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Google Pulls Support For CDMA Devices 272

An anonymous reader writes "Google has just made some interesting changes to their developer pages. As of today, all of the documentation, source code, and firmware images pertaining to CDMA Android devices (including the Verizon Galaxy Nexus) have been removed. A statement from Google explains that the proprietary software required to make these devices fully functional got in the way of Android's open source nature, so CDMA devices are no longer supported as developer hardware. What does this mean for the Galaxy Nexus, which is only available as CDMA in the U.S.?"
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Google Pulls Support For CDMA Devices

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  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @06:26AM (#38933569) Homepage
    Sounds to me like the carriers and Google butted heads on some code, and this is Google putting the pressure on the carriers to open up parts of their software, but that is purely speculation on my part. I'm just curious how this is going to play out with Sprint's rollout of the LTE Google Nexus.
    • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @06:41AM (#38933603)
      Would it be Google vs the carriers, or Google vs the chipset guys, like Qualcomm? B'cos that's where I'd see the most resistance to the thing being OSS - QCOM not wanting OSS drivers that might reveal their chipset software designs.
  • by MisterMidi ( 1119653 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @06:40AM (#38933601) Homepage
    The Galaxy Nexus will continue to work just fine on CDMA. For future models, well, that's another story... Google forces the industry to either open up their firmware or move on to GSM. Good thing, IMO.
    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @09:15AM (#38934159)

      False, Google is simply removing source code from the developer pages because surprise, surprise it didn't work anyway. CDMA as implemented in Android devices relies on a binary blob from the manufacturers. This means AOSP doesn't support CDMA because the code is incomplete.

      The only thing that changes now is that people can stop complaining that the code doesn't work since it now doesn't exist. Carriers / Manufacturers will continue to work together to create binary drivers for CDMA, and anyone wishing to implement AOSP will need to hack at the binary driver to make it work.

      Situation normal.

    • The Galaxy Nexus will continue to work just fine on CDMA. For future models, well, that's another story...

      Google forces the industry to either open up their firmware or move on to GSM. Good thing, IMO.

      It's a good thing.... unless you bought a Galaxy Nexus in the US, and didn't pay a fortune to import a GSM (and slower) version... in which case Google just tossed us out in the cold stripping practically the entire reason for buying a GNEX away.

      But otherwise, it's awesome.. or something....

  • To answer the question "What does this mean for the Galaxy Nexus, which is only available as CDMA in the U.S.?". My understanding is there will still be the HSPA+ version, made for GSM networks, available in the USA, and that Google will continue to support it.
  • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @06:49AM (#38933645) Homepage

    And only for some features []. Consumer phones will of course still be fully supported, receive all updates etc.

    AOSP builds from source have never had full telephony function for CDMA devices due to missing carrier binaries, so Google is moving to clarify this, and is no longer listing CDMA devices as fully supported for developers.

  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @07:02AM (#38933687) Journal

    In Japan, they also have W-CDMA (UMTS), but at least the phones there typically use uSIM cards, which just happen to be similar to GSM SIM cards.

    I can take any unlocked phone that supports UMTS, and put in any uSIM card from any other the 3 major carriers (softbank, au, & docomo) and it will work.

    However in the USA, CMDA based carriers refused to allow any type of uSIM support for their networks, since they want users to be locked down to their networks. Even if you paid the extra $$$ for an unlocked iPhone 4S, you cannot get it work on both Sprint and Verizon the networks. The iPhone unlock is only for GSM not CDMA in the USA. The same is also true for Android phones as well.

    I am very happy to see Google finally stand up against the horrible CMDA situation in the USA. As previous commenters have stated, it would be nice if either CMDA went away, or they followed the example of Japan, and are required to have uSIM cards.

    The goal should be to have every unlocked smart-phone unlocked and able to work with every carrier, but simply inserting a SIM/uSIM card. Personally I think it is horrible that smart-phones are not required to be unlocked, since these phones are typically not subsidized with 2-3 year contacts that covers the full cost of the phone many times over.

    • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @07:19AM (#38933749) Homepage

      "since these phones are typically not subsidized with 2-3 year contacts that covers the full cost of the phone many times over"

      The phones aren't subsidized to the consumer. If you come to AT&T with a fully unlocked phone, you get no discount from their monthly rate.

      Same is true for Verizon and Sprint.

