I bought a Galaxy Nexus! (and found a bug?) – Updated (4/3/12)

So last post I mentioned how I would wait to purchase the next-gen Nexus (based on an ARM Cortex-A15 design), yet.. someone bought my Nexus S so I decided to upgrade to a Galaxy Nexus.

My first Android phone was the Nexus One (GSM), purchased unlocked. My second was the Nexus S, bought through AT&T on contract. This is my third phone, also purchased unlocked Galaxy Nexus (GSM).

I purchased the Galaxy Nexus at the very excellent store Popular Electronics. This was my first time walking into the store, much less purchasing anything from there. I live in Chicago, and this store was close to my house. I saw their ad on Craigslist and walked into the store. I immediately liked the guy who was selling me the phone, he understood his products well and he stood by his products. Sure Amazon was about $30 cheaper, but I liked that I bought the phone from a physical store near my home.

I was with my wife when I purchased the phone so I didn’t get to play with it immediately.. she did. As I was driving back she was playing around with the phone and told me she got a message to update from Samsung. Uh-oh, I don’t have yakju, I must have yakjuxw. When I got home, I checked using Astro, and sure enough:


So I went to work and eventually flashed yakju onto the phone, voila:


Everything’s perfect, right? Now I have the ‘true’ Android build, from Google? Updates will be from google, as the “ro.build.host” is no longer Dell (harhar). Great! Except…

Google Talk over 3G

One of my favorite things about Android is the Google Talk (here on referred to as “Talk”) integration. I especially love that I can video chat with anyone who has video capabilities. Unlike Facetime, the users of Talk simply need to be using Talk, it doesn’t matter if your computer is a Sony, or HP, or whatever, and that your webcam is a Microsoft or Logitech webcam. Facetime of course requires you to be using an Apple hardware (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or a Mac).

However most carriers restrict both Apple’s Facetime and Talk on mobile phones to only operate on wifi networks. I got around this restriction on the Nexus S by rooting the phone, and editing a key database flag within the Talk application. I had to do this with Gingerbread and also the Ice Cream Sandwich build I hacked to work on the AT&T Nexus S (because December through April 2012, Ice Cream Sandwich wasn’t available on the AT&T Nexus S).

I figured then, that with my unlocked vanilla Android Ice Cream Sandwich build on the Galaxy Nexus I would not have such silly restrictions. Of course I was wrong. With my Galaxy Nexus, Talk video is blocked over 3G. Sort of. See my video below. Video is available in high-def! (apologies for audio, and general unfocusness).

Google Talk Video Chat over 3G, AT&T, on Galaxy Nexus

So then I just need to root my phone, like I did with my Nexus S right?

Why I’d prefer not to root my Galaxy Nexus

I want to support the Google Play store. After I rooted my Nexus S, I could no longer playback movies I purchased/rented through the Market/Play store. Also Google Wallet support was questionable with rooted devices.

So, Google, please stop caving to carriers and enable this feature in your flagship devices. Those who purchase your flagship devices should get some perks, right? Also, you’re not doing a good job of blocking this feature in the first place. It’s half-broken, and so it’s super frustrating.


#Update 4/3/12

The bug above was with the GSM Galaxy Nexus running yakju 4.0.2. Yesterday (4/2/12) I received the OTA 4.0.4 update and now I cannot initiate Google Talk video chat over 3G/HSPA+ even with the little trick I recorded above.

Looks as though I will have to root the phone and forgo any hope of being able to rent/purchase video over Google Play. I blame Google more than AT&T.


7 thoughts on “I bought a Galaxy Nexus! (and found a bug?) – Updated (4/3/12)

  1. So I didn’t actually watch the full video the first time through. Once I did, I figured that trying it from within the chat wouldn’t work, just like you showed. I was surprised that it worked whether I was in the chat itself or in the Google Talk list. It worked whether I initiated the chat from my computer or from my phone. I wonder if AT&T are trying to block it, but they didn’t fully block it. Weird.

    • Exactly .. it is weird. My guess is Talk video initiated from the computer to my phone or from within a chat box must use a specific port or something that AT&T can easily block? And for some reason sending the request through the video icon in the buddy list doesn’t use the same request methods, and so is able to bypass any block from AT&T.

      The Nexus S, once rooted and adjusted, had no problems initiating whatsoever.

      The nice thing about the Galaxy Nexus is that I have the option to leave AT&T and go to T-Mobile, as it’s a pentaband phone and I can still get 3G/HSPA on T-Mobile.

  2. So update — 4.0.4 has killed this bug. At least over AT&T, I can no longer initiate video chat over 3G/HSPA+ no matter what. I think I’m going to root now, since I don’t really rent/purchase videos from Google Play and I can still use Google Wallet while rooted. Still I would have loved the option of being able to rent/buy videos on Google Play on the go.

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