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State of Android 4.2: So Far, A Nexus Only Update

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All the way back in November, Google released its latest update for its Android operating system dubbed Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. In the days since, only a handful of devices have received the update. In fact, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus remains without the software update and rather surprisingly, several big name devices from 2013 are launching with older versions of Android.

Read: Android 4.2.2 on Nexus 7 Review.

At Google I/O last year, Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which at the time was the latest update to the company’s Android operating system. The software replaced Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which had made its debut in December of 2011 and subsequently rolled out to devices later in 2012.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean started rolling out to devices shortly after the software was introduced. In July, several Nexus devices from Google received their update to Android 4.1, a list that included the GSM Galaxy Nexus. However, not all Nexus devices were fortunate enough to receive the update in a timely manner.

It wasn’t until September that both the Sprint and Verizon Galaxy Nexus smartphones were updated with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. On September 7th, Sprint updated its Galaxy Nexus and on September 21st, Verizon rolled out its version of the Galaxy Nexus Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update. Just three days later, Samsung started to roll out the Samsung Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update which, along with an Asus tablet, became the first non-Nexus devices to receive the update.

In November, just shortly after the Jelly Bean update rolled out to several big name devices including the HTC One X, Google introduced Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, an update that tacked on some new features to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

The update rolled out very quickly to the GSM Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 7 and owners have been enjoying their update to the latest Android software since November. However, despite promises of faster Android updates, the Android 4.2 roll out has been far more unforgiving than the Android 4.1 update.

Verizon Galaxy Nexus

Since its arrival in November of last year, the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update has been made available only for a few devices, all called Nexus. And maybe worst of all, Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners, who haven’t seen an update since September, are still among those waiting for the update to arrive.

Thus far, we haven’t seen the update leak out, as we did when Android 4.1 was close, and it now has been more than a month since Sprint rolled out its Android 4.2 update for the Galaxy Nexus.

The Verizon Galaxy Nexus toils on Android 4.1.

The Verizon Galaxy Nexus toils on Android 4.1.

The Sprint Galaxy Nexus Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update initially was made available in mid-January and the carrier started rolling out the update OTA on January 30th.

Since then, Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners have been treated to the typical silence from both Samsung and Verizon in regards to the update and at this point, the situation will likely remain the same until the update touches down.

One theory that I’ve had is that Verizon is waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement so that it can promote Android 4.2 for that device. Remember, the carrier discontinued the Galaxy Nexus so at this point, it’s not a top priority.

It also could be that Verizon ran into some issues with Android 4.2, there were a few, and has needed more time for testing. Whatever the case may be, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus Android 4.2 update is missing and its features along with it.

Other Big Names Still on Android 4.1

When Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean back in June of last year, it also announced something called the Android PDK, a Android Platform Development Kit that was supposed to help manufacturers port Android to their devices.

It was said that Google would release the PDK to developers a few months before it launched each new version of Android and that would mean that manufacturers would no longer have to wait for Google’s announcements to get to work porting the new Android updates to devices.

The Xperia Z may get Android 4.2 in March.

The Xperia Z may get Android 4.2 in March.

As we said, Samsung was able to roll out Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in September for its Galaxy S3, a roll out that came just a few days after the Verizon Galaxy Nexus got its update. However, it looks like owners are going to have to wait a number of months before getting it as the update isn’t supposed to roll out until after the Galaxy S4 arrives. The Galaxy S4 isn’t rumored to be landing until May and perhaps May or June in the U.S..

That means that the Android 4.1 crown jewel, the Samsung Galaxy S3, is still on Android 4.1, the HTC One X is still on Android 4.1 (the AT&T One X is actually still on Android 4.0), the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which arrived with Android 4.1 out of the box is still on Android 4.1 as well.

So while the PDK still exists, it doesn’t appear to have made the strides that had hoped for when it was announced.

2013 Android Devices

In fact, we haven’t seen many manufacturers outside of a few confirm Android 4.2 for their devices. The new HTC One doesn’t even have Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board. Instead, it will utilize Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with its Sense 5.0 UI when it arrives in March. And the Samsung Galaxy S4 is rumored to be coming with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean but that isn’t confirmed and even then, it’s not supposed to be out in until April, five months after Android 4.2′s release and just a month before Google I/O.

Thus far, Sony has said that the Xperia Z smartphone would get Android 4.2 shortly after launch and we also have seen some some Android 4.2 devices arrive at MWC 2013 but they aren’t due until the second quarter of this year. Other than that, it has been all quiet on the Android 4.2 home front.

So as it stands, we currently have the GSM Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 10, Nexus 7 and Sprint Galaxy Nexus as the only devices offering an update that is now over three months old.

Too Many Questions

Does it mean that owners will have to wait an absurd amount of time as manufacturers get Android 4.2 out first and then deliver Android 5.0? Does it mean that Android 5.0 won’t be coming until later in the year?

Which current devices will be getting Android 4.2 Jelly Bean? And will owners have to again wait three months or more for Android 5.0 answers like they have had to with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean?

When will the Verizon Galaxy Nexus update arrive with its brand new features like the gesture-enhanced keyboard and all the other useful features of Android 4.2?

android-key-lime-pie-evolution-of-android-640x128-575x1151

Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie is rumored for Google I/O.