      • T-Mobile is the only one offering this. BYOD, get $20 off per month and no contract. Of course it's not advertised that way, and most consumers would balk at paying for their phone up front, and it'll be the first thing to go if T-Mobile is sold to anyone, but I'll love it while it lasts.
  • The problem that I've always had w/ SIM cards is that they have only a fraction of the capabilities of one's main phone. On the phone, if you are storing the different numbers of a person, as long as you are storing it in the phone memory, you can, under his/her name, store Main#, Home#, Work#, Cell# and Pager#, However, if you wanted to save something like that on a SIM, the SIM would take it down as 5 different numbers, and looking @ them, one wouldn't have a clue.

    In between, I used to notice some sto

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 05, 2012 @08:08AM (#38933937)

      Storing contact info on the SIM is best treated as a secondary, legacy function. For any more complicated set of personal data you're better off exporting it in some standard-ish format your new phone can handle, or syncing it via some external service. Also, at least all the HTC Android phones I've seen seem to have no difficulty pulling the data from other devices via Bluetooth.

      Being able to switch providers or phones by moving SIMs is worth even inputting the contact data manually, imo.

  • This is a bit disappointing to me, or maybe I just don't see the point? I can't forsee the carriers opening up their network infrastructure, getting qualcomm to open up their chipsets, or a move to GSM for these major CDMA carriers any time soon. With these options not possible I don't know what the point of this is (feel free to enlighten me). In the mean time we see damage to the value of the Android platform on the two best networks for Android owners. 1) Sprint has been a major player in the Android
    • Which do you think is stronger, the provider who keeps customers by locking them in or the provider who keeps customers by providing superior service? Which is the better customers, those who stay with you because they are trapped or those who stay with you because they like you?

      • The one who offers the iPhone, as seen from Verizon's results, now that they can sell the iphone...

  • by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @07:49AM (#38933855)

    Google isn't "Dropping" CDMA support. CDMA Android phones aren't going anywhere any time soon - they're just not supporting them as DEVELOPER devices. Due to issues with Custom ROMs not working as best they could (due to the proprietary components required), Google is basically saying that the CDMA Nexus phones are no better than any other non-nexus device when it comes to "official" developer support. They'll still exist, they'll still be sold, updated, etc. but they won't be classed as "Developer devices". That's it.

    This isn't anything new, it was the same case with the Nexus S 4G and even the Xoom.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @09:14AM (#38934153) Homepage

    A few minutes of googling would probably bring me up to speed on the telecom acronyms, but I always thought AT&T and TMobile used GSM and all of the faster technologies were built on top of the GSM framework... EDGE, HSDPA and stuff like that. Similarly, I believed Sprint and Verizon use CDMA based technology and built subsequent enhancements on top of those.

    Here's where my confusion comes in though. Looking at my phone, I go to "Menu" -> "Settings" -> "Wireless and network" -> "Mobile networks" -> "Network mode" and I see three options. One is GSM/WCDMA (Auto mode), another is GSM only and the last is WCDMA only. So now I'm curious about what's going on here.

    I'm packing up for a road trip right now but I hope to come back here and someone who knows what they are talking about will spell it out in simple, understandable terms for me, because clearly, I don't know what I thought I knew.

    • by 21mhz ( 443080 )

      W-CDMA [] is the air interface standard adopted by 3GPP for UMTS cellular networks based on, and backwards compatible with, GSM. It uses basically the same channel access method, called code division multiple access, as the incompatible standard named CDMA which got widely adopted in North America. The consortium responsible for CDMA went their own ways and developed CDMA2000, which is what CDMA carriers use as their 3G network technology.

  • by sgt scrub ( 869860 ) < minus punct> on Sunday February 05, 2012 @11:03AM (#38934647)

    Why does this sound like the decision to allow udev to separate the loadable module from the proprietary firmware? Sound to me like Google is doing nothing more than saying, "You have to pay the license fees to include the firmware for CDMA."

  • Both Sprint and Verizon use CDMA, and account for many millions of Android phone users. Does Google's move mean no more upgrades to their existing phones? And no new phones for them?

    Maybe 3G and 4G aren't "CDMA" as Google defines them. Or maybe this move is a temporary restructuring. Or maybe it's Google forcing some concession from Verizon and Sprint, either in CDMA licensing or something else. Because I can't see the wisdom of Google just cutting off the majority of its US smartphone users.

  • There probably has been a lot of whining in back channels about custom ROM's being created which strip out carrier crap.

    Additionally there is the Motorola deal... umm... Motorola is one of the LARGEST CDMA licensees....hmmmm..

    Something more is afoot, and the lack of transparency , probably due to the BS NDA's etc. is just annoying.

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