Should the Nexus 4 be considered a flagship phone with the lack of LTE?

The Nexus is a name we have come to know and love amongst the Android community. It’s the one place where we can count on the latest hardware and software meeting in a completely open environment. Powered by a completely open Android playground of the latest software, Android geeks and aficionados would often choose devices from the Nexus brand purely for development purposes because of the openness.

Every Nexus has had its flaws: the Nexus One had pretty subpar battery life, the Nexus S was just plain boring, the Galaxy Nexus had a meh camera, and now the Nexus 4 has arguably the biggest flaw yet…

It.

Doesn’t.

Have.

LTE.

-_-

I almost couldn’t believe it. How could Google release a flagship phone such as this without one of the key features of this generation? This decision could almost kill the Nexus 4′s market potential.

Google tried to defend their decision to forsake LTE, but for me, there is no excuse. After living with LTE for several months now, there is no way I could go back to boring 3G speeds, or even the sudo-4G HSPA+ speeds. I don’t care about independency from carriers or any of that, I just want to be able to access the fastest speeds available as of now. Faster network means faster phone. It doesn’t matter if you have the fancy new Snapdragon S4 quad core processor if you’re being bottlenecked at every turn by slow data.

A growing percent of the population of smartphone users have been enjoying LTE service, especially if the user happens to be a part of Verizon or AT&T. With Verizon on track to match it’s 3G service with LTE by the end of 2013, and AT&T growing their markets as well, the omission of this super fast connectivity could severely hamper customers from any of these three main service providers. Even T-mobile is gaining LTE service through their merger with MetroPCS. So with all four of the nations largest providers moving towards this new technology, this anti-LTE stance shows a severe lack of foresight from Google.

Samsung’s Galaxy S III, Galaxy Nexus, Apple’s iPhone 5, and even LG’s own Optimus G all sport LTE capabilities. Google’s decision to forsake many wireless subscribers may just hold their latest Prodigal Son from the throne that it deserves. What made Google so adamant to withhold LTE from the Nexus 4? Andy Rubin did come out and say that they chose to stick with 3G and HSPA+ in an effort to maintain “carrier independence”. That personally isn’t a good enough answer after seeing how they cooperated with Verizon to produce the LTE version of the Galaxy Nexus. To me this is based on updates only. Google fears they won’t be able to get updates out in a timely fashion. Do we really need to give Apple fanboys and fangirls ammunition to poke fun at? Hopefully Google will see the error of its ways and release a slightly updated version for us FAndroids to get a hold of, one that includes the light speed connectivity of LTE.

It’s worth mentioning that most carriers don’t have a great number of LTE service available for those outside of major cities. However, we live in a world where any small flaw can completely ruin a phone’s market potential, the lack of such capabilities could spell doom for Google’s latest Nexus.

Google has in the past been willing to cooperate with users for a solution like releasing the Nexus 7 with 32GB of storage to combat many users’ space woes. Let’s hope the hint our favorite Mobile Panda gave the other day will hold true, which could mean we will see an updated LTE version in the future after all.

» See more articles by William Metzger


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  • Reality Bites

    My carriers 3G downloads at around 7075kbps and uploads at around 3790kbps. I don’t know about anybody else, but I really don’t need LTE and I certainly don’t need it’s ridiculous prices and tiny allowances.

  • atdd

    only a problem for people from U.S…

  • D’Angelo Stewart

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to nexus 4 lte in the coming months. It’s understandable to make a device that can sell around the world vs. a device that would only sell well in certain markets.

  • Jct312

    Verizon and Sprint screwed Google over. As far as I’m concerned Google is 100% justified and true android enthusists are dying to get they’re hands on this. Myself included. LTE is nearly nonexistent in most parts of the world. This is a flagship phone.

  • Nicholas M

    LTE has nothing to do with the definition of “flagship”.. absolutely nothing. Making the phone universal-that does.

  • Robert

    Seriously? Isn’t 42mbps HSPA enough? I’d worry about battery life much more than lte. Can you call it flagship if it won’t get you through the day?

  • http://profiles.google.com/wisefire935 Joshua Wise

    I’m so tired of seeing post about how everyone is so upset it doesn’t have LTE… just buy a different phone.

  • http://twitter.com/tmalmond Taylor Almond

    If your mobile activities require you to NEED LTE, you need to be using a desktop computer in the first place. The Nexus 4 has loads of processing power, plenty of RAM, and wireless charging…all for $300-350US. It’s an unbelievable deal. I’ll gladly trade LTE and receive immediate updates and stronger battery life.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    This just in: the US is not the center of the world, and the rest of the world have pretty good 3G. Incidentally you do realise that once every new device that comes out features LTE that your 4G networks will end up in the same state as your 3G ones right?

