When last year’s Nexus 4 arrived, it was GSM or bust. Unlike the Galaxy Nexus before it, we didn’t see any option at all for CDMA carriers, like Verizon or Sprint in the States. It wasn’t hard to understand why Google might have elected not to head down that path again with the Nexus 4, as the proprietary pre-compiled CDMA binaries needed for those Galaxy Nexus variants caused big problems with the Android Open Source Project. For a line like the Nexus series, CDMA seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. However, we’re now wondering if Google might have had a change of thought in the time since the Galaxy Nexus, with rumors claiming that Sprint will get the Nexus 5.
If Sprint does indeed offer a Nexus 5, we’d be shocked if Verizon didn’t follow suit. Of course, there’s still the question of what level of support we’re talking about here – while a long-shot, it’s possible that this could mean LTE only, with no way to use the carrier’s CDMA voice network. Frankly, that doesn’t seem too likely with the way this leak was worded – @evleaks describes the Nexus 5 as “coming to Sprint,” not just something like “with Sprint LTE support,” which makes it sound like Sprint will be selling these at retail, and correspondingly offering a device with full support for its network.
Maybe this return to CDMA support is part of a broader trend away from Nexus openness – remember how frustrations drove Jean-Baptiste Quéru away from the AOSP earlier this year?