Being that there has been so much fuss over the Sprint Galaxy Nexus' [toroplus] Android update to Jellybean 4.1, I am creating a thread to address all of these issues in one place, as well as introduce some alternatives you may not be contemplating. I will be quoting several things I have already written, as they address many of the reasons why the update has not been released and repeating them wouldn't be neccesary. Also, I will go through the process of how to actually root and manually flash a 4.1 based ROM. Keep in mind that Sprint, nor anyone who works at Sprint is liable for anything you may do during the rooting process, and that this is by your own choice. This is merely how to complete such a process, and by no means an encouragement to do so. You are accepting the risks associated with such and continuing on solely at your own risk.
The main reasonging that you are not seeing an official OTA update for the toroplus is that there has been no direct binary released directly from Google for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus yet. The Nexus S 4G [crespo4g] and the wifi Xoom [wingray] are the only two devices on Sprint's lineup to recieve this direct driver support. The Sprint Galaxy Nexus is an AOSP, Pure Google, device. It is supported by Google, Samsung, and Sprint. It is not, however, a Google Experience Device. This does not meant that your phone will never see updates, nor does it mean that you will never get the latest versions of Android. It merely means they will not be direct from Google, and have to be approved by Samsung, and then Sprint to be pushed to your device; much like the Verizon version of the phone. In all honesty, CDMA carriers work in conjunction with Google to complete this process, and it appears that this collaboration is not yet complete.
Looking in a little further, the Sprint Nexus [toroplus] recieved support for Sprint TV through the last OTA, which indicates that Sprint may be going in their own direction with giving users Jellybean. Much like with how Verizon discluded support for Google Wallet. These additions and subtractions are up to the carrier. It was a surprise that the toro binary was released for the device on Verizon's network, so ours should technically follow shortly being that the drivers are almost identical; but I have no indication or direction on a date for that happening.
Just know that most of the 4.1 functionality depends on the drivers in this binary, and without such, you're going to have issues. Like I said, the Verizon version is almost identical, so the Sprint binary isn't far behind. All the ROMs out there are kanged from other source, and have been compiled to run on this hardware, but are by no means made specifically for the toroplus.
Also keep in mind that the toroplus, as well as all Sprint LTE devices, only support the 800MHz, 1900MHz and 2500MHz spectrums on the Sprint LTE network, making roaming on Verizon's infrastruture impossible when not using native 1xRTT or EVDO for 3G or voice. It is for this reason that we, as a company, have no LTE roaming agreement with Verizon, and do not plan to as we each support a different type of LTE. Sprint has planned their LTE build out, in conjnction with Clear, based on TDD LTE model, whereas Verizon utilizes something called FDD LTE. The main difference in the two being that FDD LTE supports different upstream and downstream spectrums, and TDD LTE operates on a single frequency; in this case being the 1900MHz spectrum.
It isn't that Sprint is witholding information, or Samsung is being a jerk, or that Google is being slow; it is a combination of communication flaws on the parts of three companies. Samsung has to release the drivers to Google to process, and compile, a new source and boot image for 4.1.1 on the toroplus. Sprint has to verify this software before pushing it to phones. As far as I'm aware, nothing is caught in the pipes on Sprint's end. The reason that these GSM versions of the Nexus [takguro and macguro] builds recieve updates so quickly is because Google has worked with Samsung to make these devices from the ground up. The phones themselves are the developer kits which Android is created on, tested, and rolled out to work with. CDMA devices straddle a hard line here in the states, simply because they are not international, they have much smaller support teams put into place to manage the devices and their updates, as the international community, being GSM based, is much larger which obviously warrants more support. Also, you have the carriers who sometimes stand in the way. Phones are subsidized here in the states, meaning that carriers HAVE to support them for at least two years or lose favor of their customers; simply for being locked into a contract with an unsupported device.
To be clear, you can rip binaries, drivers, and take bits of source from ICS to use in JB, but it will not always work. It isn't simply the device talking to the network, but literally everything about the device functioning. For example, Google has implemented what they call Project Butter in the most recent build of Android, Jellybean. This technology takes advantage of a ramped up vsync on the device, which optimizes the graphics with the processor, battery, radio, and every other feature on the device. You can't just take code from ICS and have it integrate with a feature like this, because the new feature is integrated at the core will all of Android's functions. New code has to be written, compiled, debugged and tested. Google's official GSM device's get this almost as soon as it's announced because it is the device that Google specifically created it for. But for us who own CDMA versions of the Nexus, Sprint found out about Jellybean the exact day you did, and began talks with Google and Samsung to get this to their devices. Thing is, that whole coding, and integration process for them begins now; where Google has already rolled it out to a very simmilar phone, being their GSM Nexus. This is the hiccup.
As for Sprint TV being supported on the Nexus now, you'd be surprised how many people use this, and wanted it on their Nexus; so Sprint released an update for it. Which, in turn, takes time away from readying a Jellybean update having to be integrated into a brand new operating system which has just been released by that exact team. See the logistics, and complications?
And here is where I get flustered. As customers, it isn't your job to know this, or deal with it, or worry about it. You want a supported product; you paid for what you were told was a supported product. Thing is, it is, but it takes time. Your phone will get Jellybean easily before any other device on the network, and you can quote me on that. You're still recieving the software upgrade before anyone else, just after the GSM devices and I've clarified why. I'm sorry that it's been a month since IO and you don't have the latest and greatest, but feel fortunate, because you'll have it before any other device on the network or before most in the world for that matter. Only something like 16% of devices even have ICS, and you're in that number. Less than 1% of devices are running JB, and that includes devices which have been rooted and installed it manually.
