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Android Engineer: Verizon is Holding Back Your Galaxy Nexus 4.0.4 Update

Android software engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru, who you see mentioned here quite a bit as he handles the AOSP, shared his thoughts yesterday about the update process for Ice Cream Sandwich. He talked about how Sony spends a lot of time contributing to the AOSP, thus the reason for their early update schedule. He also talked about how different Gingerbread and Honeycomb are from ICS “under the hood” which may lead to a more lengthy update process from OEMs this time around.

But then he finished off with a comment that I’m sure will not make you all that happy, but one you sort of figured to be the case at this point. He said that the part of this all that “blows” his mind, is the fact that “some variants of the Google-engineered flagship devices” (read: Nexus devices) still have not received ICS or are stuck on older versions “because of delays introduced by operator approvals.” Can you guess who he is talking about? 

He may not have called out Verizon specifically, but since the Galaxy Nexus and XOOM 4G on their network are the only “Google-engineered flagship devices” not on ICS or that are running an older version of Android 4.0, I’m not sure who else he could be talking about.

Are we surprised at this news? At this point, not at all. We know that Verizon tests their devices more thoroughly than any other carrier, but with a Nexus and a developer tablet, we thought it would leave them with less worries and that the approval process would fly by. It’s tough to believe that any longer as we have gone almost 5 months without seeing a Galaxy Nexus update even though it has a list of critical bugs that we write about almost daily. The XOOM 4G which was the first Honeycomb tablet on the planet, is still stuck on Honeycomb, while WiFi tablet after WiFi tablet across the globe seems to have already been updated to Android 4.0.

The updates still come directly from Google for these devices, but that’s after they get them ready and then pass them off to Verizon for approval before being able to send them out OTA. Unfortunately for all of us, it looks like we will have to continue to wait for that approval.

Via:  Google+

  • Tempoeffects

    Btw, what exactly are we all waiting for in 4.0.4? My phone seems to be working perfectly fine and I’m using it so far for games, G-mail and Exchange Server e-mail, Maps and Navigation, Music (Pandora, Songza and Play), reading documents from Dropbox, Voice memos, etc. etc. What I’ve listed is several times a day 5 days a week. What will 4.0.4 bring?

  • andrew z

    To be honest with everyone here, that is why I got the Nexus. If Verizon does this with everything, and it does, then the only phone to get is the Nexus because of its developer prowess.

  • l_c_w

    the fact that the LTE G-Nex was only sold through VZW was flawed from day one… totally goes against the underlying principal of “Nexus” in the first place, ie. being a non-carrier specific, unlocked, open device to do whatever you want with without carrier intervention…

  • l_c_w

    Perhaps the introduction of the Unlocked GSM Galaxy Nexus in the US will put pressure on VZW to get off theis ass… i’m so glad i’m not with them anymore…

    • parsonbrown11

      Gsm version totally crippled the handsets. This is a lemon. The OS is crap. The phone is a joke

  • Jay Matthews

    I’m looking for any opportunity I  can to get off of Verizon, after many years.  I hope Google launches a Nexus device on Sprint, and at the same time I hope Sprint is continuing to build out LTE.

  • Rob

    A level 2 tech at VERIZON told me tonight that the Galaxy Nexus is scheduled for a full system update in May. He wasn’t sure but said it might be 4.1.0.

  • ThomasMoneyhon

    why hasnt anyone started a class action lawsuit over Verizon holding back updates? Obviously its pretty straightforward that Google knows what they are doing since they single design the software, co-designed the device and then every oem and carrier use their software. Not being able to put out an update seems suspicious but this developer’s comment is damning. I think someone would have a nice sum of cash and egg on verizon’s face if they were to contest this in court.

    • parsonbrown11

      Sign me up. I want to join a class to get a refund and new phone.

  • Craney0514

    Supposedly the update is set for early May to be released. Then again im sure we all know how well Verizon is at keeping the dates. I talked to a tech though and he said it should be early may and it was pretty much ready to be sent out.

  • Interpol818

    Vz can suck it.

  • OR you can just unlock, root and hit up the “Galaxy Nexus Guide” on the right column, or XDA.
    Rooted 4.0.4 and loving it.Thanks, interwebz!

    • cphilano

      That works for you, and that’s great! But, to dismiss an officially released update especially considering the closed source nature of CDMA shouldn’t be done.

