So right about now everybody's freaking out over what so many feared -- and what many of us have been saying for quite a while. There's a distinct possibility that Verizon will have some sort of exclusivity on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
First off, it ain't entirely true. There are caveats involved here, folks. But you knew that, because you're smart and you listen to the Greatest Android Pocast in the World and have heard us say this numerous times now and don't freak out when the rest of the world does. Let's break down what a Verizon-exclusive Galaxy Nexus means, in handy list form.
Carriers, like far too many blogs these days, love to use the world "exclusive" as often as possible. It sure is a special sounding word, and it makes you feel special when you have something someone else doesn't. But here's the thing:
- If Verizon indeed does have exclusivity on the Galaxy Nexus, it's only in the United States. The rest of the world (mostly) uses GSM-type phones, with different radio frequencies than Verizon. That goes for its 2G, 3G and 4G LTE radios. It's ridiciulous to think the Galaxy Nexus will only be released in the United States, and only on Verizon. It just ain't gonna happen.
- We know there are non-Verizon versions -- ie GSM -- of the Galaxy Nexus out there. It's what Google and Samsung demoed in Hong Kong last week. It's what's in every early hands-on you've seen. Those are not Verizon exclusives. And European carriers have announced they're carrying the Galaxy Nexus. So, yeah. We're not talking a global exclusivity here. Simmer down.
- Even if Verizon does have an initial U.S. exclusivity on the Galaxy Nexus, that doesn't mean you can't get one that will work on AT&T or T-Mobile. The radio bands listed in the official specs sheet include 850/900/1900/1700/2100 MHz for 3G data. That covers models that will work on AT&T or T-Mobile.
- Now does that mean we'll see "official" releases here in the States? Not necessarily. But it's easy enough to import them, though that does mean you won't get any carrier subsidies. Full price it is.
- If history repeats itself, we'll see specific versions for other U.S. carriers at some point. Probably not as soon as we'd like -- and a Sprint version gets a little more interesting when you consider its upcoming switch to LTE -- but at some point we'll likely see more. So maybe Verizon has an "exclusive" -- but for how long? We just don't know.
- It's entirely possible this is one big misunderstanding, and it's just Verizon being Verizon and saying that any phone on Verizon is exclusively on Verizon. We're not going to bet the farm on it, but stranger things have happened. Repeatedly.
The point is this: Yeah, Verizon might well have an initial exclusivity here in the United States. And that sucks. We've said before that it very much goes against what we believe (or believed, anyway) the Nexus philosophy to be. But perhaps that died along with the Google Phone Store and paved the way for the likes of the Nexus S 4G (and its own Google Wallet exclusivity).
Trade-offs, we suppose, though it does arguably turn the Nexus line into just another phone, albeit one with far less carrier meddling than anything else you'll find. Us? We're holding out hope, and saving our pennies for some
possible likely import action.
Oh, and one more thing on "exclusivity."