Google Inc.'s latest announcement to limit full support for CDMA mobile phones running the Android operating system has millions of customers across the world fretting over the future of their handsets.
A message posted on Google Groups indicated the company would no longer be able to provide the necessary support and also that the affected devices would include those on Verizon, China Telecom and other CDMA-system users. The company has also brought about changes in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Web site.
"For various technical reasons, recent CDMA Android devices implement core telephony functionality in .apk files provided in binary form by the carriers. 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. Because we aim to make sure that we are as clear as possible about the degree of support that devices have, we updated the docs over at source.android.com to reflect this reality," the post revealed.
Meanwhile, customers have, predictably, expressed their concern at the developments. Their concern is exacerbated by news that the newly launched Samsug Galaxy Nexus will also no longer be supported.
Experts believe Google's decision may be the result of its ongoing spat with Verizon over the issue of the Google Wallet payment system.
Google later sought to stem the tide of criticism and claimed there was no need to panic at the moment, given that mainstream devices will continue to be supported. Apparently, only custom builds will not.
"Just to be clear this change is only related to AOSP support for these devices - that is, personal custom builds. 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," Dan Morrill, an Android engineer for the company was quoted as saying in The Register.
Even with the assurance, however, there is still confusion among users of Android-powered devices looking to customize their handsets.