But you, have other options. That option being to root your phone and install a custom ROM running on the 4.1 Android base. In doing so, I reccomend that you have a clear understanding of your device, the Android SDK, and ADB. Being that people do not delve into this and want quick fixes, many one-click root methods have become available. With these, you are using a script someone has written to perform these proccesses for you. Personally, I prefer to do everything manually so that if I screw up, I know it was me, what I did, and how to correct it. Here is one such method: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1
If you are interested in this process, then there is a plethora of knowledge on websites such as http://xda-developers.com or http://rootzwiki.com. But be forewarned: DO YOUR RESEARCH AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING YOURSELF INTO. Do not attempt this process lightly.
If you have any questions, refer back to this thread and I will attempt to answer them to the best of my knowledge. This is here to attempt to create a tight knit community around this device, and centralize all knowledge associated with such. Please post relevant discussion and don't be evil.
Watts, you've been very informative and I thank you very much for answering all the questions I had in my head and being so helpful!
@Watts_: First of all, thank you for taking the time and posting this really useful and informative post! That is appreciated.
I do have some comments/questions that hopefully you could try to answer, or take to Sprint if needed.
1. Why does Sprint.com/galaxynexus continue to advertise that this device is a "pure google" nexus device? Espcially given the fact that Google advertises that the "Nexus" brand is one that gets timely updates from google? When I go to a sprint store, and ask about the Nexus phone, I'm told (apparently incorrectly) that this device gets timely updates from google. Nobody at the sprint store or at the sprint website even mentions the non-existent fine print that the similarity of the Sprint Galaxy Nexus to the true Galaxy Nexus is that it is stock Android - absolutely no mention about the fact that updates to Sprint Galaxy Nexus will always be delayed compared to the true Nexus device (GSM)
2. AOSP - for some reason, Verizon's CDMA Galaxy Nexus has AOSP support, while we don't. You indicated that this is Google's decision - fair enough. Now, google is experimenting with giving AOSP support to Sony Experia http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/18/android-open-so
One of the advantages of using Nexus devices is that the hardware is identical. So while the Jellybean OS was written with the GSM version in mind, the core OS (including project butter) is the same across the board. The only difference would be in the radio software that is used. Obviously, the GSM/HSPA+ version has different radios than the CDMA/LTE devices. But the CDMA/LTE radio software doesn't have to change to integrate with the new JB OS (the developers at XDA have confirmed that because the ROMs that they have released are using the exact same radios that were used with ICS - and it works great!)
So I really don't understand the complexity with releasing this software OTA. To quote Andy Rubin, "the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”
Well, ok, not that simple - I know But hopefully, you understand what I'm trying to say.
I understand why non Nexus devices get delayed updates - custom UIs, different hardware/drivers to deal with. But that's not the case with Nexus devices. Most folks who get a Nexus device get it for timely updates and stock (non-bloated) OS. If I wanted to root, I could have gotten better hardware with the EVO LTE or the Galaxy S III and achieved the same thing.
I like Sprint - I've had my service with Sprint for over 12 years or so. Decent rates, excellent customer service. Data coverage sucks, but that's a different issue (not going there now). Can't Sprint make timely updates happen? I believe it can!
Work with Google and Samsung, and make it happen!
* Google of course has a vested interest in getting their OS more popular - and they want to get rid of one of the big thorns in their side ('fragmentation') - hard to do that when even their Nexus devices don't get timely updates.
* Samsung? Well, it is their device, and all the folks complaining about lack of updates to their CDMA devices is probably not helping much. Samsung stated recently "Minuscule Galaxy Nexus Sales Didn’t Hurt Apple" - I bet they'd like to reverse that situation!
Sorry about the long drawn out post. This is the first time I've actually seen a Sprint employee actively trying to explain what's really happening, and I'm thrilled about that!
Watts_, my hat is off to you for taking the time to share with us your understanding as things are with the Sprint version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I'm tempted to go to a T-Mobile or AT&T store now just to compare their Nexus with mine which is running Codename Android Jelly Bean 4.1.1, with the Franco kernel. I'd like to see personally, if their version is more buttery smooth than mine, because honestly, thiis codename ROM is the bomb. At this point, I don't know that I will upgrade with the OTA or not. I may just upgrade with whatever ROM gets refreshed because of the official release. I'm definitely more patient now though because I installed a custom ROM. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that all parties involved should just poke around about the update. It needs to be brought as quickly as is possible.
Oh, and my only disappointment with this device has been the mediocre battery life. My kudos to Sprint for offering a free extended battery with replacement back cover, just for the cost of shipping. That was truly stepping up and doing something nice for the customer.
Thank you for the time, effort, and very good information you put forth into this article watts. I do have a question though. What do you think of the rumor that the galaxy S3 may be getting jellybean before the Nexus is all about? I know it may be the int'l version, but still that is just crazy. Its like they r jumping on that before the nexus devices. Also, with tmob and att starting to do LTE builds too, I wonder if Google will even have a us nexus device going forward? Or it could be that going forward all us nexus devices get the updates at the same time or that Google starts working more with cdma device builds and we may get them quicker. That would be ideal and possibly put an end to all of this bickering.
II just think that since they know they have cdma nexus devices they should be working on builds for both cdma and GSM so they roll out more timely. Again, thanks for your info.