      • Oh my god. What was I thinking.

        • parsonbrown11

          Ok somebody please teach me what this rooting thing is. Please

  • Taglogical

    Ahh Nexus on Verizon… There’s just no such thing /shrugs

  • Taglogical

    He’s talking about Motorola right?!! YAY let’s play more blame-shift games where Motorola plays the role of the punching bag!! Wheeeeeeee!!!!!

  • Hud

    It also makes once loyal customers and current buyers (like me) look forward to jumping ship to another carrier to get a REAL Nexus experience next time.

  • Kerb7777

    That: is such crap!!! I am beginning to hate Verizon, this Nexus I have is supposed to be the top of the Line LTE 4G device. I guess I should have went with the Razor Max…..

  • beez1717

    At this pint in time, Verizon needs to get their butts in shape. What Verizon did was to backstabbing their customers AND Google. Google should have announced the update for the Gnex, and then told everyone to come and get the update, and publicly let Verizon fall flat on their face, and then allowed Verizon users to update their software through their computers. That would have at least been Google trying to discipline Verizon. I hate how Google LET’S Verizon withhold updates and critical fixes because Verizon wants people to buy new phones, or be swimming in bloatware, and then goes hush hush when people notice that once again Verizon is being an a-hole to its customers. Google should have taken charge of Android a LONG time ago and have made it so when Google is darn ready to release an update, you can get it if your phone can run it, and said “oh well” to the carriers or manufacturers that allowed their phones to break in some way. That might have caused everyone to play nice in order to stay afloat in the market.

    Now I want to see Google disciplining Verizon HARD, even if it means they don’t get the next Nexus device. Someone has to give Verizon a hint and slap them.

    • Tyler Cameron

      If Verizon doesn’t get the Nexus, Verizon could care less. It’s clear that as a company, they HATE the Nexus and everything it’s supposed to stand for. What I never got though is what’s the point of holding updates to make people want new phones?
      This phone isn’t old enough for anyone to be due for an upgrade, so holding the updates doesn’t equate to those customers being like “Oh no. I guess I need to sign a new contract and get a new phone!”
      And even if these people get new phones off-contract, that’s still no money going Verizon’s way. I don’t get it.

    • cphilano

      Well, a lot of people should understand how hypocritical a stance like this would be for Google to take. I’m not defending Verizon or it’s antics, but a lot of you should know that Google helped in Verizon and other such carriers maintain the powers they have now. 

      Just look up Google and Verizon’s joint proposal that the FCC accepted. It basically gives Verizon the right to control its wireless network any way it wants. None of the neutrality principles that govern wired networks would apply to wireless networks. Google got in bed with Verizon, and it’s haunting them now.

    • parsonbrown11

      The end user shouldn’t be concerned with any of this. Not debating your position, just saying what I want is a phone that works. Don’t care who fixes it. Want it fixed.

  • letsmotor

    i wouldnt mind a long update process if it meant getting a phone/software with no bugs but VZWs testing only to make sure nobody can access anything for free with stuff VZW thinks you should pay them for!

  • Trevor

    Verizon = satan

  • Levi


  • Alexander Garcia

    So much  blue balls syndrome doin’ on in these comments LOL

  • MikeSaver

    but really why doesn’t everyone commenting here Tweet Verizon and post on their facebook page? If you let them know that everyone is upset with them they will release the update faster.

  • RLJSlick

    You would hope in the coming days, someone would leak the update to the internet. Not sure why Verizon think they need to be so “careful” but I’m ready for it now.

    • Tyler Cameron

      It was leaked. A loooooooooooooooong time ago. In fact, it made the LTE Nexus the only one in which you could flash a 4.0.4 rom onto, because it wasn’t AOSP.

  • MikeSaver

    This is absolutely ridiculous. 

    Is there anyway to let Verizon know that their consumers desperately want this update? Can we all send them hundreds of tweets or posts on their facebook page?

    • Tyler Cameron

      Post on their official Facebook page.

  • Btw: 
    I used my friend’s galaxy nexus which comes with 4.0.4, 4.0.4 is amazing. 

