With less than three weeks left in 2011, Android OEMs are racing to pump out the last of their smartphones and tablets for people like myself to review (and, they hope, for consumers to purchase for Christmas!).
The good news is I expect to get a Motorola Droid Xyboard 10.1 any day now after receiving a heads-up from Motorola's PR late Friday.
The bad news is I have no idea when I'll get the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" phone from Verizon Wireless to test.
Ideally, Verizon, Samsung and Google would want to get the phone out quick for the holiday season.
But then word came down last week that Google Wallet was blocked on the Galaxy Nexus, only that it wasn't technically. Apparently, it's some sort of major business disputer between Google and Verizon, which wants to support its own Isis platform on its phones next year.
Verizon spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson told eWEEK the reports that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus are false. Rather, Verizon is engaged in ongoing commercial discussions on the matter because Google Wallet is different from other mobile commerce services. Nelson wrote:
"Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications. Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones."
Google countered that Wallet is secure. This all went down Dec. 6. Remember how I said Dec. 8 or Dec. 9 were the prospective launch dates for the Galaxy Nexus? It's now Dec. 12, and no new phone.
Credit Phandroid for making the connection, through its Verizon sources, that the Wallet impasse between Verizon and Google is the reason for the phone's delay, which would push it to at least Dec. 15. Phandroid noted:
"According to higher uppers in Verizon's chain of command, Google Wallet does not sit very well with Verizon. Especially when Big Red has already partnered up with ISIS to offer their own NFC mobile payment services. The conflict comes with Google wanting to keep their device largely "untouched" -- it is their flagship device after all -- and by Verizon demanding Google Wallet be removed, this is not only a disservice to their loyal customers but it could be borderline illegal if defined by a little something called "Net Neutrality" that we've reported on in the past."
This position hews closely to what Dan Frommer has been discussing on SplatF. I'm not sure how much of the blame goes to Google here because it seems like Verizon is being the fly in the pure Google ointment. Regardless, this is a huge blow to both companies, in my opinion. And poor Samsung!
Sure, there are people in the U.S. who are devout Nexus brand fans for whom nothing or no one will stop them from snapping up the new "pure Google" phone with abandon.
But releasing the phone so late before Dec. 25, otherwise known as Christmas, runs the risk of missing out on the on-the-fence consumers shopping for a generous holiday gift for family and friends.
Surely the companies know this and I'd hope they'd come to terms soon. A Galaxy Nexus without Wallet out of the gate, which is limited in partner scope anyway at this juncture, is better than no Galaxy Nexus at all for Christmas.