LG Nexus 4: Why no LTE?
Yesterday, many of us were caught in awe and disbelief when Google announced its realigned offering of its Nexus trio of devices. Out of the three, the one that caught most of us by surprise is the Nexus 4 line-up. We have seen how the race towards faster data connectivity has intensified in the past few months. LTE or what is dubbed as 4G by many, has become the de-facto feature in new line-ups of smartphones that we’ve seen in recent months. Just to name a few, iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note II N7100 are LTE-ready. Even Nokia’s Lumia 920 has decided that they would not want to miss the boat this time round and it comes well-equipped with 4G LTE.
LG Nexus 4: Why no LTE?
Amidst such intense rivalry and competition, Google took the world by surprise by announcing a Nexus 4 phone that is not going to be an LTE phone. With all the brain power, ambition and vision towards the future, this omission is definitely not something that is ill-planned. As one of the loudest champion for cloud computing (just look at their Chrome book project), it leaves many tech analysts scratching their head as to why Google had decided to skip the LTE race altogether. At the very least, they could have offered a variation of Nexus 4 with LTE that is priced at a premium. They decided not to do so.
According to a report from The Verge, it quoted Google’s Android head, Andy Rubin, as saying that LTE is a tactical issue. He went on further to explain how they’ve decided to build their previous generation Samsung Galaxy Nexus with LTE but only to give poor user experience. Also, LTE-enabled device will be more costly and will drain the battery at a higher rate.
If you look at this issue from unbiased perspective, I would think that their reason on cost is definitely real. For Nexus 4 to be LTE-ready, we would not be seeing the jaw-dropping US$299 price tag. I am not sold on their reason regarding battery life. If we are few months or one year back, this reason might be relevant. But today, Apple could do it with iPhone 5. So does Samsung with their Galaxy SIII and Note II. I just see no reason why Google could not overcome this issue. Unless they mean to say that their hardware partner, LG, is not capable of doing it.
I think the real reason why Google decided to go ahead with non-LTE Nexus 4 phone is because it does not want to be involved with the carriers. They must have learned some important lessons from their previous encounter with the carriers and it could be a nightmare experience. This is pounded by the many and non-compatible LTE versions that have been springing up across the globe. As we know, the LTE frequencies used in different countries are not uniform.
The absence of LTE in Nexus 4 could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. As we know it, the Nexus 4 phone will be sold as unlocked which means that anyone can buy it and used anywhere in the world. This is in-line with what Andy Rubin said to be their goal:
Tactically, we want to make sure the devices are available for every network on the planet.
They can say whatever they want. They can say it is the cost factor. They can say it is the battery life. They can say it is the user experience. I say it is a meticulously calculated business decision.