Earlier today, a story broke across the internet that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus (“Toro”) had been delisted by Google as an official developer device. In the hours since, there has been an outpouring of concern from the owners and developers of Verizon’s only pure Google Experience device. As more and more information was found, it was discovered that Big Red wasn’t the only victim of this decision; Google has delisted all CDMA devices as developer units. This is certainly a blow to the ego of CDMA AOSP-ites everywhere, as we’re now at the mercy of carriers once again for official updates we expected to come straight from Google.
We’ll start with Google’s latest statement, taken from the Android Contributors Google Group :
Hello! 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 flies 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 source.android.com 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!
A quick look at the device table at the AOSP site also shows no sign of Toro, Crespo4G, or the CDMA Xoom. The same omission also appears in the Binaries liston the Google Code website, although the WiFi-only Xoom does appear here.
Ultimately, this means that those users who bought into the straight-from-Google Galaxy Nexus update experience through Verizon or were planning on buying in through Sprint are now back in delay-land with our non-developer-phone brethren. We’ll still see AOSP ROMs and get a few tastes of the good life we were promised, but while our GSM twins are enjoying a tasty Jelly Bean we’ll be at Verizon and Samsung’s mercy with a melting Ice Cream Sandwich.
We invite you to join in the ongoing discussion on this very hot topic in our CDMA Galaxy Nexus forums. This is likely only the beginning of a PR nightmare for those involved, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated every step of the way as this story unfolds.
Update 2: Google has reached out again to say that it incorrectly responded to our initial request for comment — this has nothing to do with Google Wallet, and furthermore, the company will continue to support the Verizon Galaxy Nexus through official firmware updates. Disaster averted.