Thousands sign petition requesting Android 4.4 KitKat for Galaxy Nexus

Last week, Google announced the newest addition to its family of own-brand devices, the Nexus 5. The new handset is also the launch device for the latest version of the Android OS, version 4.4 ‘KitKat’, which will be made available to some – but certainly not all – Android handsets in the coming weeks and months.

Many Android owners have come to accept – albeit through gritted teeth – that they cannot expect to receive every OS update that is released. But many fans of the platform turned to the Nexus range with the expectation that Google would provide updates to its own devices more frequently, and for longer, than those offered by other manufacturers.

Owners of the Galaxy Nexus were therefore rather disappointed to learn that the device will not be eligible for the Android 4.4 update. The news came as quite a surprise to some, given that the handset is just two years old, and was still being sold by Google until a year ago.

Google, along with some of its hardware partners, has committed to providing OS updates for its devices for 18 months from launch, and the Galaxy Nexus clearly falls outside of this timeframe. But many owners of the handset are not satisfied with this strict enforcement of the update policy, and thousands have signed a petition requesting that Google review its decision.

The petition reasons that the Galaxy Nexus is more than capable of running Android 4.4, particularly given the work that Google has done to optimise the updated OS for devices with far lower hardware requirements. It ends with an impassioned plea:

We, the Galaxy Nexus owners and anticipators ask you, Google, to update the Galaxy Nexus for one last time and give us Kitkat! Don’t be an apple ;)”


At time of writing, over 18,000 signatures have been added to the petition. While it still remains open, its organiser, Max Duckwitz, has already printed off the first 17,500 signatures and comments to be delivered to Sundar Pichai – Google’s senior vice-president for Android – in the hopes that the company will reverse its decision. 

Source: Change.org via TechRadar | lower image via Change.org petition

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Its actually 'money's' fault. Or 'greed's' fault. Really. Yet no one gets this...

Even like computers, technology moves so fast that to keep 'updating' the old machines stops the companies from getting newly received income. Computer OEMS only update their drivers for an OS or two maybe (though every manufacturer 'is' different and has different policies on this, but they are definitely not all the same). If your computer HAD Windows XP on it when you bought it, chances are thats as far as it went. If you bought it with Vista, drivers 'might' be available for Windows 7. Win8? Probably not.

View in company/greed eyes:

If persons 1-18,000+ get the update to the new 4.4 then:
We now just lost at least 18,000 * $350=$6,300,000 in 'possible' income...at least

That right there, is the primary reason for these lack of updates. Keeping people going on their 'paid-for-two-years-ago-phone' costs R&D money (not to mention the 'bricking' of these old devices that people just go AWOL over and demand a new phone...pfff ya ok), and they lose income from new sales. Its life. Its money. Nothing can be done about it. Root and custom ROM the phone if you dont like it, only best option really. Thank God for developers at XDA & Co. Though paying for new phones does give the money for advancing them, so really, we could somewhat thank the short update timetables I guess

Edited by theslam08, Nov 6 2013, 11:52pm :

scratch42069 said,
No it isn't, TI released updated binaries for OMAP 4460. It is Google's fault.

Actually it's Apple's fault because...hum...it's Apple's fault
now seriously, maybe it was a short time frame that Google had to test it appropriately or they found quality issues in the upgrade, i dunno. But a 2011 device with a new life? it's kind of hard to believe, but it can be possible not without some sacrifices (graphical, speed, other unknown issues).

The GNex has a fast dual core cpu, fairly decent gpu (even by todays standards) and 1GB of RAM...it is still equivalent to upper mid-range devices in terms of specs and can easily run KitKat...KitKat is leaner than JB, Google has stated that it is designed to run smoothly on only 512MB of RAM.

Sonne said,
The GNex has a fast dual core cpu, fairly decent gpu (even by todays standards) and 1GB of RAM...it is still equivalent to upper mid-range devices in terms of specs and can easily run KitKat...KitKat is leaner than JB, Google has stated that it is designed to run smoothly on only 512MB of RAM.

