The Nexus 4 is a very impressive device with a high end spec list. But when it comes to connectivity, it tops out at HSPA+. There is no LTE chip in this bad boy, and Google has given us its reasoning. Whether it’s valid is up to you, dear readers. Read on.
Google wants to build one universal device to run on most networks. Of course, they’re limiting it to GSM, as CDMA devices can not come unlocked. This one phone will work on pretty much any GSM carrier, since its radio supports all kinds of bands for GSM and HSPA+. However, building LTE devices means having to build a special device for each network. This is costly without carrier financial support, and Google does not want anything to do with the carriers.
Also, consider this. AT&T has 77 markets with LTE in the US, and is the only GSM carrier with LTE. In Europe, EE plans to cover only 20 million people by the end of the year. Why build custom LTE phones for so few people? It is not cost effective.
If they wanted to build an LTE device for Verizon, they’d have to abide by Verizon’s rules (as they are using Verizon’s CDMA spectrum). This means very delayed updates, branding, bloatware, and everything the Nexus brand goes against.
Andy Rubin had also mentioned that LTE sucks battery life. Let me throw in my opinion. The HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus had subpar battery life for many people without LTE. Yet you see devices with the same chipsets getting better battery life. Maybe Google should be fixing their software before claiming hardware kills battery too fast. Yes, LTE drains battery, but manufacturers have made it work.
And in the end, this is a Nexus device. It’s less a consumer device and more a developer device. A device that’s carrier unlocked, bootloader unlocked, and made for as wide a reach as possible for as cheap a price as possible. LTE would have gone against that philosophy. Sure, the lack of LTE will displease a lot of people. But the Nexus line has its ways, and that’s how it will be. And changing that would be possible, but would have negative effects on it as a product for their target audience. But what do you guys think? Should it have launched with LTE? Or was the sacrifice of LTE worth it to achieve what the device represents? Tell us in the comments!