  • yarrellray

    The iphone 4s was a flagship device last year. The Lg Nexus 4 is a flagship device as well. Bottom line here the Lg Nexus 4 doesn’t need LTE it works wonderfully on Tmobile and it’s GSM HSPA PLUS 42MPS network. That’s all anyone will need i applaud Google for telling Verizon where they can stick it with it’s crappy overrated LTE battery draining network..

  • Plerisei

    Stop with these filler articles, seriously. This has been discussed so many times uselessly. This is a world phone, not a small market phone; see that, call it a day, and be content.

  • RobertNazarian

    You guys are funny. I do agree that LTE isn’t a huge deal for most people,
    but all top phones have it. We all laughed at Apple for not having LTE with the iPhone 4S, and now after 1 year we are saying, “It’s not a big deal.”

    Also I have no 42 HSPA+ near me, but I have LTE from both Verizon and AT&T.

    • http://MyShocker.com Nudo

      Its a world phone. Big difference.

    • GraveUypo

      the people who laughed at apple for not having lte are the same that are now crying because this doesn’t either.

    • phor11

      Back when we were making fun of the iPhone for lacking LTE, reasonably priced LTE plans with unlimited data were still available and there weren’t many options for off-contract service. Back then there was virtually no reason NOT to have it. You were going to pay the same price and be locked into the same contract either way.

      But now that LTE providers have shifted to TINY data buckets and cheap no-contract “unlimited” plans are much more reliable than they were even a year ago, there are just as many reasons to avoid it as there are to support it.

      The change in opinion about LTE is due to the changing wireless marketplace, not “android fanboy-ism”.

      Bring the lack of LTE again once Verizon (or an MVNO that uses Verizon’s network) offers any LTE plan that’s not a complete ripoff, and I’ll jump on board with you.

      Until then, I really couldn’t care less about the speeds when they are charging $50 a month for a 1GB bucket… and neither should anyone that doesn’t enjoy being rammed up the *$% with a sharp stick. :D

  • http://MyShocker.com Nudo

    Fuck Verizon

  • GraveUypo

    lol not having LTE isn’t even a flaw for most people. i for one couldn’t care less. and heck, i bet most people couldn’t tell the difference if they didn’t state it. why the hell do you even need such fast internet connection on a cellphone? answer: you don’t. i’d be plenty satisfied with a 1mbps connection on my cellphone when not near a wireless connection.

    not having a microSD slot and only having 8 or 16gb of storage on the other hand is a huge deal breaker.

  • ddh819

    i understand why they did it but i’m not buying a non-vzw lte phone at this point. i need the coverage and the speed in my area.

  • Leon Nat

    Lets play pros and cons, shall we?
    Cons:
    -lower speeds
    -ammo for apple fans
    -?
    Pros:
    -price
    -battery life
    -influence over cellular carriers
    That is more like a half of the list. 3G+ caters for mostas it is enough to stream videos – biggest traffic hog.
    To me it looks like a kids rant over gettign a 32g ipad over 64g version

  • http://twitter.com/homncruse Aaron Burke

    I think you need to do some research on the technology. The lack of LTE is because the only carrier who has a significant LTE presence is Verizon, and their LTE is implemented on top of CDMA, which is *not* an open standard. This would require the Nexus to be a closed phone, and we’d run into all the same issues the Verizon Galaxy Nexus did. If LTE ran on top of GSM – such as in the case of AT&T, but the markets are so small it wasn’t worth the investment – it would be a different story. CDMA is primarily US-centric technology, and even then it’s primarily Verizon and Sprint. It causes LOTS of headaches. GSM is the accepted worldwide standard for its compatibility and simplicity. CDMA allows the carrier to lock down access from a device however they choose – GSM does not have that “feature”.

    HSPA+ is 42 Mbps. In many cases, you’ll experience a throttle or cap from the other end of the pipe before you fill that 42 Mbps.

    Do some research before jumping on the “no LTE, no sale” bandwagon.

  • vampyren

    Not really, also i hate the fact that it dont have SD. I know people will now say but other nexus didnt have it but it doesnt matter. SD i just a big big
    factor for many people. I think GSIII LTE is the best phone on the planet right now :) and that coming from an ex iPhone user ;)