Taking advantage of the blazing fast speeds offered by the new LTE networks that are popping up seems to be the must have feature in any phone looking to take the lead. So when Google announced its new deices which all looked amazing, why wasn’t this high end smartphone feature included with the Nexus 4?
Google actually addresses this a blog post, but the short answer is that it’s the carrier’s fault. Google isn’t looking at launching these devices into one market, they have to hit as many as possible as soon. As we’ve seen with Apple’s roll out of the iPad LTE, it’s not the same all over the world, so to hit up as many mobile operators as possible HSPA+ is the way to go.
Google’s Android chief tried to explain the decision of not including an LTE chip in the Nexus 4 by mentioning battery life and costs concerns, but this is less and less of an issue, so it’s likely secondary to the carrier issue.H
Here is an excerpt of the blog post:
Android head Andy Rubin calls the lack of LTE a “tactical issue,” and cites cost and battery life as major concerns with devices that have to support multiple radios. “A lot of the networks that have deployed LTE haven’t scaled completely yet — they’re hybrid networks [...] which means the devices need both radios built into them,” he said. “When we did the Galaxy Nexus with LTE we had to do just that, and it just wasn’t a great user experience.” But the reality now is that many LTE devices — including the iPhone 5 and the LG Optimus G, which shares common hardware with the Nexus 4 — use larger batteries and newer, more efficient chips to balance the power draw from LTE.
Andy Rubin put it this way: “Tactically, we want to make sure the devices are available for every network on the planet.” For now, that means that the Nexus 4 will only be available as an unlocked HSPA+ device. Whether the fault lies more with carriers for forcing Google’s hand or with Google for refusing to work within the standard carrier model, the end result is a flagship phone that’s missing an essential flagship feature.
The Nexus line up of devices have always been aimed towards developers and not towards the masses, they are after all development platforms. But is the exclusion of LTE will shrink this small market even smaller?
What do you think? Will the fact that the Nexus 4 doesn’t come with LTE effect your decision to pick one up? Or is HSPA+ good enough for you?