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Google Further Explains Removal of CDMA devices from Developer List

So the huge debacle that caused mass chaos on the streets Friday has us all up in arms, when google removed the Galaxy Nexus from their list of supported devices. Their explanation was very brief and left many scratching their heads. They have released another statement that more clearly explains why the device was removed. It turns out that Google can not lock down licenses for CDMA binaries the same way that they can for GSM devices. So they had to remove it from their developer pages to appropriately represent this. However The new statement reassures us that the device is still a Nexus device and will be supported for future updates. So there is nothing to be worried about. Nothing to see here!


Full message below.

Hi, all! Thanks for all the questions. Here’s a quick omnibus to answer the questions folks have asked…

First, just to be clear this change is only related to AOSP support for these devices — that is, personal custom builds. These are obviously still officially-supported Nexus devices for everyday use, they will receive official software updates, and so on. Similarly, these are still fully-supported development devices for app developers.

Second, as I noted at the top of the thread, Nexus devices will still have unlocked bootloaders, and we’ll continue to make available as many of the closed-source binaries as we can. CDMA support in AOSP has always been more challenging than GSM, and this change is a reflection of that reality.

On that topic, here’s a quick clarification on the core issue. Every device has a number of closed-source software packages included on it. Though Google distributes some of these binaries for Nexus devices for use with AOSP, Google does not own the software. Rather, this software is variously owned by the device manufacturer, the carrier, and their suppliers. We try to get distribution rights for as many of these binaries as possible, but in some cases it is difficult or impossible to obtain these rights. (CDMA specifically has a tricky history of intellectual property.) Combined with the technical issues of needing to sign the apks correctly, this has prevented us from obtaining the distribution rights we need to support these devices in AOSP.

Finally, we will of course continue to work on improving support. If we can resolve these issues, we’ll certainly restore CDMA support to AOSP. In the meantime, we’ve updated our docs to be more accurate about the degree of support.