I have voiced my opinion on how lousy this Galaxy Nexus launch (or lack thereof) has been several times now. Google and Samsung both could have been a little more prepared at their keynote in mid-October. They promised the Galaxy Nexus would launch in November, which it did. But they could have been a little more clear as to what that actually meant. It launched in the UK in November. Here in the States, however, we've yet to hear any official word on when the Galaxy Nexus will arrive. It appears to only be days away, but that's only guesswork.
And although the naming blunder by Best Buy and Amazon was in fact a slip-up (which I assumed it was anyway), Google has still lost the initiative with the Galaxy Nexus. They broke their short-lived naming scheme to more closely relate the Samsung-made Nexus to the world renowned Galaxy S series, also by Samsung.
These missteps, however, don't stop there. They continue down the chain, all the way to Verizon, where Google has allowed itself to be trampled and thrown around by Big Red. Let's take a second to count all of the different Nexus versions to date that have shipped with carrier bloatware, carrier branding or any other unsightly carrier intervention. None, right?
The LTE-capable Galaxy Nexus slated to hit Verizon shelves in the near future will likely change all of that. It is expected to come with a few pre-loaded apps from Verizon and VZW's 4G LTE branding on the battery door. And remember Google's NFC payment option, Google Wallet? The latest word on the street is that Verizon will be stepping in and removing Google Wallet from their first Nexus, too.
After my last Galaxy Nexus article, some colleagues, friends and even readers have called me out. They stated that regardless of what it is named, regardless of what the phone ships with, it's still a Nexus. It's still a more pure Android experience than you can expect to get out of your run-of-the-mill Android phone. Oh, and that I need to quit worrying about petty details.
That may be partially true, and I don't expect the Nexus to be Google's iPhone. It doesn't need or have to be. But it does need to be the purest Android experience possible. People buy Nexus phones to avoid manufacturers and carriers mucking up the device's interface with unnecessary visuals and bloatware. Otherwise, it is just another Android phone. A few measly carrier apps are pretty harmless and easily disabled or removed. But they're just as easily left off the device's stock software and downloaded from Android Market.
To be fair, as Phil Nickinson of Android Central explains, the only phone to officially have access to Google Wallet thus far is the Nexus S 4G on Sprint. The AT&T nor the T-Mobile Nexus S iterations have official access to Google Wallet yet, and it appears as if ISIS, a direct competitor of Google Wallet that is supported by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, may be the cause of the absence of Google Wallet on these Nexus devices.
I can understand skipping Google Wallet on existing devices as it was not present in the original terms between manufacturers and carriers. But a new device? Google should not allow a new device to ship without official access to Google Wallet. The good part for us is that Google Wallet can be hacked to work on devices other than the Nexus S 4G. It's the principle of the matter, though. Google Wallet is a strong initiative of Google's and they need to stick to their guns. By letting everyone team up against them in favor of ISIS, Google Wallet will never survive.
Call me crazy and petty, but I've given up on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, solely on principle. Removing carrier bloat and adding Google Wallet can be done with relative ease. But the fact that the few apps are even there to begin with gets under my skin. Also, I decided I would rather have a Galaxy Nexus on T-Mobile instead, and I am waiting on an international version. I didn't purchase another phone since the US Galaxy Nexus missed the November window like I said I would just yet either, as I am mincing at the thought of buying another Verizon iPhone 4S no-contract.
Anyway, tell me, readers. Do carrier branding, bloatware and interference change your opinion of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus? Would you prefer an international version instead? Or will you buy the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, regardless, for blistering LTE speeds and to stick with your carrier?
Image via The Verge