  • Ramp1188


  • It would be silly, to think that Google can’t do something to fix this problem. I can’t imagine if Larry Page picks up his phone and calls Lowell McAdam, and tells him they need to do something about that approval process, Verizon wouldn’t come up with a better and faster process for them — Google just didn’t do it, and does not want to do it, or think that it’s not so important that they had to do something. Yes, Verizon is the roadblock here, but behind the roadblock, there’s a giant that has the muscle to remove the roadblock, but he’s not moving a single finger.

  • Verizon continues to not get what Nexus means…

  • Rooted and installed custom ROM for my first time yesterday after growing tires of waiting for an update. Blow me Verizon. 

  • Torture2010

    Sounds like alot of you need to unlock and root so that you can take FULL advantage for your Google Nexus phone! Alot of people are already running 4.0.4 on this phone and its AWESOME!!!

  • Fg2srt4

    I think somebody needs to punch Verizon right in the dick.

  • MooleyBooleyTroll

    Would it piss everyone off to know there is another build of ICS for the Razr available?
    http://goo.gl/Ojqpp Guys at droidrzr.com deleted the thread on it because you all aren’t smart enough to deal with such things 😛

  • Austinrgoebel

    Nice job verizon, my poor nexus is dying of bugs and ur still not giving an approval to update the phone that was “build for ics” and was supose to have the most up to date version >.>

  • Alan Burnstine

    What kills me about this is that with all of the extra testing that Verizon claims to do, they still release products that are so buggy as to be nearly unusable (Bionic was bad when it started, and unusable after the first OTA, but became a quite usable device with only a couple of minor nits to pick after the second OTA.  It should never have been released before that 2nd OTA.  I don’t know who the heck beta tests for them, but they must not actually use the devices.

    • Luxferro

      Makes you wonder if Verizon is actually taking so long for bug testing, or just dragging their feet because it’s not really a verizon phone and they don’t have their hands all mixed up in the software….

      My guess would be the latter. They don’t want Googles phone to succeed, it’s not a Droid.

  • We need to make sure this is posted on EVERY Verizon forum and twitter and every other avenue they they use for customer feedback(of lack thereof). This is unacceptable.

  • nxmehta

    Giant middle finger to Verizon.  Google should just release the damn update themselves.

  • Turb0wned

    I wish AT&T still offered unlimited data so i could go back to them. This is the first and probably the last time we see a Nexus device on Verizon. If that happens, I can’t afford to lose my data plan and will probably just go back to the iPhone. Verizon screws everything up all the time, phone not getting the best phones to screwing us on updates and fees.

  • esteban

    My nexus is already 4.0.4

    • Austinrgoebel

      Are u on verizon?

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if VZ was like “I know only people who run roms and flash will buy this phone they can wait or just flash something online”

  • RedPandaAlex

    Pretty sure I’m going to eat a $125-dollar ETF and get an unlocked Nexus from Google Play in the next couple weeks. Problem solved.

    • ddevito

      You and me both

    • Tim242

      You mean $325

      • RedPandaAlex

        Well no, it’s an older phone. Didn’t mean to imply it was a verizon gnex.

    • Q

      You must not have an unlimited data plan on VZ.  No way I’d trade my unlimited plan LTE plan and switch to an ATT tiered plan.  If I absolutely needed 4.0.4 that bad, I’d just flash it onto my GNex.

  • ddevito

    AH – so now where all the know-it-alls that keep telling me the updates come directly from Google.

    Fools they are. Fools.

    2013 – going back to AT&T

    • Tim242

      They do come directly from Google, but have to be approved by carriers. That has always been the case. Did you not read the article, or do.you just like to.bit*h? Go back to that awful network if you want…that will give you plenty to.bit*h about.

      • ddevito

        “They do come directly from Google, but have to be approved by carriers.”

        Your statement contradicted itself. 

        And yes I read the article. Doesn’t make it any easier to understand. VZW is THE WORST when it comes to testing. Worst. They catch nothing, delay everything.

        • Tim242

          It is not contradicting at all. All software has to be tested by the carrier. It has to be proven to work on the network. The difference between Nexus software and other phones is as follows: Google builds the software for the Nexus, then sends it for carrier testing. Then it is sent back to Google for distribution. Other phones, the software is built by the OEM, then sent to Verizon for modification.

  • ajavgeek

    Since I have unlimited data plan, that’s why I am still with Big Red, otherwise I have received invitation from republic wireless and it seems way cheaper now….

