Disgruntled Galaxy Nexus owners launch petition for Android 4.4 upgrade, ignoring the technical reasons in the process


Galaxy Nexus denialThe beloved Galaxy Nexus was once Google’s pride, a significant carrier that introduced Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) to the world. Yet almost 2 years later one it would seem obvious that the ticking clock would signal the end of Android upgrades for the handset

Google officially unveiled Android 4.4 KitKat last week, aiming high while considerably reducing the memory footprint of the latter by optimized the code and improving memory management, the company even went as far to claim that it would run on low end handsets with 512MB* of usable RAM. But it also happens that Google denied the upgrade for the Galaxy Nexus – citing that their 18-month support period came to a close.

With Android 4.4 KitKat set to hit all currently supported Nexus devices via OTA next week some may wonder why the bits won’t be made available to the aging Galaxy Nexus. Well, here’s the catch. – At the heart of the device lies a TI OMAP SoC and as you may be probably aware Texas instruments went out of the SoC business a while back thus the availability of continued platform kernel sources has been disrupted. This basically mean that Google is incapable of engineering a proper KitKat firmware for the Galaxy Nexus without the TI sources.

Texas_Instruments_OMAP_4460_828345The developer community nonetheless managed to port the AOSP code to the Galaxy Nexus but a lot of persistent issues especially related to Wi-Fi and SurfaceFlinger remain. – And It’s highly unlikely that those would ever be fully fixed anytime soon even if the developer community may eventually find implement some crazy workarounds. With that being said, Google had its reasons, they sure could have taken a whole lot of time to carefully port the required code and implement a fix but that would be deemed too resource costly and the resulting firmware would likely be half baked if not technically inconsistent with Android 4.4’s changes given the Galaxy Nexus aging sources.

Disgruntled users who seemingly can’t see the bigger picture have taken it to Change.org with a petition aimed at Sundar Pichai, it’ll be interesting to see how this manages to take off in the coming days but don’t hold your breath, Google isn’t simply going to step out of its release cycle and magically offer Galaxy Nexus owners the new chocolate treat. On a side note it would be wiser to direct a petition at Texas Instruments if users really want change in the right direction.

We understand the frustration of those users but it’s time to move on, view this as a positive change and grab a brand new shiny Nexus 5!

* We’ve seen a lot of media hype and some folks reading into “512mb” as being the minimum RAM requirement for Kitkat but this does not mean a sudden resurrection of older hardware, there are dependencies beyond the RAM (such as the memory transition from PMEM, NVRAM, CMEM etc. to ION allocation).