The Nexus is dead
The "Nexus"... stuck on ICS
Let me preface this post by saying that I am a user of Android and it is in fact my operating system of choice. I actually quite like it. But its time for some tough love.
The Nexus is dead.
Why is this? Let me tell you a story. In our story I have recommended the Galaxy Nexus to a friend. I think it is a great phone with great updates at a even greater price, so I tell him to buy it. He is in the middle of a contract, so he is going to buy it outright. I tell him that Google is selling it for $350, and there is much rejoicing. But when it comes to actually purchasing it, we come to our first problem. As a Canadian, Google will not sell me the Galaxy Nexus. So we look elsewhere, and find that the cheapest you can find it online is $420... But since its still a great deal, my friend goes ahead and purchases the phone. When the phone arrives, the next more sinister problem surfaces. We discover that it has not been updated to Jellybean. And in fact, Google is not the one doing the updating at all. Its.... Samsung. It is there the Nexus lies dead.
Android's update system has been a mess. People have been talking about fragmentation for years. But the Nexus program was always seen as a way to be free of Samsung, Sony, Motorola and HTC's shackles. Pure Android. Quick updates. If you want to get the latest version of Android, get a Nexus device. Google will update the phone themselves. Simple as that. But with the Galaxy Nexus, at least internationally, that promise has gone unfulfilled. When buying the Nexus at a source other than Google there is no way to tell if it is a Google updated Nexus or a Samsung updated Nexus. Which is a major problem, as its supposed to be the no worries about updates brand. Now purchasing an Android phone is even more confusing. Get a skinned phone - probably won't get updates fast if at all. Get a Nexus - get fast updates? Maybe? No one wants to worry about yak-something or tak-whatever when they're buying their phone.
And while the situation is bad internationally, things don't get much better in the United States. Verizon and Sprint Nexus phones are getting super slow updates as well. Buying anywhere but the Play Store could leave you stranded on 4.0.1. While the typical answer has always been "just buy it from Google," ordinary consumers don't know enough to avoid BestBuy or their carrier when given a recommendation. While Google opening up Nexus sales to countries other than the United States would help knowledgeable people like me, it still doesn't solve the deeper problem. That you cannot confidently say that a Nexus will be the latest Google experience. Wasn't that the whole point?