How is it that Verizon’s and Sprint’s Galaxy Nexus are still stuck on Android 4.1?

by: Bams SadewoNovember 30, 2012

galaxy nexus jelly bean

Despite being cut from the same Galaxy Nexus cloth, not all variants of the once-flagship phone are apparently made equal. As pointed out by Droid Life, the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon and Sprint is three software updates behind its GSM counterpart, which, as we know, is now sporting Android 4.2.1.

After we saw a glimpse of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the Nexus 7 in June, it only took a few weeks for the jelly treat to arrive on the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus, specifically in early July. The same update didn’t come to Sprint’s variant until September 6 and Verizon’s much later in the month. We’re sure we’re not the only one wondering when the newer Jelly Bean will make it to the two CDMA variants.

Where’s the Android 4.2 love?


To be fair, Verizon and Sprint aren’t the only two carriers guilty of such crime. Software updates prepared by manufacturers or Google typically must go through rigorous testing procedures before getting the carrier’s seal of approval – and it’d take even more time for the new software to be rolled out to end-customers.

Nevertheless, it remains a sore point for those who bought the Galaxy Nexus expecting their “Nexus” to get swift software updates, as it’s meant to be. This hasn’t been the case at all. Sadly, Google is holding back from exerting its power to speed up the process.

It’s clear that Google isn’t too happy with how carriers are slowing things down. which explains why it decides to let the Nexus 4 roam free. T-Mobile’s version doesn’t really count, as it comes with no bloatware and it’s been iterated that the software update will come directly from Google. It looks like we may not see another carrier-branded Nexus phone in the foreseeable future.

Going back to the title — it’s not all surprising to see that Verizon and Sprint, software-wise, aren’t really keeping their Galaxy Nexus up to speed. It would be a surprise for the newer Android versions to never come at all, but we think worst comes to worst you’ll simply be several months behind.

But it’s not so bad — you guys only missed out on Photo Sphere, Daydream, the new Swype-like keyboard and lock screen, improved notifications, and a dozen or so features that won’t really affect your love for the Galaxy Nexus. Or do they? Sorry, we don’t mean to rub salt into your wound.

Now what we’d like to know: Are you still hopeful that you’ll get the new Jelly Bean(s) soon-ish? Will you consider buying a Nexus device that’s tied to a carrier in the future? Do you think Google should do more? Feel free to give carriers and their long-winded software updating procedures some piece of your mind in the comments below.

  • Sentinelred

    Google should do more to push the process along faster. They’ve made steps to correct the problem by leaving the Nexus 4 open ended, but they still have to deal with the Galaxy Nexus variants. Just release it on the image file Page and ill flash it myself.

  • RarestName

    Heh, I got an advertisement about the new iPad under the 4.2 picture!

  • theandroidoctor

    I think Google isn’t willing to bite the hand that feeds them, but the carriers are the ones to blame.

  • Nixon

    I’m not from the USA and from my point of view all those restrictions from your mobile carriers are a bit too “communist” and that is supposed to be the land of freedom.

    • n900mixalot

      Freedom for those with enough money to buy it. People forget that.

    • companyemails

      The restrictions have nothing to do with freedom. they have everything to do with locking customers (and the income streams they produce) for the longest period of time, in such a way that allows carriers to nickle and dime them for every possible “service”. The smartphone market has up ended this equation and most carriers have felt the heat. Verizon gets away with their onerous charges, constant delays and feature lockout because they have the best network (read as biggest, fastest and most stable) by far. That doesn’t mean that consumers are happy with their practices though.

      • michael arazan

        Corporations, like Verizon, don’t care about customers and their satisfaction. Ver has a list of reasons to not update phones, like units sold, popularity of device, and so. If a device meets one reason, they won’t update it. Verizon does the bare minimum with everything, minimum amount of lte towers, different from regular, for so called fast lte, treating customers like mushroom , keeping them in the dark and feeding them [email protected], and Verizon has to pay for the updates and testing and do so with minimal resources, god forbid their execs don’t get a few extra thousands in their millions and bonuses. Not to mention the new tiers which is nothing more than price gouging customers data.

        I can’t wait till my contract is up, hopefully Google will have their carrier up by then.

  • JG

    I think these carriers need to stop running their dog and pony show and google should step in. I bought the gn on ebay a couple of months ago with Sprint of course. I sure would like to see google step in also. Would be much appreciated!

  • AndroidFan

    I surely will not be buying another branded nexus phone from a carrier again. The carriers are being unfair with their releases of software updates. I do think Google should step in and impose a time frame for release of the software. This makes it more assuring that buyers of a carrier branded nexus device get updates when they respectfully should. It should not be acceptable that consumers of the galaxy nexus product should have to wait. Personally I feel its the carriers that are purposefully stopping the update because they are benefiting somehow from other phone sales and don’t have an incentive to pass the update on.

  • I simply don’t get it… if Apple can do avoid carriers, why others can’t? Are they incapable or what? The same with satisfying carriers demands on hardware -__-

  • Tony

    Unfortunately for decent coverage, especially on 3g/4g, in my location Verizon is the only solution. I would change network in a heartbeat if I could. I purchased the Verizon Nexus because it was fairly ‘vanilla’ and supposedly would be updated as soon as it was released without having to use thrid party modded versions. This is especially annoying when you factor in how very, very expensive US networks are, especialy Verizon.

  • I have been with Verizon since the early 90’s. I am now considering changing carriers due to Verzon restrictions on android devices. If enough customers abandon carriers, they will change their policies. Power to the people. G McD

  • leoingle

    This is a simple answer. CDMA sucks nuts! The only reason I stay with Verizon is because my gf works for them, so needless to say, i get some special privileges.

  • fronn

    You can blame the nature of the CDMA networks. They wanted more control. GSM is open – there’s nothing stopping a person from using any GSM device on any GSM network provided they have service and their device listens on the correct bands.

    This won’t change until Google gets a fancy deal like Apple has with their CDMA devices (which probably won’t happen for a while, if at all) or until an LTE only device is practical on Verizon/Sprint (LTE requires no Carrier participation, similar to GSM).

    Verizon and to a lesser extent Sprint are the reason the US carrier system sucks as much as it does. They are inherently anti-consumer, right down to their network technology.

  • Infinite7154

    I bought the Verizon Galaxy Nexus not knowing how updates were handled by Verizon. When I buy the Nexus 4 and any other subsequent Nexus, it will be of the GSM unlocked version. I have an SIII from T-Mobile and an SIII from Verizon. One guess which one has Jelly Bean?

  • Canuck

    Watch out for what you wish for? My Google Nexus kept nagging me to update to Jellybean, and now when I try to reset to go back to ICS, it will just reset it to Jellybean again!!!