Andy Rubin tells us why the Nexus 4 is missing LTE

Google announced the Nexus 4 today which allows Android users to buy a phone outside of the influence of the major carriers. It turns out that freedom comes at a price: LTE. Google wants to retain control of the software without running into the sort of issues it faced last year with Verizon and Google Wallet. Google could not have released an LTE phone without working with one of the carriers.

Verizon has the largest LTE network but, like Sprint, requires compatibility with their CDMA 3G network. AT&T has said it will allow unlocked devices to access its LTE network, but can’t guarantee everything will work nor can they promise to provide technical support for such devices. Another factor besides access is cost. The cost of building an unlocked LTE phone may have pushed the price beyond the $299 Nexus 4 debut price.

Perhaps Google made the Apple-like decision to sacrifice functionality for user experience. Andy Rubin called the decision to go without LTE a “tactical issue.” The Nexus 4 will be free of potential battery life concerns due to 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.”

We all laughed last year when Samsung’s commercial poked fun of a well-known missing iPhone feature. “Why don’t you guys just get 4G phones?” asked the girl holding the Galaxy S II. While HSPA+ is certainly a form of 4G, it’s not capable of the speeds we’ve seen with LTE. It looks like we now know the reason why Google didn’t take Samsung’s advice in respects to “getting a 4G phone.”

Source: The Verge


About the Author: Rudy Rivapalacio

Rudy is a Southern California guy who has used his tech savvy skills in a law enforcement and corporate security career. He often jokes about having a "Windows 3.1" tattoo and has the Bill Gates-like rule regarding no Apple products in the home. His two daughters (one at Cal, one in High School) have so far found a way to abide by that rule. When not glued to Android news or on Xbox live, Rudy is probably off traveling abroad. His West Hollywood apartment is littered with a few too many bikes, cameras and Android relics, but he's found a way to hide most, or some, of his toys from his wife. Rudy is a big Chargers fan, and consequently, buys beer in bulk.

  • Seth

    Fast processor but not worth it without 3g. Also no SD card, why? My LG phone from 6 years ago had a SD slot. This phone kinda seems like a downgrade

  • yarrellray

    I applaud Tmobile for having the device for it’s customers . There will be people who want this I applaud them. Myself I want the Galaxy Note 2 that is what I will get.