Earlier today, the first sign emerged that Verizon was testing a new update for the Galaxy Nexus, and quite the petite one at that; rather than the multi-megabyte downloads we’re used to, the update to GNex system software build IMM76Q is reportedly under a meg. It seems that Verizon isn’t quite ready to push this one out widely just yet, but there’s already speculation that it will deliver Google’s so-called fix to get around the phone’s legal troubles. If the ban only covers phone imports, though, why would phones already in the hands of users need to be updated at all?
The end goal for all these update/patch shenanigans appears to be Jelly Bean. The GSM GNex will be returning for sale next week with both Jelly Bean and the modifications needed to avoid Apple’s universal search wrath; it’s a package deal. It will likely be some time before Verizon’s ready to certify a full Jelly Bean update for its own users, so delivering software to patch that search behavior ASAP will allow the carrier to keep getting its hand on new GNex stock to sell in the interim.
As for current Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners (and we assume Sprint, as well), it looks like they’ll be putting up with getting the short end of the stick for now. While there may be no legal reason to force users to cripple their own phones, it’s just not realistic to expect Verizon to support two separate software branches, one for users with existing phones and one for new customers. And to be fair, Google’s patch is likely to have minimal impact on the user experience, probably just adding an extra step or two in order to see full results.