Last week, we were worried that a non-developer device might end up beating the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, Sprint Galaxy Nexus and Sprint Nexus S 4G to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and unfortunately, it looks that’s now the case as Asus has apparently started to roll out Android 4.1 Jelly Bean for one of its tablets.
Over the weekend, Asus Transformer Pad 300 owners began seeing the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. It’s unclear how widespread it is but that doesn’t really matter at this point. The point is, it has begun to roll out in one way or another and that means that it has beaten out Nexus devices, including the carrier-specific Galaxy Nexus to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
And while that’s fantastic news for Transformer Pad 300 owners and Asus, a company that has taken pride in being fast to major Android updates, it’s embarrassing news for Google, Verizon, Sprint, and really, the Nexus brand of devices.
One of the reasons that Nexus owners bought a Nexus-branded device was because they believed the Nexus-branding meant that the device would be one of the first devices to receive the latest versions of Android. And while the Nexus One and Nexus S adhered to that, the Galaxy Nexus has completely wiped out that notion.
The first sign of trouble emerged when Verizon took five months to roll out its first update to the Galaxy Nexus, an update that was sorely needed due to major bugs plaguing the device.
And then came the Android 4.1 roll out which first came to the Galaxy Nexus HSPA+, an unlocked device, the Motorola Xoom (which we consider a Nexus device since it’s a developer device), the Nexus S, and now the Asus Transformer Pad 300.
We knew that something was amiss when the Nexus S 4G, a device on Sprint’s network, was left out of the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean roll out. At that point, it was clear that American carriers would likely be getting the updates out to owners in a sluggish fashion.
However, we didn’t think that it would be so slow, that a non-Nexus device would beat them to the punch. We doubt owners of these devices did either considering the specifications on board the Galaxy Nexus, which was, of course, the first device to arrive with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
In fact, we know they didn’t. We have received dozens of emails from frustrated Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners who have displayed frustration with the situation. Many came from other carriers and are upset with Verizon while others have claimed that this will be their last Android smartphone.
And it’s the silence from Google, Sprint and Verizon, paired with the lack of an update, that will surely make many current Galaxy Nexus owners pause when buying a Nexus smartphone on a carrier and really, an Android phone on a carrier in general.
Consumers once bought a Nexus device knowing that it would be kept up to date from a software point of view, but now, it appears that buying a Nexus device is as big of a gamble as regular old Android smartphones.
And that’s frustrating to say the least.