Google Nexus 4 Smartphone (Updated with Pricing Guess)
[UPDATED] When Google unveiled its Nexus 4 phone last week, the one thing that sparks buzz among the tech community is the super low pricing point that Google has set for its latest phone. In U.S., most SIM-unlocked smartphones are selling at US$500 and above. Google choose to price its Nexus 4 (8GB with no LTE) at mind-boggling US$199. That is 60% below the average selling price of smartphones in U.S. and here we are talking about a Nexus phone, which is supposedly to be the mother of all Android phones and a benchmark for all upcoming Android phones to be based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
READ our latest article on Nexus 4 Singapore
If you are an Android fan in Singapore, that surely gets you excited. I would not be surprised if some of you chose not to believe in what you just heard. I did not believe it too when I first read about it. I did my check with Google Play store (have to be U.S. Play Store of course) and came to believe it only after seeing it with my own eyes the price tag displayed there.
MORE: LG Nexus 4: Why no LTE?
A week later, the news coming out of Europe does not appear to be good. Phone House, one of the largest phone retailer in Europe, decided to stop taking pre-order for Nexus 4. The reason is because the recommended retail price (RRP) set by LG in Europe is €599 (~US$778). That is almost 4 times higher than the pricing in Google Play Store.
Unfortunately, the reach of Google Play store is limited and according my last check with Google Play’s help page, there are only 8 countries where customers can directly order the Nexus devices from the Play store in their respective countries. For fans in Singapore, I’m sad to tell you that we are not in the list.
Other than these few countries, Google has no say to how much the Nexus 4 should be selling. The decision lies with LG and of course, the ultimate price tag dependent on the strategy that LG is adopting with different telcos in different countries.
In Singapore, the name LG does not bode well with many of us. Can you try to name me any LG smartphone that leaves an impression on you? I can’t other than the PRADA image that I could not miss, but that’s just because it’s PRADA. Many of you have asked me how much do I think the RRP will be. My guess is it depends on where LG thinks the market fit for Nexus 4 will be. Currently, RRP for iPhone 5 is $948. One thing certain is it cannot be higher than that and it should be lower because Nexus 4 does not come with LTE and when we talk about the entry level Nexus 4, it comes only with 8GB storage compared to 16GB for entry level iPhone 5. Next down the line is Samsung Galaxy SIII which comes in LTE and Non-LTE version. The average selling price for S3 32GB Non-LTE version (with no contract) is around S$848 (This is even though M1 puts S$1,048 as the retail price for the phone). Remember that it comes with 32GB storage compared to 8GB storage of Nexus 4. Next will be LG’s own Optimus VU that comes with retail price of S$768 and it comes with LTE. However, when I tried to find out how much it is selling out there without contract, I almost find no one selling it at the market. This could be an indication to the popularity of the device.
Based on the market pricing that we have in Singapore currently, I do not see Nexus 4 RRP beyond S$768. The sweet spot for the retail price in Singapore would be around S$648-$748. That’s my take.
Google has to cancel its planned event at New York City at the eleventh hour as Hurricane Sand made no sign of abating. But a storm of this scale has not dampened the spirit at Google. This reminds us of 2 things. First, we are reminded of how far the digital world has come to complement our physical world. Second, we are reminded of how intense competition in mobile computing is moving. Google could have waited for Hurricane Sand to die down before they reschedule their event. But instead of postponing their launches, Google has chosen to go ahead and announced a slate of their new hardware online.
What came out of their blog post today is that Google will be coming up with their new Nexus smartphone and labels it as Nexus 4. This time round, they have chosen LG as their hardware partner. According to the post, Nexus 4 phone’s availability date is on November 13 and it is available for purchase through Google’s own Play Store in 7 different countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, U.S. and U.K. Looking at such timeline, we understand why Google has decided to go ahead and make their announcement even when they have to cancel their event. There is no clear certainty when activity in NY will resume as per normal and insisting on making their announcement through such event would see them pushing back their schedule by at least a week or two, where they could have sold at least thousands of the phone during the time.
Google Nexus smartphone is now into its fourth generation. Prior to this, Google always stick themselves with Samsung. While Nexus users make up only a small percentage of the total Android users, they are known to be the most passionate Android supporters as well as the more sophisticated Android users. While today’s announcement has been cheered by many (particularly this bunch of staunch Android geeks), confirmation of LG being chosen as Google’s partner dented the overall mood somehow.
You may be thrilled with Nexus 4 but you’ve heard (and probably have unforgettable experience) of LG’s sub-par phone quality. Can you tell me any LG phone model that you are aware of or even come close to purchasing? The only one that flash through my mind is LG’s Prada phone. However, I do not recall having it on my option list when I was pondering to make a switch from iPhone to Android phone.
If you are a die-hard Nexus champion, nothing could probably stop you from trying to get your hands on the device. While it is available only in 7 countries, they are sold as unlocked and comes with no contract. The U.S. pricing is shown in the table below. At this point of time, everyone is still guessing when the Nexus 4 will make its landing in Singapore. But I’m quite sure that after November 13, there will be many Nexus 4 selling in eBay or Amazon. It will not be long before its export set is available in Singapore.
Unless you are a die-hard Nexus supporter, my advice is not to jump into the device as yet. First, let us give it a little bit more time for the dust to settle and more reviews to be in. After all, we know LG’s reputation as smartphone maker. Second, rumors are speculating that this might be the last Nexus that Google will stick to a single vendor. To read its report from WSJ, click here.
If this rumor turns out to be true, it can only mean good things to Android users. First, there is a possibility of Google making both the hardware and software themselves. Remember that they have not long ago acquired Motorola Mobility. If they have stick to their old game of single hardware partner, there is absolutely no way they can go with Motorola. This would anger the other hardware vendors and they could be accused of anti-competition. While Motorola itself is not known as high quality phone brand, things might be different with Google in charge and impose total say in both software and hardware.
Will the Nexus 4 be available in Singapore? I say Yes. When will it be launched in Singapore? My guess is some time early December, just in time for the holiday shopping.
READ our latest article on Nexus 4 Singapore