Verizon confirms software update coming to Galaxy Nexus

Update will adjust wireless signal strength indicator

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone is going to get a software update that will adjust the device's signal strength indicator, Verizon Wireless confirmed on Wednesday, less than a week after the new Android 4.0 phone began shipping.

Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney didn't say when the update would arrive. Some Verizon service reps have reportedly told customers that an update related to signal strength will come in January.

In an email, Raney stressed that "there is no issue with the performance of the device." Some users have theorized that the signal issue could be related to above-normal battery drain.

Many new Galaxy Nexus customers and Computerworld blogger JR Raphael have reported problems related to inconsistent signal strength over Verizon's LTE network since the U.S. version began shipping on Dec. 15.

Raney said the Galaxy Nexus software update "will adjust the signal strength indicator to more closely match other Verizon Wireless devices." She said the Galaxy Nexus translates the wireless signal into bars differently than other smartphones.

A review copy of the Galaxy Nexus provided by Verizon to a reporter showed a variety of inconsistent signals in a Los Angeles neighborhood, switching from two bars' worth of 4G LTE service to no bars and then to 3G service. The phone would offer 4G voice connections with no bars, but it couldn't hold a data connection for the music service Pandora over LTE -- it switched to 3G with several minutes of buffering to permit Pandora music to play.

Analysts have noted that some of the issues with signal strength could be related to how well the LTE network is rolled out in a given locale. Verizon says 179 cities have LTE service, but within a particular city, some areas might have more LTE towers than others.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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