If you go by raw numbers, it is comparable. If you go by actual power and efficiency, GNex falls to the low end of the spectrum very quikcly. The GPU could barely hold its own a year ago and is smacked around by the GPU in the GS2! The CPU is underclocked, the GPU is underclocked.

It is a capable little device, but it is not fast.

adrynalyne said,

If you go by raw numbers, it is comparable. If you go by actual power and efficiency, GNex falls to the low end of the spectrum very quikcly. The GPU could barely hold its own a year ago and is smacked around by the GPU in the GS2! The CPU is underclocked, the GPU is underclocked.

It is a capable little device, but it is not fast.

I don't know many low end phones that have a 720p/4.65"/Super AMOLED display, NFC, zero shutter lag camera, pentaband radio etc...Even still a lot of higher end phones are shipping with dual cores and 1GB, thats not on the low end yet...and the S2 spanking the GNex GPU? Alot of S2's shipped with the same SGX540 as in the GNex, the others had Mali-400 gpu's, which are about equivalent...Regardless, my point was that th GNex can (and does) handle 4.4 easily

Sonne said,

I don't know many low end phones that have a 720p/4.65"/Super AMOLED display, NFC, zero shutter lag camera, pentaband radio etc...Even still a lot of higher end phones are shipping with dual cores and 1GB, thats not on the low end yet...and the S2 spanking the GNex GPU? Alot of S2's shipped with the same SGX540 as in the GNex, the others had Mali-400 gpu's, which are about equivalent...Regardless, my point was that th GNex can (and does) handle 4.4 easily

Except that the Mali is not equivalent.

You look at dual core and Ghz, not actual technology. A krait dual core will smack around an OMAP 4 dual core. OMAP 4 is four year old tech. There is no denying that it has some still relatively unique features, but it is not a high end device. It isn't even mid-range.

adrynalyne said,

Except that the Mali is not equivalent.

You look at dual core and Ghz, not actual technology. A krait dual core will smack around an OMAP 4 dual core. OMAP 4 is four year old tech. There is no denying that it has some still relatively unique features, but it is not a high end device. It isn't even mid-range.

Except we are not talking about a Krait, we are talking about two SoC's from the same generation at around the same price points and they are roughly equivalent in performance all one has to do is google "sgx540 mali 400 benchmarks" to see that the gpu's are pretty close to even with one leading in some areas and the other leading in some. Obviously the Krait is better it ships with the latest Adreno GPU, which spanks a Mali just the same as it spanks an sgx540. Also the the 4460 is not 4 years old it was released in the second half of 2011, making it 2 years old.

Current mid range smartphones are shipping with single or dual core cpu's with middle of the road gpu's (eg; Adreno 305) and 512MB-1GB RAM with qHD displays...That would be the mid range of specs now...Highest end would be quad core, Adreno 320, 2GB RAM, FHD display etc...Gnex falls somewhere in the middle of those categories whether you like it or not lol.

I have a Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus and soon to be Nexus 5 as well....I've been using Android since the tmo G1...basically since day 1

Sonne said,

Except we are not talking about a Krait, we are talking about two SoC's from the same generation at around the same price points and they are roughly equivalent in performance all one has to do is google "sgx540 mali 400 benchmarks" to see that the gpu's are pretty close to even with one leading in some areas and the other leading in some. Obviously the Krait is better it ships with the latest Adreno GPU, which spanks a Mali just the same as it spanks an sgx540. Also the the 4460 is not 4 years old it was released in the second half of 2011, making it 2 years old.

Current mid range smartphones are shipping with single or dual core cpu's with middle of the road gpu's (eg; Adreno 305) and 512MB-1GB RAM with qHD displays...That would be the mid range of specs now...Highest end would be quad core, Adreno 320, 2GB RAM, FHD display etc...Gnex falls somewhere in the middle of those categories whether you like it or not lol.

I have a Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus and soon to be Nexus 5 as well....I've been using Android since the tmo G1...basically since day 1

"Obviously the Krait is better it ships with the latest Adreno GPU, which spanks a Mali just the same as it spanks an sgx540."

