Android smartphone users will often tell you that purchasing a Nexus device is perhaps the smartest thing you can do to avoid fragmentation. Since the Nexus runs official Android software with no carrier customization, it is often considered one of the only devices that you can purchase to ensure getting the latest Android software updates upon release. But, that doesn’t appear to always be the case.
Take the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon Wireless, for example. Despite being a Nexus-branded smartphone, the device has yet to receive the three latest Android software updates. Verizon neglected to seed the Android 4.1.2 update, released in early October, to the Galaxy Nexus. Android 4.2 was then released on November 13 and the device didn’t get that update either. And you can now tack Android 4.2.1 on to that list.
The problem with Android smartphones on carriers is that Google must send a potential Android update to the mobile provider for approval. AT&T, Verizon or whichever carrier add it to the list of software updates to be considered for approval, and then lets Google know if it’s acceptable. If not, Google must get back to the drawing boards and seed an update that the carrier finds more favorable.
If you’re looking to avoid this situation, it appears the best scenario is to purchase a device that isn’t tied to any carrier exclusivity. The new Nexus 4 is not exclusive to any carrier and, therefore, should get Android updates in a timely manner. Nexus devices are supposed to be the loophole device for getting the latest Android firmwares as soon as they drop. Carriers should stop interfering and let that trend continue.