Android, Nexus and Verizon

Android cake image from Tama Leaver on Flickr

I want my cake and to eat it, too
Picture by Tama Leaver on Flickr

Hello. My name is Aaron, and I’m a rabid Android fanboy. I write this post while perched high on one of my favorite soap boxes. This is the back story to the review that I will post later this week of my Google Nexus 6 smartphone that I’ve been using for the last four months on Verizon.

There’s nothing more refreshing than a pure Android experience, free of the bloat that is frequently installed by manufacturers or carriers. I’ve spent many hours of my life installing custom ROMs on my phones and deactivating apps for friends and family in order to make phones easier and cleaner to use.

Modern versions of Android have made removing the junk from phones easier, as most apps can now be deactivated from the app info screen. Installing the Google Now Launcher from the Google Play Store now makes it easy to remove a big chunk of the problem of manufacturer overlays such as TouchWiz and Sense. While these tweaks can make phones usable for most people, it’s just not good enough for me. I want a phone that I don’t have to root to remove all traces of manufacturer and carrier interference between me and my Android experience. I don’t want to have to take the step of deactivating the Amazon App Store or NFL Mobile to get them out of my app tray.

I live in a rural area and am stuck on Verizon. There are so many phones I’d like to try, from manufacturers such as Blu and OnePlus, but because Verizon must pre-approve each device, I’ll never get to try them. I’ve tried other carriers, specifically AT&T and Sprint, but their networks simply don’t cover my farm.

Google knows how good vanilla Android can be, even while they tolerate the manufacturers and carriers adding junk to Android in order to differentiate themselves. To that end, they created the Nexus program, wherein they partner with manufacturers to create Google-branded phones that have the pure Android experience that I – and many others – crave.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

I was a huge fan of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It was the first Nexus device on Verizon, and I bought it when my original Motorola Droid finally died. I wasn’t excited about it, as I’d always loved Motorola phones, but it was the best option available at the time. I wasn’t aware how amazing the Nexus program was until my Galaxy Nexus died and I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I’ve written before how horrible the Note 3 experience was. I longed to be able to use another Nexus phone, but resigned myself to the prevailing wisdom at the time that Verizon would never again allow a Nexus device on its network.

Last fall, I’d heard rumors of the next Google phone. It was to be huge and made by Motorola. It was to be the first phone running the latest version of Android, Lollipop. Knowing I’d never get the opportunity to use the Nexus 6 on Verizon, I reluctantly ordered an LG G3. I was really happy with the G3, as I’ve written earlier. What I didn’t know was that the biggest part of the Nexus 6 announcement was that it would work on all four major US carriers – including Verizon.

I was with Alltel when it was acquired by Verizon. Before that, I was with Kansas Cellular when it was acquired by Alltel. I don’t change plans or carriers frequently, and I’m still grandfathered into my unlimited data plan. Because Verizon will force a plan change if I buy a new phone with a subsidy, I’ve been paying outright for every phone since they eliminated their unlimited data options.

Nexus 6

Nexus 6

Because I knew I would pay full price for my Nexus 6, I didn’t have to wait for an official release by Verizon. I knew from forums that the phone should work with any preactivated nano-SIM from Verizon. I set out to be one of the first to get the phone, which was plagued with supply problems. It would go on sale for a few seconds at a time each Wednesday, starting on October 29, on the Google Play store. I tried and tried, but wasn’t ever successful. I finally got lucky ordering directly from Motorola on November 6. When I saw that I was able to add one to my cart, I pulled over to the side of the road and could not enter my credit card number fast enough on the order page.

From reading the forums, I was one of only a few who was successful at making the purchase. My Nexus 6 arrived on November 17. I inserted my SIM and crossed my fingers. It worked perfectly. Check back tomorrow for the review of the Google Nexus 6 on Verizon.

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Aaron Traffas, CAI, ATS, CES

twitter.com/traffas | aarontraffas.com | aarontraffasband.com

Aaron Traffas, CAI, AMM, CES, is an auctioneer from Medicine Lodge, Kansas. He is currently community evangelist for Purple Wave in Manhattan, Kansas. Aaron serves as the current president elect for the Kansas Auctioneers Association and in the past has served on the National Auctioneers Association Education Institute Board of Trustees. He is a past instructor at CAI and co-wrote and instructed the ATS designation course from NAA. He currently instructs the Internet Auction Methods course offered by the NAA. During the summer, Aaron operates a farm in south central Kansas. Aaron is an active singer and songwriter and the Aaron Traffas Band's latest release, Enter: The Wind, can be found at iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.