Bear with us a moment, because this could get messy.
We’re getting a few reports today that Canadian Galaxy Nexus users are receiving a software update. Whereas most of the world has already received Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, Galaxy Nexus devices sold through Canadian carriers such as Rogers, Bell, Telus, Videotron, Wind, Mobilicity etc., are slightly different models and subject to a different upgrade path. The international version of the GSM Galaxy Nexus goes by the model number yakju, and was updated to Jelly Bean back in July. Google also sells a version of the Galaxy Nexus through its Google Play Store called takju that has received the update as well.
But Canadian carriers are unique in that they sell model number yakjuux of which hardware-wise nothing is different from its t/yakju brethren. Software-wise, however, they differ by having modem firmwares built specifically for our Canadian networks. Most importantly, yakjuux models are updated by Samsung, not by Google directly. This has led to a sharp disparity between device updates, as devices administered by Google are upgraded well in advance of ours.
To wit, many Canadian Galaxy Nexus devices are still stuck on Android 4.0.1. This was released in December 2011, and has since been superseded by Android 4.0.2, 4.0.4 and, most recently, 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. Reports of users receiving an update to Android 4.0.2 will likely cause more ire than celebration among the thousands of long-suffering Galaxy Nexus users in this country. Now, we’ve spoken before of how to (relatively easily) change your yakjuux version to a yakju with a bit of software hacking. Since the Galaxy Nexus is a developer device, it’s easy to assume many of its users are well-equipped with the skills to perform such minor surgery.
But what about the countless buyers who bought the Galaxy Nexus because it was just a great Android device? With a slim form factor, HD screen and speedy dual-core processor, plus expectations of the latest version of Android, Canadian carriers spared no marketing expense promising us the most up-to-date Android experience. It seems that Samsung has yet to approve a Jelly Bean update for our devices despite that fact that the software has been available to them since early July, and Google has already pushed it to other GSM devices.
So what’s going on? Is Samsung just failing to live up to their end of the bargain, or is there something deeper here that we’re not seeing? Presumably the carriers are not at fault here; unlike traditional Android updates, which have to be vetted by the carriers, the Galaxy Nexus is unlocked and carrier-free. But Samsung still has to ensure that the modem, in addition to the software build itself, is cross-compatible, and that means having to test it on all the carriers, a process that takes some time.
We’ve reached out to Samsung on this matter, but in the meantime let us know your experience with the Galaxy Nexus.