With the Sprint Galaxy Nexus finally seeing its release today, it's worth a reminder of where, exactly, it stands in the world of Nexus and the Android Open Source Project. And Google's Jean-Baptiste Queru has done exactly that this weekend.
The short version is that, no, you can't compile a pure AOSP build for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus directly from Google. That's because there are licensing issues with some files for CDMA devices that keeps the code from being released under AOSP. And because compiling without those files would leave you with a phone that doesn't quite work (if data and voice are important features, anyway), it remains not quite as open-source as GSM Nexus devices. That's just the way it is.
This isn't new, of course. It's what got folks all sorts of frustrated earlier this year when Google changed up the AOSP documentation and everyone went off half-cocked about whether Verizon's Galaxy Nexus was a real Nexus, or whether Google still supported CDMA devices or whatever.
To recap: Yes, the Sprint Galaxy Nexus is a "Nexus." Yes, it's supported by Google. Yes, it'll likely get newer versions of Android more quickly than other devices. (And maybe even more quickly than GSM versions.) Is it something to stay up nights worrying about? Nope.
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