Google’s new Nexus 5 smartphone ships with Android 4.4 KitKat. The company also plans to offer Android 4.4 as a software update for the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 in the coming weeks.

Notice anything missing? The Samsung Galaxy Nexus won’t be getting an Android 4.4 update from Google. That’s despite the fact that the company specifically designed the latest version of Android to perform well on devices with older and less powerful hardware.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

The only reason Google is giving for not bringing the update to the aging phone is that it was released more than 18 months ago, and Google only “traditionally” provides updates for a year and a half.

Google introduced the Galaxy Nexus just over 2 years ago, on October 18th, 2011. It originally shipped with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but has since been updated to run Android 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 respectively. Officially, that’s the end of the line.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus didn’t generate as much hype as the Nexus 4 and other more recent devices, so while I haven’t seen sales figures, I wouldn’t be surprised if fewer people have that phone than newer Nexus devices. If that’s the case, it’s unsurprising (if a little disappointing) to see Google drop support.

Fortunately one of the things that makes Nexus devices special is that it’s easy to unlock the bootloader and install custom ROMs — and it’s likely that many of the people who already have Galaxy Nexus phones are geeky folks who might not be intimated by doing that (if they haven’t already).

So it probably won’t take long for folks to port Android 4.4 to run on the device or build custom ROMs for the phone around Google’s new operating system.

Update: Nope, it didn’t take long at all. the first Android 4.4 ROMs for the Galaxy Nexus started popping up the day after Google released the source code for KitKat.

On the other hand, it’s not like you need Android 4.4 to get a lot out of your phone. Google is also continually updating the Google Play Services framework and core apps such as Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Search with new features which will make their way to phones running older versions of Android, which means the Galaxy Nexus likely still has some life in it, whether you’re running stock Android or a custom ROM.

via Droid Life

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16 replies on “Android 4.4 might support older phones, but not the Galaxy Nexus”

  1. This really sucks. I’d be kind of forced to buy the new Nexus 5. Where is the spirit ?

    Hope the Dev community comes out with something good.

  2. Update: Keep in mind that the Galaxy Nexus runs a Texas Instruments OMAP processor, and TI isn’t really in the mobile game anymore. Can be difficult to support a device when the chipset manufacturer isn’t really around. This is tough news to swallow for many of you, but the phone is now two years old.

    1. Yes it is 2 years old but it still the only decent nexus phone with amoled screen and a removable battery thanks Google you really fucked me I planed on updating and keeping this phone another year till another company could make a nexus with the correct specifications

  3. I have a Nexus, and one thing I like about it is that I can uninstall the latest version of Google Maps so that I have the one with decent navigation, the useful Labs, and “Save as Contact”, all of which are missing from the newer Maps. Whoever lead the work on the newer Maps should be fired.

    1. Seems Google’s new “design is primary” goal is really mucking things up. . . Not very happy with many changes they’ve made design wise over the past year.

  4. I bought my Galaxy Nexus phone in July 2012. I am totally shocked that Google already abandons its own child. How can we trust Google to do business with them again?

    1. It’s pretty sad for those who purchased it close to the Nexus 4 coming out, thus they’ll get less than a year of software support. . . Can’t say that makes Android look inviting.

    2. At least it is easy to root and slap on ClockworkMod and TWRP. That’s the Nexus benefit. It could be due to the fact the company that made the processor went under and they are unable to update the binaries.

  5. Is this to say I can just compile 4.4 source for my HTC Desire (with phone specific drivers and flags) and expect it to work perfectly?

  6. Seems like a ripoff. This phone is only two years old, but doesn’t get the new OS?

    1. Samsung is a competitor in the phone arena now when it wasn’t back then.
      Googarolla doesn’t want to support their competition!

      1. technically, even though it’s made by Samsung, it’s a NEXUS, so it’s their own. updates are Google’s priority, and it seems silly that an OS perfectly optimized to run on the Galaxy Nexus won’t be officially supported.

        1. Apple is still updating iPhone 4 which is three years old. I bought my nexus 4 about 3 months ago and I am regretting it. I will get rid of it while it’s still good and get an iPhone 5S which will last for a long time.

          1. you’ll regret the iPhone more. You will lose the complete freedom with your phone, where you can actually consider your phone your own. The tradeoffs greatly outweigh the benefits.
            Do keep in mind that while Nexus phones will eventually run out of official Google support, this is to be expected when comparing Google and Apple methodologies. Apple drastically overcharges for their phones (like most manufacturers) and relies on carrier subsidies and two-year contracts for people to buy their phones (people in the US don’t just walk in and slap $1000 for a 64 GB iPhone). They also continue to sell the previous two generations of phones with a $100 price reduction. Therefore, since people will buy previous-generation models two years after its release, Apple still continues to update their devices for around three (so people who buy the “free” iPhone get one iOS update). Google sells their phones closer to at-cost because they don’t want to make as much money off of the phone itself (why Android is open-sourced). Therefore, since Nexus devices are off-contract devices with no commitment attached, and that Android is also community-driven, Google doesn’t necessarily have to update each Nexus for three years. Developers and their community continue to support the Nexus line for years after their release.

          2. Actually, the Nexus 5 will be sold by many carriers on contract, and their off contract price seems to be $800, twice the gPlay store. ON contract price is same as iPhone 5s. So. . . if apple produced a 5″ iphone I think I would probably say goodbye to android. . . and there is no point in buying a Nexus unless you need an unlocked device — better devices on the market if you are on contract.

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