I thought you said they were equivalent in just the sentence prior?

Are you tailoring this argument just to your needs?

I said OMAP 4 is 4 years old, and it is. It was announced in 2009. The development platform came out in 2010, and the 4430 in Q1, 2011. Just because it became available in 2011, doesn't make it any newer. The fact that the only difference between 4430 and 4460 were CPU and GPU speeds, and considering that Google had Samsung underclock the 4460 to 4430 ranges, even on the GPU, I'd say you might as well treat it was a 4430.

Your history with Android doesn't really matter when it comes to the raw facts:

The Gnex is not a midrange phone.

adrynalyne said,

I thought you said they were equivalent in just the sentence prior?

I never said nor implied that OMAP 4 was equivalent to Snapdragon S4, I said that sgx540 is roughly equivalent to Mali 400, and benchmarks across the net prove this.

I said OMAP 4 is 4 years old, and it is. It was announced in 2009. The development platform came out in 2010, and the 4430 in Q1, 2011. Just because it became available in 2011, doesn't make it any newer.

Thats pretty funny logic, so technology is as old as its announcement then? Or as soon as development begins and not when it actually ships? Haha never heard that in a tech debate before because some hardware has been in development several years before it ships, although it typically is not considered several year old tech on that merit...tech is generally considered from when it is shipped....Like when flexible displays ship soon are you going to call them old tech because they've been in development for a few years already? Of course you're not, but it suits your argument here.

adrynalyne said,

The Gnex is not a midrange phone.

I know, its specs are on par with current upper mid-range

Sonne said,

I never said nor implied that OMAP 4 was equivalent to Snapdragon S4, I said that sgx540 is roughly equivalent to Mali 400, and benchmarks across the net prove this.

Thats pretty funny logic, so technology is as old as its announcement then? Or as soon as development begins and not when it actually ships? Haha never heard that in a tech debate before because some hardware has been in development several years before it ships, although it typically is not considered several year old tech on that merit...tech is generally considered from when it is shipped....Like when flexible displays ship soon are you going to call them old tech because they've been in development for a few years already? Of course you're not, but it suits your argument here.

I know, its specs are on par with current upper mid-range

Hey, live with your delusions. Doesn't bother me a bit.

"We, the Galaxy Nexus owners and anticipators ask you, Google, to update the Galaxy Nexus for one last time and give us Android (4.)5! Don't be an apple "

That's probably what we're goign to read in a couple of months.

I think if it was Google they would have supported galaxy nexus but the real problem is other manufactures because if Google did update their phone others manufacturers will look pathetic because they can't keep and take months to update and some of them don't even bother to update even high end phones.

Just wait for Cyanogen to add it I have the Galaxy Nexus and I am happy on 4.3, to be honest a for 2 year old phone I got good support, in most places that would be a pretty long phone contract anyway ...

I dont know what the hell is going on at Google with android. But I think the departures are not a good sign.

For a company that has so vehemently criticized OEMs for abandoning devices and contributing to the so called fragmentation problem, I don't really understand. Specially when you factor in the fact that they've always touted the nexus program as "receive timely updates directly from us".

Now, they're pulling all this crap:
- Absolutely no time frame for the update to 4.4 of all other nexus devices (other than 5)
- It's still unknown or tech blogs are misinformed, but rumor has it that 4.4 won't have the google launcher or maybe even the new dialer on other nexus devices other than the nexus 5.
- No word on whether other "new" features of 4.4 will make it to other devices. I'm talking about the sensor batching thing and the "tunneled audio" (another name for hardware audio processing). I'm pretty sure some older yet capable devices have support for this. (But I am however surprised it took google this long. Apple has had HW assisted audio decoding for years)

- And of course, not updating the galaxy nexus to 4.4 It's a point release, and sure, it may have been announced 2 years ago, but the phone probably saw a wider release somewhere towards summer 2012 (or whenever they actually started selling the thing on google play). So that's a little over a year ago.


