Verizon Galaxy Nexus loses Google support?

The CDMA version of the phone gets dropped from the Android developer site.

Kicked out at such an early age? Josh Miller/CNET

Did the Galaxy Nexus get caught in the middle of a lovers' quarrel between Google and Verizon today?

That's the way it appeared at first with the news that Google had dumped the CDMA version of Android's flagship phone. A reader first tipped off Droid Life that the CDMA/LTE version of the phone (read: Verizon) had been removed from Google's developer site, the Android Open Source Project, and replaced with a note reading, "No CDMA devices are supported."

The Ice Cream Sandwich-flavored handset had appeared on the site as recently as last week, but on the Google Code site, the factory image for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus--code-named Toro--now appears under "archived, for reference only."

It's sad for such a nice device to be kicked to the curb so harshly, but it doesn't appear to be the only device to get the boot. The CDMA Motorola Xoom and Sprint Nexus S 4G have also been removed.

Android Open Source & Compatibility Tech Lead Dan Morrill posted an explanation of sorts over in the Android Contributors Google Group. Here's the meat of his somewhat technical explanation:

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.

I could be wrong here, and we've reached out to Google for clarification, but it sounds to me that Google is blaming CDMA carriers like Verizon for ruining the Nexus soiree. There was a a theory floating around that this whole flap could have something to do with the lack of Google Wallet on the Verizon phone and a brewing rivalry with the carrier's own payments platform. That theory has since been debunked.

The Verge also reports that Google now says it will provide firmware updates for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, but we've been unable to confirm that part. Of course, they'd still need Verizon to push updates out over the air.

We're keeping tabs on the story and will update this post as soon as we have more information, or hear back from Google.

Update, at 4:45 p.m. PT: to indicate that speculation that the lack of Google Wallet on the Verizon phone could be related to the flap has been debunked.

 

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