  • AndroidUser00110001

    What I don’t get is why Google does not just build it’s own damn devices since they are about to own Motorola. They just purchased a company that most likely has the highest ratings for build quality and yet they do not want to utilize that as an asset for making hardware.

    They can use Moto to build 3 phones, high end, mid and low end and 2 or 3 tablets. That’s it and then update the models once a year. Have total control over everything like Apple and really compete with them head on. They will not step on any toes since basically no other manufacture makes a pure vanilla android device.

    I just don’t get it. They can keep Android open source and let OEMs do as they please with skins and updates.

    • Torture2010


  • Tim_Horton

    so 20$ to blow up the card vs do not pass go, I’ll opt for the 20$ every time.

    Just sucks that you lose everything on the nexus anytime you FDR. Having an actual external1 would be nice.  

    • Tim242

      No you don’t.

  • Troubled_Asian

    Yup, only Verizon could screw up a Nexus…  

    And by this response, I am not dismissing Verizon’s actions in any way.

  • MooleyBooleyTroll

    This isn’t news.. We all knew this would happen before it was even released on Vzw.

  • Tachomanboiiii

    It always sucks when updates get delayed, and usually I wouldn’t mind this much.  But when there are so many problems with the product waiting 5 months is retarded.  I just got my Gnex a couple days ago, and it is a fantastic phone.  Hardware and software, everything has been perfect…that is until I call someone. Voice cuts out, hangs up, echos, and other random crap. I turned off the voice privacy setting and it improved some, but still has issues.  Just fix that, I don’t care if they call it 4.0.2

    • Tim242

      4.04 doesn’t fix that.

  • Are they talking about AOSPs Fables?

  • r0lct

    What Google should do to really stick it to Verizon is offer everyone with an LTE GNex the option of a new GSM model if they mail theirs in along with a $50 Wallet credit.  Sure there’s people in contracts and/or won’t leave Verizon.  But it would be a wonderful FU to Verizon.

  • Darkit24

    I see a bunch of “use Wugfresh rootkit”.  Don’t do this, use ADB.  Wugfresh is better if you just want it done. But if you just wanted it done for you, you wouldn’t have bought an android device and be reading/contemplating rooting your android now would you, XD. 

    Here are some good guides written right here on droid-life.  I did the digging for you. 

    Unlocking the bootloader:

    Rooting/Custom Recovery/First backup:

    Custom Recoverys (CDMA ONLY!!!!)CWM:http://download.clockworkmod.com/recoveries/recovery-clockwork- CWM Touch:http://download.clockworkmod.com/recoveries/recovery-clockwork-touch-

    Installing your first rom:

    Rom Manager:

    My recommendations for your first rom (CDMA ONLY!!!!).  I personally think AOKP is the best, though it’s impossible to truly say which one is the best.  Try both out, and see which one fits you the best.

    AOKP 34:  


    Good luck.  

    PS.  If you softbrick your phone(in the bootloader unlocking process).  Its really easy to fix so don’t freak out.  Download the factory images and then follow this guide:
    Note: You don’t not HAVE to do the “fastboot reboot bootloader” step after every flash.  It is recommended. 

    Factory Images ICL53F:

    • Alex9483

      Thanks man.
      have a GN, still scared of rooting, but I appreciate your effort and will save your post if/when I’m ready..

      • Dímelo420

        ^^ Boo!
        Everyone boo this man! He made it cake for you and you still bitched out. I’m running 4.0.4 from the ground up. Radios os kernel. Couldn’t be happier really. I can tether 4G to my laptop & watch American Weed as well as sit here and talk crap on DROID life . took a while over at xda but you got to give it to them. Like some douche above me said, best developer community ever for an android phone.

  • Dskneon

    That’s why Google need to take the Apple approach when it comes to updates and carriers. Apple don’t wait on nobody approval when updating the iPhone. Come on Google this a nexus device grow some balls and take demands like Apple. It shouldn’t be no reason the nexus don’t get updated when a newer version available. When a new iOS available its available without no carriers approval. This coming from a Nexus owner

    • Tim242

      Carriers absolutely test iOS before release. You just don’t hear about it. I worked at att. Since there are only a few devices, they all get it at once.

  • Dave

    Quite interesting read the comments in that Google+ post. JBQ is answering a lot of peoples questions and gives some decent insight into the whole process (and limitations of updating devices quickly with regard to carriers).