This 18 month means thing means that the nexus 4 is probably only see updates for the next 6 months? We're no longer in 2008/2009. Older flagships still do the jobs and IMO should be updated. Unless they wanna play apple's planned obsolescence game.

Julius Caro said,
I dont know what the hell is going on at Google with android. But I think the departures are not a good sign.

For a company that has so vehemently criticized OEMs for abandoning devices and contributing to the so called fragmentation problem, I don't really understand. Specially when you factor in the fact that they've always touted the nexus program as "receive timely updates directly from us".

Now, they're pulling all this crap:
- Absolutely no time frame for the update to 4.4 of all other nexus devices (other than 5)
- It's still unknown or tech blogs are misinformed, but rumor has it that 4.4 won't have the google launcher or maybe even the new dialer on other nexus devices other than the nexus 5.
- No word on whether other "new" features of 4.4 will make it to other devices. I'm talking about the sensor batching thing and the "tunneled audio" (another name for hardware audio processing). I'm pretty sure some older yet capable devices have support for this. (But I am however surprised it took google this long. Apple has had HW assisted audio decoding for years)

- And of course, not updating the galaxy nexus to 4.4 It's a point release, and sure, it may have been announced 2 years ago, but the phone probably saw a wider release somewhere towards summer 2012 (or whenever they actually started selling the thing on google play). So that's a little over a year ago.


This 18 month means thing means that the nexus 4 is probably only see updates for the next 6 months? We're no longer in 2008/2009. Older flagships still do the jobs and IMO should be updated. Unless they wanna play apple's planned obsolescence game.


They started selling the Galaxy Nexus day one of release on the Google Play Store. That was November of 2011. The clock doesn't stop ticking just because someone bought it a year later.

Julius Caro said,

- No word on whether other "new" features of 4.4 will make it to other devices. I'm talking about the sensor batching thing and the "tunneled audio" (another name for hardware audio processing). I'm pretty sure some older yet capable devices have support for this. (But I am however surprised it took google this long. Apple has had HW assisted audio decoding for years)

Just rumours probably, but I read somewhere that the audio tunneling to DSP feature relies on the Snapdragon 800's hardware. If true that would likely mean no tunneling for older/non-S800 phones.

ichi said,

Just rumours probably, but I read somewhere that the audio tunneling to DSP feature relies on the Snapdragon 800's hardware. If true that would likely mean no tunneling for older/non-S800 phones.


Yea. This and the sensor batching thing as implemented required specific HW which isn't part older devices.

"We, the Galaxy Nexus owners and anticipators ask you, Google, to update the Galaxy Nexus for one last time and give us Kitkat! Don't be an apple "

Funny considering Apple released iOS 7 for devices much older than the Galaxy Nexus.

Yea, but some features are not available for those older Apple products getting iOS 7. So it really isnt a true upgrade experience.

At least they get something. just over a year ago you could have bought the GNEX and already out of updates.. great effort blaming other OEMS to not support the system as much as they should

Android has been like this forever, so people shouldn't be surprised when their new phone is obsolete a week later. I would have to imagine that Kitkat would be an absolute lagfest on older phones anyway.

-adrian- said,
At least they get something. just over a year ago you could have bought the GNEX and already out of updates.. great effort blaming other OEMS to not support the system as much as they should

The Nexus One and Nexus S saw the same timeline for support. Why would the Galaxy Nexus be any different?


If anyone was surprised by this, it is their fault.

Astra.Xtreme said,
Android has been like this forever, so people shouldn't be surprised when their new phone is obsolete a week later. I would have to imagine that Kitkat would be an absolute lagfest on older phones anyway.

It shouldn't be. Unlike iOS7 on older devices, KitKat is easier on resources than Jellybean.

adrynalyne said,

The Nexus One and Nexus S saw the same timeline for support. Why would the Galaxy Nexus be any different?
If anyone was surprised by this, it is their fault.

