Welp, folks, the ride is over. The Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus — the first of its kind, in fact — has finally reached end-of-life status. The Galaxy Nexus was the third Nexus device to grace the airwaves of the world, but it was the first Nexus device Verizon decided to try its hand at. While that hand was very far from perfect, the device was still decent success for the carrier and it made folks hopeful for the future of truly open devices on Big Red’s network.
Unfortunately, a few glaring issues plagued its existence. For starters, because Verizon’s LTE technology was proprietary Google was forced to go through their pipeline for firmware updates. The promise of a Nexus device was always that users would get updates fast and first, but updates for Verizon’s version were delayed weeks and months at a time due to the testing and certification process they have to go through. While those of us keen on rooting and ROM’ing devices didn’t have much of an issue with that, it’s clear to see why others didn’t take quite as kindly.
Another big bruise on an otherwise attractive package was Verizon’s need to control access to the device’s secure element. The NFC chip housed the element, and it’s something that is needed in order to allow full access to Google Wallet’s NFC payment features. For some reason, Verizon wouldn’t let Google — of all people — get that deep. This obviously led many to believe Verizon simply didn’t want Google Wallet competing with its own payments solution ISIS, as the latter continues to be the only service with access to the secure element.
It’s hard to say how Google felt about the way Verizon handled the Galaxy Nexus without being able to sit in on those uber private board meetings and conference calls, but we imagine it left a very sour taste in the search giant’s mouth. The future of the Nexus brand on Verizon is uncertain as a result, and although it looks like the carrier might still be getting a Nexus-esque phone (if recent Motorola X rumors are to be believed) it still won’t quite be the same.
The Verizon Galaxy Nexus will live on through sites like eBay and Craigslist and will continue to be backed by the most passionate development community there is, but don’t expect to walk into a Verizon store and see it paraded around any longer.