An Inglorious End for My Nexus 4

It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

I had one final task for my Nexus 4, and thought I had the means to accomplish it. I was supposed to be gloating today all about how I was finally able to stick it to the banks, my carrier, even Google, by making a successful purchase using Google Wallet.

Instead, this:

Google Wallet Fail

How did we get here? Read on for my sad tale of fail…

Once Upon a Time

It all started with a MoDaCo ROM. If you didn’t know, this custom firmware from UK-based Android dev Paul O’Brien is known for user-friendly features like a built-in Flash Player, Titanium Backup pre-installed and a patched version of Wallet.

I’ve ranted about the sorry state of mobile wallets in Canada before. A big part of my frustration comes from the fact that I ran a MoDaCo ROM on my Nexus 4 this past spring, for the express purpose of making a contactless payment without any third parties getting in the way. But I couldn’t do it — the patched Google Wallet launched without any region restrictions and appeared to be working, but at every terminal where I attempted payment the transaction didn’t go through.

I figured it was my Canadian credit card that was the problem; the one time a Google Wallet purchase worked for me was when I had a balance in my account via a gift card. So imagine my surprise and delight when I came across an entire display of Play Store gift cards at a local Wal-Mart a few weeks ago!

The Plan

I came home looking for a new MoDaCo ROM and came up with this Xposed module instead. It seemed simple enough — install the Xposed framework, sideload and activate the module, re-enable Google Wallet and reboot.


After many reboots, clearing of data, disabling and re-enabling modules I’m still locked out.

I believe that my issues are two-fold: (1) I’m currently running Android 4.3 via Paranoid Android, and I’m pretty sure that Paul’s mod was written for Android 4.2, and (2) Google has probably updated the Wallet app, rendering this mod useless.

At any rate, ಠ_ಠ …

Back to the Drawing Board

I’ve a couple of options at this point. I could probably downgrade to Android 4.2 and reinstall that same MoDaCo ROM again. But this seems like a lot of compromise to get a single feature working.

I’ve also read on XDA that nightly builds of CyanogenMod have a working version of Google Wallet on-board, but the jury is out as to whether or not it’s actually usable.

The Good News

The bright side to all of this is that I finally got to try out the Xposed framework.

Even if the MoDaCo Wallet patcher doesn’t work there are lots of other useful modules out there. I’m currently using YouTube AdAway, which somehow manages to kill YouTube’s pre-roll ads. And being the app privacy nut that I am I can also recommend XPrivacy — though I’m already enjoying similar functionality via Paranoid Android.

Farewell, Old Friend

Shortly it will be time to say goodbye to my fourth Nexus. My Nexus 5 was delivered last week, but with all the BlackBerries, Lumias and such on my desk I haven’t even had a chance to crack open the box. First world problems, I know…

Anyway, perhaps it’s for the best to not humiliate my Nexus 4 any further;  it can instead enjoy another year of service in the capable but not-so-demanding hands of another Nexus user, my girlfriend.