People feel about it the same about phones as computers. It's not the age of the device, it's if the hardware is capable of running it (speed / performance). Announcing it runs on lesser hardware phones then Jellybean, adds a bit of frustration.

adrynalyne said,

It shouldn't be. Unlike iOS7 on older devices, KitKat is easier on resources than Jellybean.

I wouldn't necessarily say so. Android is very clunky by nature and the core OS takes up a lot of memory. My Nexus 7 with vanilla Android and a quad core still lags. All that can basically be blamed on Android being java-based.

Astra.Xtreme said,

I wouldn't necessarily say so. Android is very clunky by nature and the core OS takes up a lot of memory. My Nexus 7 with vanilla Android and a quad core still lags. All that can basically be blamed on Android being java-based.

Either Google is lying, or its true. KitKat is designed to run on low memory devices (512mb range). Considering that Jellybean runs better than ICS on devices, I can believe what they are claiming.

Part of the reason why the Nexus 7(2012) lagged was due to lack of TRIM support in the OS. Coupled with the fact that the Tegra 3 is a turd, it wasn't the greatest experience.

Edited by adrynalyne, Nov 6 2013, 4:38pm :

Astra.Xtreme said,

I wouldn't necessarily say so. Android is very clunky by nature and the core OS takes up a lot of memory. My Nexus 7 with vanilla Android and a quad core still lags. All that can basically be blamed on Android being java-based.

It's the advanced multitasking features that can cause the lag, occasionally you can get a service that goes funny. Since 2.2 they included a very fast JIT compiler, Android is on a computational par with other mobile operating systems so I don't buy that it's java that is causing the problem.

adrynalyne said,

Either Google is lying, or its true. KitKat is designed to run on low memory devices (512mb range). Considering that Jellybean runs better than ICS on devices, I can believe what they are claiming.

Part of the reason why the Nexus 7(2012) lagged was due to lack of TRIM support in the OS. Coupled with the fact that the Tegra 3 is a turd, it wasn't the greatest experience.

I have the 2013 Nexus 7, so it doesn't have Tegra. If I can get better performance from Kitkat, then that would be great. Custom ROMs have typically helped the lag issues I've seen, but if Google can finally figure it out, I'd be happy. Having to root every Android device just to get decent performance is rather sad.

Astra.Xtreme said,

I have the 2013 Nexus 7, so it doesn't have Tegra. If I can get better performance from Kitkat, then that would be great. Custom ROMs have typically helped the lag issues I've seen, but if Google can finally figure it out, I'd be happy. Having to root every Android device just to get decent performance is rather sad.

Not sure why you lag then, mine is buttery smooth.

adrynalyne said,

The Nexus One and Nexus S saw the same timeline for support. Why would the Galaxy Nexus be any different?


If anyone was surprised by this, it is their fault.


The Nexus S, had actual legit technical reasons for not getting anything past 4.1. RAM being one, and storage space being another. The GNex has none of these issues.

SharpGreen said,

The Nexus S, had actual legit technical reasons for not getting anything past 4.1. RAM being one, and storage space being another. The GNex has none of these issues.

And the Nexus One?

techbeck said,
Yea, but some features are not available for those older Apple products getting iOS 7. So it really isnt a true upgrade experience.

Apple update with new features devices up to 3 years back. Apple put resources into that! Whether you think features they held back were ethical or not doesn't change the fact that Google is giving zip, zero, zilch, to 18 month old phones they put their names on.

Now, I acknowledge that ROMs exist, and those in the know will be able to get this version on their phones. The same could be said about Jailbreaks for iOS, though. I could get Siri working on my iPhone 4, for example (granted, it did not perform great).

Google is looking at the bottom line at what they made from their Nexus program and are choosing not to put the resources (money) into it. They are operating on a net loss on the hardware after all , aren't they? They subsidize, so its gotta be at some loss that they hope will help in other areas for their services.

Shadrack said,
Apple update with new features devices up to 3 years back. Apple put resources into that! Whether you think features they held back were ethical or not doesn't change the fact that Google isn't putting any effort into this and they should.

