When is a ROM Update an Official Update? The Verizon Galaxy Nexus Edition

As a Verizon Galaxy Nexus owner for merely a month, one thing that I have learned is that you can not expect to have the update from Google at the same time as the GSM version.  Here I sit one month in, and it’s been five months since the launch of the phone on Verizon … and I still have Android 4.0.2.


Funny you should ask.  I have too.  In February, there were many posts about the Verizon version of the phone “losing” it’s developer phone status.  Many of the posts were quickly updated as Google stated that it is still a developer phone, and that they still issue updates but they don’t provide complete code as part of the Android Open Source Project for CDMA phones(as reported by AndroidCommunity.com).  The Verge reported that Google removed it from some of their developer pages because the Verizon version doesn’t support all features, namely Google Wallet (currently).

In any event, it’s still a supported Galaxy Nexus device both for users and developers.  Google STILL provides the updates to the phone.  However, as Android Software Engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru has pointed out: it’s the carrier’s fault for the current lack of updates.  He doesn’t directly point out Verizon, but most Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners know that’s who he means . Here we sit, five months after our phones were released, and nothing has come out or been said, officially anyway, about when it will roll out.

The OMG an UPDATE Reaction

In early May, there was a flurry of activity surrounding a possible update to 4.0.4 for Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners.  Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners were so excited.  Finally we were getting an update!  The only problem is none of these sites have actually confirmed if this was a true update with Verizon and Verizon has yet to update its support docs.  It is known was that some devices had received the update including some display devices in the stores.  There were a couple of screenshots that accompanied these posts.  Lots of people said Verizon was slowly pushing this out.  It has now been 2 weeks and nothing has come to my phone.  Adam over at Gottabemobile.com also confirms this.  In fact, less than 24 hours after the “update” started appearing, the “update” was pulled from the original link.  So is it an official update?  Maybe not.  This just looks like a soak test for a future update.

Some enterprising people were able to get the image from the link before it was taken down and have instructions to help you load it on your device.  I will not link to it in this story mostly because I, or Gear Diary do not want to be responsible for you bricking your devices if you mess up.  With that said, you can use Google and find the instructions.

It is that update that some posters on various blogs and forums will point to and say yes an update was released.  Hear this: a leaked update is NOT and HAS NOT ever been an official update.  Even if it’s an official and limited test, it’s not an official update.

So How do you Tell if it’s an Official Update?

The only way I know of to confirm if an update is an official update is if Verizon updates their support page with a list of changes in the ROM.  This PDF file is the current update for the Galaxy Nexus which is listed as being build number ICL53F.  You find this by going to: “Settings-About phone” and then looking at the Build number at the bottom of this screen.  The website could be updated before or after you get the update.  In Mike’s case, with his Droid4, it happened about a week before he got the update.  It’s only when Verizon updates the support page for your device is an update official.

Now if you are lucky enough to get included in a test, Verizon will, of course, support your phone.  Especially if you are not rooted or if you’re bootloader is still locked.  However, for the majority of users it’s not official until that page has been updated.  Once it has, it’s safe to say that it will eventually roll out to every Verizon Galaxy Nexus owner.

Categories: Gear Bits, How to Do It Yourself!

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