Google limits Android support for CDMA phones
Android power users may face hobbled handsets
Google is dropping full support for CDMA handsets running Android, leaving millions of customers wondering if their phones and tablets will be able to cope.
Last Friday, Google posted a message on Google Groups to say that in the future, the Chocolate Factory wouldn’t provide full support for CDMA devices, such as those supported by Verizon – and, presumably, China Telecom and other CDMA-system users. It also amended the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) website
“For various technical reasons, recent CDMA Android devices implement core telephony functionality in .apk files provided in binary form by the carriers,” said the posting. “To function correctly, these .apk files must be signed by the so-called 'platform' key. However, when an individual creates a custom build from the AOSP source code, they don't use the same signing key as these CDMA flies were signed with. The result is that these files don't work properly, and pure AOSP builds running on these devices can't place calls, access mobile data, and so on. “
The news caused a storm of protest among users concerned that their handsets, like the recently launched Samsuing Galaxy Nexus, would no longer be supported. Many suggested this was a result of Google’s ongoing spat with Verizon over the Google Wallet payment system. On Monday, however, Google clarified its position, saying that there was no need for panic: mainstream devices would still be supported, just not custom builds.
“Just to be clear this change is only related to AOSP support for these devices – that is, personal custom builds,” said a new posting from Android engineer Dan Morrill. “These are obviously still officially-supported Nexus devices for everyday use, they will receive official software updates, and so on. Similarly, these are still fully-supported development devices for app developers.”
While this answer will reassure many, there are still questions over the issues that linger, particularly for Android power users who are looking to customize their own handsets. There's also uncertainty about what this new policy might mean for CDMA users of Android worldwide, and if other devices such as tablets running Android will be effected.
El Reg contacted Google for clarification, but no answer has yet been received. ®
That sounds like a soundbite to me. What's so open about Android? it's more like adandonware to me. The current release is developed in private by a selected bunch of developers and then the code base is opened or "abandoned" once released.
It's Google who chooses if they want to open it or not, it is Google who controls who can work on Android. It is Google who can limit who gets access to the code before it is released (so people can develop phones with it).
Google is one of the big corps you talk about, they control it and it is their product. It isn't owned by the people, so I'm not sure what you're on about.
"Seems you're not understanding what's going on Craigness, nothing to do with carriers..."
Actually it has a lot to do with carriers. What Google are saying is that the CDMA specific part of the Android stack is provided by the carrier or manufacturer of the phone and they (Google) don't have the legal right to include it in AOSP. What this means is that unless the carrier is prepared to release this into the project you won't get any custom builds from now, you'll need to rely on official builds. So this is precisely a carrier/ phone manufacturer problem. They are unlikely to release their CDMA binaries into the project so they need to step up and support them better.
That's "affected", innit?