You are taking to much from what I said. I never said they were holding back the features. I said that the older devices are missing features. The phone is just not capable of them or they wouldnt be a good experience on older devices.

adrynalyne said,

And the Nexus One?


Ok, so after looking up the specs...the Nexus 1 had a grand total of 512MB of onboard storage. Considering the fact that the system partition on a lot of the newer devices is about the same size as the entire storage space of the N1...i'd bet that was among the reasons.

Plus the N1's GPU didn't even support GLES2..which is among the requirements for ICS and beyond.

Edited by SharpGreen, Nov 7 2013, 5:48am :

SharpGreen said,

Ok, so after looking up the specs...the Nexus 1 had a grand total of 512MB of onboard storage. Considering the fact that the system partition on a lot of the newer devices is about the same size as the entire storage space of the N1...i'd bet that was among the reasons.

Plus the N1's GPU didn't even support GLES2..which is among the requirements for ICS and beyond.

The problem is, XDA made roms work for the Nexus One, AND the Nexus S. If they can do it, so can Google.

KitKat is capable of running on the GNEX. There are ROMS for it over on XDA and people re reporting that it is working really well. So I am not sure if it is a matter of the GNEX not being able to run KK, rather that Google has an 18 month update cycle for devices. Should me more of 24-36 months.

techbeck said,
KitKat is capable of running on the GNEX. There are ROMS for it over on XDA and people re reporting that it is working really well. So I am not sure if it is a matter of the GNEX not being able to run KK, rather that Google has an 18 month update cycle for devices. Should me more of 24-36 months.

What you define as working really well?

All I hear about is graphic glitches, lockups and reboots

adrynalyne said,

What you define as working really well?

All I hear about is graphic glitches, lockups and reboots

I wouldnt define that as working well.

techbeck said,

I wouldnt define that as working well.


For the most part they don't impede normal use. At least they haven't for me anyway.

more then 18.000 signatures? didn't know that this phone sold that much.

on the other hand, is that phone even capable of a good kit kat experience? i mean, my Galaxy Ace can run Jelly Bean, but the experience (due to low memory and low space) is rather unpleasing one.

Praetor said,
more then 18.000 signatures? didn't know that this phone sold that much.

on the other hand, is that phone even capable of a good kit kat experience? i mean, my Galaxy Ace can run Jelly Bean, but the experience (due to low memory and low space) is rather unpleasing one.

There is a big difference between a Galaxy Ace and a Galaxy Nexus...like 4x the ram and a considerably faster SoC....no comparison really

Sonne said,

There is a big difference between a Galaxy Ace and a Galaxy Nexus...like 4x the ram and a considerably faster SoC....no comparison really

heh i'm not comparing both phones, because there's no comparison. i'm talking about pure user experience; there are ROMs for older phones that work; if they work properly or provide a 100% complete and issue free user experience it's another story

I think KitKat would run well on the Galaxy Nexus, as it is my previous phone and it's still extremely snappy. It's probably the best performing smartphone (over a long period) that I've ever had.

i read about this and the first thing that came to mind is that even if they did get kitkat on their device it is not going to run very well.

ROMs are already out for KitKat on XDA for the GNEX. Have not applied it yet since it is still early....but it appears to be running really well.

Google has an 18 month period for updating device apparently. They should increase that.

Google told a bit of a lie when they said TI got out of the market. Right after Google announced no more support for Galaxy Nexus, TI and Imgtec released updated binaries. Only thing needed for KitKat on Galaxy Nexus is an updated kernel.

scratch42069 said,
Google told a bit of a lie when they said TI got out of the market. Right after Google announced no more support for Galaxy Nexus, TI and Imgtec released updated binaries. Only thing needed for KitKat on Galaxy Nexus is an updated kernel.

Forgot about TI. One of the reasons it isnt getting KK. Which isnt a really good reason. If people at XDA can get KK to work, I am sure Google is more than capable.

littleneutrino said,
i read about this and the first thing that came to mind is that even if they did get kitkat on their device it is not going to run very well.

KitKat has lower system requirements than Jellybean.