Why the Australian Nexus lags behind, and how you can fix it
It’s a common idea to think that the Google-branded phones (Nexus, Nexus S, etc) all receive their updates straight from the big G, but down under it doesn’t swing that way. Down under we suffer delays from our own carriers.If your Nexus was purchased from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, then your phone runs an Ice Cream Sandwich ROM known as “YAKJUXW”, a ROM that does not get updates from Google, but rather from the carrier your phone is connected to. This allows carriers to customise each Android ROM accordingly to its network standards, as well as to include bloatware for users.
Samsung, in a statement to Gizmodo Australia, revealed that the update process follows this method:
1. Google releases ICS update
2. Samsung checks to make sure the update works with its hardware
3. Samsung releases the update to carriers
4. Carriers check to make sure the update works with their respective network infrastructures
5. Carriers release update to customers
As much as this process is a lengthy one, and one that may agitate users, it does have some benefits. The first being able to connect to your carrier in the most optimised way, hence faster download/upload speeds, as well almost eliminating call dropping. And the second being carriers are allowed to add some of the network’s rich features, such as Telstra’s HD voice.
But still, even with carrier optimisation, the paying user still misses out on some essential bug fixes and Android optimisations, with an example being the last update to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3.
This update brings:
A number of bug fixes and optimizations, and offered improvements to graphics, databases, spell-checking and Bluetooth functionality, along with new APIs for developers, including a social stream API in the Contacts provider. Other features included Calendar provider enhancements, new camera apps enhancing video stabilization and QVGA resolution, and accessibility refinements such as improved content access for screen readers.
With each update comes key and essential fixes. Due to Australia being a pawn to Carrier specific updates, us Aussies are yet to see these issues addressed on our Galaxy Nexus’. The last update approved for the three major carriers are the 4.0.1 and 4.0.2 updates.
0.1 is the stock ICS version found on all Galaxy Nexus phones. 4.0.2 brought minor fixes for American carriers, but is still found on some Australian GNex’s.
How You Can Fix It
As much as Australian Carriers may try to have some control over its users (such as bloatware or custom ROMs), there is a way for Galaxy Nexus users to get around it.
From a tutorial I have found over at XDA, it is possible (and quite easy) to resort back to Google’s/Samsung’s original ROMs, with OTA updates direct from the Big G. Make sure to check the disclaimer (below) before attempting this.
The tutorial goes as follows:
- Download the USB driver and firmware files to Windows (may take multiple tries, keep trying).
- Link: http://samsung.de/de/support/detail.aspx?aguid=3d722dbc-9813-4d08-b5b7-5772e168e9e4
- Run USB driver app in Windows, reboot Windows
- Run firmware app in Windows
- Put phone in download mode (power off, volume down + power on, plug USB cable in) in firmware app, click start!
- You’re now yakju with latest Google ITL41F.
Disclaimer Note: Android Australia does not take any responsibility if the user should damage their device in attempting to install Google’s/Samsung’s own ROM. Android Australia does also not take any responsibility if a user were to void their warranty in attempting this installation, please check with your Carrier before attempting to do so.