back to article Google limits Android support for CDMA phones

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 …

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WTF?

real impact?

I'm typing this from a custom build on a galaxy nexus lte that makes calls fine. So I'm not sure there's any practical downside.

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Anonymous Coward

It does in the meantime, as the article says the code rot will start now and custom builds are no long supported.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Code rot? It's a carrier thing, not a Google thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes, code rot

Seems you're not understanding what's going on Craigness, nothing to do with carriers...

From Google themselves:

"Now, here's how things are likely to look in the future for those CDMA devices:

- Most likely, the relevant source files will continue being in the

Android source tree.

- Quite likely, it will be possible to actually compile that code.

- We plan to continue to distribute factory images for Galaxy Nexus

and proprietary binaries for all relevant devices, where we can.

- There won't be any testing done on AOSP builds for those CDMA

devices, so they'll probably bit-rot.

- CDMA devices won't be targeted by improvements in the way AOSP

builds can be installed or distributed. "

https://groups.google.com/group/android-platform/browse_thread/thread/10c8db7b1c893e1e

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Anonymous Coward

I smell BS

Last week

"Thank you for using us to search the web, store your email and documents, place phone calls and find yourself on GPS. We've decided if you want to keep doing this (and your 2 year contract says you do) then you have to let us scrape any and all data we like, get some geezer who says he's trustworthy to "process" it and then we'll store it and assume that we can use it to accurately profile you as a person. The we'll make it all available to the feds in case they want to deport you from your home country for copying that Britney CD"

Now:

"Oh, and we noticed that anyone using a non-standard version of the software from us is, erm, having problems with it no working. Yup, all this time they've been unable to make calls or something because we didn't sign it. Yeah, if you don't get it from us the software definately won't work"

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"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.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Google didn't sign what?

"all this time they've been unable to make calls or something because we didn't sign it"

I know it's politically correct to be dishonest when commenting on google, but you should at least show some intelligence when you do it. The phones do work, and the signing issue involves the carriers. What can google do to make sure that a signed file from a carrier can be used on any ROM compiled by anyone with any signature or with none? Tell us that!

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FAIL

Can el reg auto-insert a FAIL icon for anti-google anonytards? all they ever do is fail.

"From Google themselves..." Turns out I understood it perfectly: google is doing all they can but there is a problem with what the carriers do.

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FAIL

Tempest in a tea pot

Actually, this is more like "Space invaders in a tea pot". While CDMA may not matter much in Blighty, it is VERY important in the third most populated country on Earth (after China and India). Google isn't going to screw that over.

Yes, it's unfortunate that the design of CDMA-2000 and EV-DO are such that phone manufacturers don't have as clear a separation of the security data from the rest of the phone (no SIM, unlike GSM), and as such, you aren't going to put a completely from scratch signed by you set of firmware on the phone without breaking the bit that makes it, well, a phone, but that doesn't mean that your Verizon or Sprint phone will suddenly stop working just because of an update from the carrier. In this way, there isn't much difference between Android and IOS.

So this is "let's completely misread what was said and try to work up our 15 minute hate for teh Google".

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Devil

Seconded

GSM on Android is going in the same direction too. Granted security functions are in the SIM. That is least likely to change very soon and even if it changes at app level it will probably look the same - so far so good.

The radio functionality so far has been in separate baseband chips. As Android marches downmarket pushing against S40 and Bada it will have no choice but to start running on cheaper baseband+CPU and single chip systems. At the very best these need huge firmware blobs. At worst they do some of the work in software.

1. There is no way such a phone can retain its FCC and CE certifications while running a fully custom build so if google does what the regulators require nobody should blame them for once. The law is an ass, but its the law.

2. The firmware and/or binary blobs for these will often show up exactly as this - vendor apks. So not different from CDMA really.

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Linux

I would add that US Cellular to that list of CDMA providers. My CDMA Palm Pre has a SIM. In fact all the phones that I've ever had (had Nextel before Sprint) all had SIM's. The US Network is headed for LTE. How long that takes for that to happen in rural states with low population states like Maine where I live, remains to be seen. The big population centers and the US midwest where it's easy to do get it first.

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Anonymous Coward

LTE?

What about LTE, is Google dropping AOSP support for that too? It has similar "licensing" as CDMA/EV-DO does.

Sounds like Google found the perfect excuse. Two years from now there will be no AOSP if so.

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Headmaster

Ahem...

That's "affected", innit?

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WTF?

So does this mean in future I won't be able run custom roms on my CDMA Galaxy Nexus?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge

Google is looking Sheepish.

The problem with open source is that it is the user who wins, not the corporates wanting all your money.

The future for them is Windows and IOS where users are much easier to fleece.

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Gold badge

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.

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Solution: Is it possible the same signing key as the CDMA .apk binaries?

Please educate me here:

"when an individual creates a custom build from the AOSP source code, they don't use the same signing key as these CDMA flies [sic] were signed with."

Would a solution not be to use the same signing key as the CDMA .apk binaries?

Or is such a key not disclosed? I would guess so, as if not then this wouldn't be a problem.

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Thumb Up

"Samsuing Galaxy Nexus"

Not sure if that was an intentional munging of the Korean tech giant's name, but quite apt nonetheless and it tickled me!

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Bronze badge

It does seem bizarre to me: the .apk file itself can be distributed OK, signed with a key which enables it to work on other systems - why does it matter if the key that signed it is the same one that signed other binaries on the system? Presumably in order to connect to Verizon, there is a check "is phone .apk signed by Verizon?" What does it matter if other binaries are signed with Google's key, my key or a key from a random shady character in Moscow?

If Android only lets you have one key in use for signing everything on the handset, that's dumb and should be fixable without any effect on anything else - unless it's some sort of TPM DRM, so only code signed with "the key" can be used and changing that to a non-Verizon key means no more Verizon access?

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Go

Funny as all hell. I can hardly wait to see, hear and read the consternation. Should be another smart phone three ring circus for those of use who love watching the sheeple squirm, grouse and beg.

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Mushroom

"Send Corrections"

I call shenanigans on this new 'feature'. It is a total joke.

Loyal Reg readers, do not bother to kindly notify el Reg of any corrections you may notice are required in the articles. Your submissions will not be taken notice of.

This 'feature' has been created specifically to completely ignore and turn a blind eye to the lack of quality, rampant technical inaccuracy and complete absence of an editorial process evident from typical Reg articles.

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Alert

What?

Did you try to send a correction, and it didn't send? I sincerely hope you didn't expect that a change would be made; obviously, that would require a button marked "MAKE Corrections" rather than the slightly less useful "SEND Corrections" button. It's a subtle difference, but one which I think you should note.

And furthermore, if you were looking for quality, technical accuracy, and a complete editorial process, why are you reading the news? There is plenty of Fine Literature out there that has undergone a careful scrutiny that surely would pass even your muster.

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Anonymous Coward

The only author who listened to corrections afaik was Dan Goodin.

No wonder he left El Reg for ArsTecnica recently.

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Facepalm

I am reading the news

because I want to be informed of the news.

I have submitted a number of corrections over the last week. They are all obvious and easy to correct. However, none of the corrections have been made and no kind of feedback has been received.

Of course I waited a reasonable time to confirm that my observations were correct before making a statement as such.

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Stop

Also

Although el Reg comprises journalists and not systems administrators, I am sure they can successfully set up a new box for corrections on their existing, working messaging system.

Which means that someone has received the messages, and that person has decided to ignore them and not carry out their job properly.

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Silver badge

It's hard to believe that an organization that provides you with content free of charge would not jump to fulfill your every whim. Damned impertinence, I say. Send in the hounds.

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