

          sheddman90: who are you using as a carrier?
          Ellis Benus
      • Flexibility vs lower start-up cost

        It's really up to you. I've researched it, and the updates are always released about 6-9 months from the moment Google makes the update public. Plus these updates are only made for about 18 months from the moment the phone is released. iOS gets them update instantly and the updates occur for 24 months, and Nexus phones on GSM also get the update near instantly and the updates are also available for 24months after the phone is released. All these factors increase the useful life of the phone.
        • Not so fast

          Check that iOS fine print. Not all versions of iOS are the same. iPhone 4, no Siri, no turn by turn. iPhone 3GS, even less. Sure you can get the new iOS about 3 months after its announced, but not all versions are the same. iOS is becoming increasingly, shall we say... "Fragmented".
          Adam Estep
  • Funny, This Can Only Happen In The US

    This is what happens in the only mobile-phone market in the world where your choice of handsets is dictated by your choice of carrier.
    • I agree

      I moved from the US about a year and a half ago. I am in Indonesia (Bali) I pay about $20 a month for what cost me $90/month in the US. The only draw back is the phone is not subsidized but that's not a big deal really. The carriers in the US have the customer by the short hairs and they know it. Here in the third world the service is usually better than what I had on ATT. I can skype, watch youtube and have a download rate of around 1 MB. I am able to enjoy both an IPhone 4S and an Android(Gnexus) for less than my US phone bill.
      • Holy cow. Considering the average wage

        earned by a worker in Indonesia, $20 a month is incredibly expensive.
    • unlocked GSM all the way.

      Well said, I encourage people all the time to buy no subsidized handsets that are unlocked on a GSM carrier. People need to turn away from the carriers having all the power.
      Some Internet Dude
  • Just Got a Samsung Galaxy Nexus from Verizon - DROPS SIGNAL!!!

    Why is no one mentioning the atrocious habit of the Nexus dropping the signal repeatedly?

    These are well known problems for ALL of the Samsung phones, even the new S III. I stupidly forgot to check into this before getting the phones. But, even so, not one reviewer I've found (including you) even brings this up!

    I love the device, but can't really use it to make calls, text, or do anything that requires a connection to my carrier's service.

    I don't want an unlocked version for a ridiculous amount of money.

    I don't want to root my phone and void the warranty.

    I just want it to NOT drop my signal repeatedly.

    It's very, very fast. The screen is amazing. On WiFi at home, it's great. Just don't try to make or get a call with it 95% of the time!

    I got 2 at Best Buy for FREE! And they gave me a $105 Gift Card for trading in 2 old HTC Droid Eris Phones (unbelievable). Great for buying slim hard cases and Zagg protection shields, with money left over.

    Taking them back tomorrow to see what can be done. I've already tried the online discussion groups and the fixes suggested (even the ones that come directly from Verizon and Best Buy). I figure on giving them a couple of tries before getting my money back (and the money back for the cases and screen protectors) and getting the iPhone 4 (don't need the 4S, don't want Suri).

    If anyone actually has anything helpful to say about the signal problem, please help.
    • Not seeing it on AT&T

      Hola CMB - I just went from a SGS2 Skyrocket to a GN - wanted to pair the experience with my N7 tablet - yes I am luving it.

      As to the signal quality and drops; I am not seeing any instance of increase in drops between the SGS2 Skyrocket and the GN. I will state that my backup phone - iphone 4 - drops calls a lot more frequently than the GN.

      Don't know if that helps or not, just what I am seeing.
      Location: West Los Angeles
    • area

      Like all things cell phonish it depends on your area I guess. I have a vz GN and I don't experience signal problems. I have had some data issues now and then but never a call issue. So its really dependent on where you are. You should probably return it for another one. If that one has the same issue then its your area. At least make sure the phone is on version 4.0.4 as well.
    • The problem seems to follow Verizon

      I typically use T-mobile, but I've also swapped in an AT&T SIM on my unlocked Galaxy Nexus, $400 no contracts. I haven't experienced any sudden signal loss. Neither has my gf. For that matter, on AT&T LTE, my battery did drain at half the rate of my cousin's on Verizon's LTE. Have you considered that Verizon may be the problem?
    • Not on Windows Phone 7

      I don't experience dropped calls on my Windows Phone 7.
  • I see your point but..

    the fact that T-Mo and ATT didn't offer the device at first and it required a import (a expensive one) and then later was available on the Play Store not too many average consumers saw the Nexus in the US to get one outside of Verizon and then later Sprint. An average consumer is none the wiser to a update and probably doesn't even know JB exists as an option unless they have a techie friend/family member tell them.. So fact is it doesn't matter for them, when Verizon goes through its grueling QC process and feel it's ready they WILL release it, not when.. The rest of us however have had it since that first night of IO when the dev community pulled it off the IO Nexus and ported it into fulling functional ROMs withing a 24 hour period so we don't care when Verizon feels it's ready, we have it, it's awesome! Having said all that in what would be in defense of big red I am a little tired of the fact that they do take so long and this is why T-Mo, especially with unlimited data coming back, is looking really good these days! I'd be able to have the phone and not "have" to root it to have the latest plus I know that whether T-Mo sells it or not I would be able to order the Nexus straight from Google and have it work on any GSM network. I am hoping T-Mo gets their LTE network rocking by the time I have to make a choice on all this though.
  • Going with Windows

    I get the feeling we might see Sprint and Verizon go with Windows more. I'm on Verizon and i'm a happy Android user. These 2 have always been bad at updates!