Google Issues Statement Regarding Support for CDMA Devices

February 3, 2012
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    Earlier today a lot of people began to notice that Google had taken their CDMA Nexus’ off of the list of what they consider to be developer phones. They removed the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, the Nexus S 4G on Sprint, and the Motorola Xoom LTE.  All of which are CDMA devices. Now when this broke earlier today, it scared the crap out of a lot people. For most, the reason why they bought a Nexus is so they would get timely updates from Google.

    Not to long ago Google issued their statement regarding this:

    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!

    So basically, CDMA is not widely supported as we mentioned earlier and is also simply a pain. From what we have been told though, the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon is still a “Nexus” and will continue to be updated in a timely manner, but Google is simply making it clear that a device running a CDMA radio cannot be officially “supported” since its files are signed differently from AOSP code. If that makes any sense.

    It’s pretty confusing isn’t it? Honestly, we are still a bit confused by all of this. But from what we can garner it looks like Google technically will still be supporting their CDMA devices, but as far as updates are concerned it looks like we have to wait for Verizon to sign the radios first.

    Any developers out there want to clarify this a bit more? Feel free to do so, either leave a comment below or you can email me and I will update this post to reflect the clarification.

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