Updated: The Galaxy Nexus is the latest Google Android flagship phone first launched in the EU, and now coming to the U. S. on the Verizon network. Since this is a "pure Google" phone, news organizations are making a big deal about the exclusion of the Google Wallet NFC payment system by Verizon. Guess what? It's not a Verizon exclusion, Google has only had a deal with Sprint since the debut of Google Wallet. Verizon can't use Google Wallet due to that deal by Google.
Update: Google is stating that Verizon requested the removal of Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus. While that may be, as previously reported Google Wallet is only active on the Sprint network since its launch.
Update #2: Verizon has responded that it is not blocking Google Wallet. It further states that commercial discussions with Google are ongoing. It's about the money, as usual. Google will surely have to pay Verizon to play.
While the Verizon Galaxy Nexus has the NFC hardware to use Google Wallet, it would require a partnership with Google to enable it for use with Wallet. Apparently Google's deal with Sprint, in place since the previous Android flagship phone, the Nexus S, is exclusive so far. While Android purists believe any Galaxy Nexus should be able to use Google Wallet, that's never been the case.
The older Nexus S has NFC but can't use Google Wallet. Only the Sprint model, the Nexus S 4G, can use Google's NFC payment system. The same will be true of the Galaxy Nexus; should Sprint carry the phone you can bet it will have Google Wallet enabled, and exclusively so.
This isn't a carrier limitation, this is a Google limitation based on an existing business deal. That's not news, that's the way it is.
Image credit: Matt Miller
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