The fact that I can’t answer any of these questions is one of the main reasons why I will forever again have a hard time buying into Android. Too much silence, too much uncertainty and too much inconsistency.

And I am afraid things are only going to get worse as manufacturers load up their devices with their unique software features, ones that aren’t native to Android, as they try and separate their devices from the rest of the Android pack.

For now though, all I can do is wait for Verizon to deliver my Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update to my Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Whenever that may be.

8 Comments

  1. jvh

    02/26/2013 at 3:58 pm

    or you can root it and flash it on there yourself…just sayin’.

  2. JeffGr

    02/26/2013 at 4:07 pm

    I suspect one of the reasons why upgrades to 4.2 have been slow is that some of the most prominent features, specifically the improvements to Google Now and GMail, have been distributed to devices on the earlier versions via stock app updates. The most prominent 4.2 updates that don’t fall in this category are lock screen widgets and the camera application improvements, but both of those are often supplanted by manufacturer customizations in non-Nexus devices.

    Because of these things, I suspect this upgrade isn’t being treated as much of a priority by most companies. To be honest, I doubt that most end users would even notice much of a difference between 4.1 and 4.2.

  3. He

    02/26/2013 at 5:11 pm

    Here’s what I heard directly from Verizon:

    Thank you for your email regarding the software updates to the Galaxy Nexus. . We have been inundated with emails, but are working diligently to get back to the level of excellence that you expect and deserve.

    Verizon Wireless is the final stage in getting your software update, as Google and Samsung have to fine tune the updates, and then they have to be approved by Verizon. We will not allow untested or unproven software on our network, as it could cause a problem for the network, and our customers. We want all of our customers to have an excellent experience.

    I know so many people, customers and employees who are also waiting for the updates from Verizon. The Galaxy Nexus is a great phone and we are aware that we are behind on the updates. We are not trying to “forget” our Galaxy Nexus customers, but we do have some sort of discrepancy that is affecting the update, and until the discrepancy can be worked out, the update will not be released. It is so very important that the update work, and not cause conflicts on the network. We all wait patiently, as we know that the problems will be fixed, and the updates will come.

    Again, I am sorry that the updates are not yet ready for release. I wish I had more specific information to give you, but I am not privy to the technical in and outs of our software updates. Only Google, Samsung and the Verizon teams that are working the fix know what it is and when it will be ready.

  4. SAR

    02/26/2013 at 5:31 pm

    This is the exact reason I left Verizon and went back to T-Mobile to pick up the Note 2 (well, this and the fact that I seemed to have better coverage in San Diego County with T-Mo than with VZW, and far less connectivity issues as well).
    While I’m still waiting for my 4.2 update from T-Mo for my Note 2 their track record is far superior to Verizon in rolling out updates, and I’m confident that my non-nexus device will see this update before the VZW Galaxy Nexus.
    What I read from the post above in the email from Verizon customer support is this (I’m paraphrasing):
    “We are sorry the update is taking so long. We want you to believe we care about you, but we really don’t. We will release this update when we are good and ready and not a second before. We will not release this update until we are 100% certain we can still control every single thing you do with your phone on our network”.
    Verizon exhibits the same exact walled garden approach to their network that Apple displays in their products which is precisely the reason I refuse to own an ios device. Verizon should just stop supporting Android all together, and get in bed with Apple since they seem to have the same attitude towards controlling their customers.

  5. first last

    02/26/2013 at 6:24 pm

    What a pointless article. So your a journalist huh? Do some journalism. Call Google and Verizon. Demand that the update, that everyone knows work, be released. By pass Verizon if need be. If you were a journalist, you would know Verizon isn’t testing anything. When and if it it’s released, it will be exactly as Google supplied it to them many months ago. It’s all about money for Verizon at this point. The experiment that was the galaxy nexus was a colossal failure for them, (self inflicted) as well as Samsung and Google. They want nothing to do with it and as far as Verizon is concerned. It is an out of warranty, (for most) product they no longer sell. Any effort they put into it now and in the future will be minimal at best, if any at all. In fact Verizon constantly blames Google and Samsung and they blame Verizon.
    As to the fake, non corporate response letter, the person before me took the time to write and then post….. LOL.
    Seriously, why even bother making that crap up?
    It’s so blatantly fake, it’s laughable.

  6. He

    02/26/2013 at 6:37 pm

    I would have included the actual name and email address of the Verizon person who replied to my request, but for those who might misuse it, I did not. What I posted is real. You may complain about what is said, but that is an actual response from Verizon if you believe it or not.

  7. Ryan Terry

    02/26/2013 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks so much for recycling the same BS story every single day just so this post appears as most recent under News in a Google search. Another completely useless old-news article from Gotta Be Mobile, what a surprise.

  8. chinolashtla

    02/28/2013 at 12:10 am

    been a Verizon customer my self, all I can say is. Verizon just loves my money, and loves selling phones loaded with verizon’s garbage, I no longer care about Verizon and its cellphones full of sh**, I’m not waiting for them to update my galaxy nexus because I already know its not they’re priority. i all I have to do now is learn from my mistakes and never buy a phone that has a Verizon logo on it, because it really means headaches, frustrations, and a playing stupid game between carrier, manufacturer, and customer, once my contract is up, I will head to Google.com & buy a phone that is a true Google phone, I just hope Verizon keeps on treating they’re paying customer like they’re morons that will always believe what big red says.

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