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Secure tokens will cause issues with NFC and battery swapping on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus

One of the little bombshells dropped from the Verizon Galaxy Nexus training materials concerns NFC and the swappable battery.  Because the NFC chip resides on the battery itself, the hardware changes when you change the battery.  Not only does your replacement battery have to have NFC capabilities, but the system and NFC chip use a token to match things together for security.  We're speculating that ISIS requires this sort of extra layer, but that's just an educated guess.  Note that this doesn't mean things won't work, Verizon simply says:

Customers attempting to use more than one battery with the Galaxy Nexus may have less than an optimal experience since the NFC chip within the battery must register a token between the device and the battery each time the battery is swapped.

Less than optimal may mean different things to different people, so this may mean that it takes a bit longer for the system to initialize, NFC settings will need adjusted, not all apps will work properly, or the whole enchilada may not work.  We'll know more when the Verizon version hits the shelves.  Hopefully, that's soon.

Thanks, +Butch Yon for the heads up!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Seems odd that this would be an issue, considering one of the accessory packs they're selling is the spare battery with the external charger. If switching batteries is such a problem, you'd think they wouldn't be pushing the spare battery sales.
  • That doesn't make sense. The battery just has the antenna. The NXP NFC chip is located inside. See the iFixIt teardown: Step 5 shows the antenna on the batter. Just a conductor... Step 12 shows the NXP 65N00 NFC chip... --Bill
  • I swear to god every single blog on the planet Earth fails to recognize this fact. The battery has an NFC antenna on it. NOT THE NFC CHIP. JUST THE ANTENNA. THAT'S IT. It's just one little fact, yet no-one recognizes..
  • Right and the only real warning is to not use 3rd party batteries as they may or may not have the antenna needed in it, they want you to use Samsung OEM batteries.
  • Well, that's because everyone reported it to us that way :) Glad to hear the chip actually isn't in the battery. And, if the Verizon Galaxy Nexus isn't ever going to get Google Wallet, people can feel free to use generic batteries if they want (since they'll be missing out on how many Market apps that use NFC? Oh that's right: 0).
  • Verizon just has to f everything up. Next thing you know it'll come with a custom UI lol.
  • And their reps will still be telling customers to download a task manager.
  • Besides Verizon messing up a lot of other things, this is a STUPID comment assuming if there is a problem with the NFC chip being in the battery. How the hell are they responsible for the way the phone was mechanically engineered? Did they hire their own engineers, secretly plant them in Samsung and paid them to fuck up their own phone?
  • No but they are known for crippling a phone with software. They used to disable the GPS in phones to force users to use their VZNavigator, cripple bluetooth so the only thing you cab connect to your phone was a hands free, etc.
  • I have a NS4G and I have broken my back cover 3 times now. Each time I have to do a factory reset to beable to use the NFC. Guy at sprint said "how many times will you ever have to switch your back cover?" When I asked him why I have to do a factory reset. Later I found out after some angry calls to sprint and Samsung that their has to be a calibration done when changing antennas and there is not native way other than doing a reset. I am not sure how ICS will handle the NFC antenna swap but the NS4G sucks. But then again how many people break their back covers as often as I did before I went to the seidio active case. Just my .02 cents worth.
  • I don't understand why any part of it had to be in the battery.
  • ^^This^^ Was the intention to just make this whole NFC thing a pain in the ass to deal with or what?
  • The intention was to lock your battery sales to Samsung. Look a the back of the phone in this Picture. There is no reason on earth the antenna couldn't be built into the back and not the battery. This is another Samsung gotcha.
  • So, you are a phone designer and engineer? Probably due to the fact the battery could block the really low signals between the phone and the NFC device. And if the antenna was put onto the battery back, a connector would have been necessary.
  • Correct. The NFC antenna has to be as close as possible to the NFC reader due to the low signals it transmits. This is not a bad feature as it makes it a bit more secure. If the NFC transmitter were more powerful then anyone could just sit in say a bus and turn on an NFC reader and try pulling information from everyone's credit cards and phones. Now why didn't they put it in the back cover is a mystery as that would be the most ideal place.
  • Enough with the FUD. Do you have a source for that? As I understand it, the NFC won't work without the screen being turned on, and without entering in a PIN. So how would some imaginary hacker sitting on a bus start reading people's credit card information?
  • Verizon sucks... It's one let down after another.
    -I am going to try this phone until January 14th. If I find an unlocked penta-band is better, I am returning the VZW version, and getting the unlocked Nexus. I am becoming worried about Verizon and this Nexus. I just saw a Google Wallet sticker at the gas station I go to almost EVERY day for something.. FU Verizon
  • Did Verizon design the phone and the battery and the location of the antenna? NO!
  • What's the big deal?? Just get a Samsung battery made for the GNEX. The good thing about Verizon is they have accesories available at launch. I plan on getting the slightly extended battery and a case when I pick mine up Friday at 10 thank you very much!
  • Guys.. this really isnt Verizon being mean just to be mean.. Im not exactly sure why everyone doesnt think NFC is a little sketchy.. sounds like a hackers dream. This provides an extra layer of protection.. Side note: So pretty much everyone said about the razr they would never buy a phone without a swapable battery.. I wonder how many people are actually going to consider not buying a Nexus now because of this?
  • Exactly! I just don't know anyone that has a Razr! Hahaha....
  • How exactly is having the NFC antenna on the battery sketchy? And how is that a hacker's dream? This is nothing more than a design scheme by Samsung to force users to buy NFC enabled batteries from Samsung, as Icebike said. The amount of misinformation and ignorance in these comments is amazing.
  • Nit like it will have Google wallet anyway. Lol. Still not worried. GW will be side loaded. And spare battery used. Not worried about this at all.
  • I'm going to get the nexus no matter what then root that "M.F" and then do whit it whatever i want
  • Kind of weird that it would have such a hard time with swapping antenna. The chip is in the Phone, the battery just has the antenna extension I though. Why they would have a separate ID code for each antenna is beyond me. Maybe one of you engineers out there could enlighten me.
  • its for security purposes.. probably makes it much harder for someone to spoof a system with your information etc.
  • Again, re-read the post you responded to. The Chip is in the phone. The Antenna has nothing to do with spoofing or security. Its a piece of wire. Follow the link in the second post and LOOK for yourself. Better yet just click this:
  • I have no plans to use NFC anyway. The real question is, what is the length of time between reset after swapping a battery and ready to use? It better be a hell of lot faster than my OG Droid or I will go for the Rezound instead.
  • I have no plans to use NFC anyway. The real question is, what is the length of time between reset after swapping a battery and ready to use? It better be a hell of lot faster than my OG Droid or I will go for the Rezound instead.
  • With Google wallet disabled by Verizon, NFC chips won't be making a big changes on the phone.