Confirmed: Verizon Galaxy Nexus won't support Google Wallet (but will receive Google updates)

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Verizon Galaxy Nexus and Google Wallet

With the launch of Verizon's Galaxy Nexus growing closer, rumors about the device are starting to pour out at a breakneck speed. As such, I thought now might be a good time to do a quick round of fact vs. fiction.

The two tidbits we'll tackle today: (1) a rumor that the new Nexus won't support Google's Google Wallet service, and (2) a rumor that the phone won't receive future software updates directly from Google.

The first rumor, unfortunately, is true. A Google spokesperson confirms to me that the Verizon Galaxy Nexus will not include Google Wallet -- and that the choice was made by (you guessed it) Verizon. The carrier, as you may recall, has been working on its own NFC-based payment service for some time now; the decision may or may not be related.

UPDATE [12/6/11]: Verizon has issued a statement clarifying its position on the matter. 

As for the second rumor -- well, that one's just plain ol' fiction. The Verizon Galaxy Nexus will be a pure Google phone that receives regular OS updates straight from Google, a spokesperson assures me. The only thing setting it apart from Nexus norms is that Verizon has slapped a couple of its own apps onto the phone (cough, cough, bloatware) -- annoying, no doubt, but on the plus side, Ice Cream Sandwich allows you to disable and hide preinstalled apps, and Verizon won't be messing with that capability.

Verizon Galaxy Nexus: Ready for Liftoff?

All right -- so when will this thing actually launch? That's the big question. The latest rumors point to this Friday, December 9, though that date is still unconfirmed as of now.

Little by little, however, reassuring signs are starting to surface. Photos popped up this morning showing what appears to be the Galaxy Nexus in its retail packaging, allegedly en route to Verizon Wireless stores. Late this afternoon, the gang over at Android Central got its hands on what looks like Galaxy Nexus training materials for Verizon retail employees. And just a short time ago, The Wall Street Journal published a report citing those ever-popular "people familiar with the matter" as saying the phone would sell for $300.

Android Power Twitter

As the expression goes, where there's smoke, there's fire. Fresh fueling aside, Verizon has committed to delivering the Galaxy Nexus within the year, so the moment can't be too much further away.

[UPDATE (12/14/11): Verizon Galaxy Nexus release date officially confirmed

In the meantime, for more on the new Nexus and its Ice Cream Sandwich OS, check out my in-depth hardware and software reviews. And if you're still on the fence about whether the Nexus is right for you, click over to my Verizon Android comparison:

Galaxy Nexus vs. Droid Razr and HTC Rezound

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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