October 31, 2012
No LTE On Nexus 4 Is Major Buzzkill
Hurricane Sandy cancelled the show, but it didn’t stop the unveiling of Google’s newest Nexus devices on Monday.
After being the worst-kept secret on the Internet, the search company touted its Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet as the newest, flagship Android devices. Both have impressive specs and are worthy competitors to Apple’s iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad.
The major disappointment, however, is that the Nexus 4 does not include LTE. In a feature with The Verge, Android head Andy Rubin argued that it was not feasible for the company to create a contract-free device with LTE given Verizon’s network restrictions and the small size of AT&T’s LTE footprint. Additionally, AT&T’s LTE network runs on different frequencies than other carriers worldwide. Building a compatible LTE device would have required multiple radios and tricky battery design, according to Google representatives.
So instead of hacking out a deal that may have meant some compromises to Android purity, the company decided to stick with HSPA+.
The difference? An HSPA+ connection usually tops out around 5 megabits per second (or Mbps, which is a measure of network data speed). LTE, however, averages anywhere from 10 to 20 Mbps, depending on location and network saturation. Given that Android has passed iOS in many software innovations, it is disappointing to not have the same kind of network speed as the iPhone 5.
Part of the hangup for the inability for Google to strike a deal with carriers is its limited influence. The Nexus line is not a particularly huge seller. It primarily appeals to early adopters and Android enthusiasts, not the average consumer who walks into a carrier store and wants the least expensive smartphone they can buy.
Whatever the details, it seriously hampers the appeal of the Nexus 4. It has superior specs and operating system in comparison to the iPhone 5, but the lack of the fastest mobile network make it dead-on-arrival for many. Early adopters, especially, look to have the latest technology when buying a new gadget. Holding out on features or new upgrades is usually Apple’s game.
Those who want a pure Android experience have a serious dilemma. Go to an LTE Android phone, such as the HTC One X or Optimus G? These are powerful phones, but they have a hampered version of Android. Or go with the Nexus 4, but suffer constant envy at friends’ iPhone 5 speeds.
Me? I’ll be sticking to my Galaxy Nexus until a clear path forward emerges.
Images Credit: Google Play