For people who were eagerly awaiting the launch of the Nexus 4, the lack of 4G support in the device came as a huge disappointment. It can be considered to be a step in the reverse direction, which can be suicidal in this era of cutthroat competition between smartphone companies. Leaving out LTE support in its flagship smartphone was a “tactical decision”, according to Google’s Andy Rubin.
Taking into account the carrier trouble Google went through while releasing the Jelly Bean update; the decision to remove support for LTE can be explained to some extent. Google does not like the fact that all software updates for a 4G enabled phone have to be approved by carriers first, which almost always delays the availability of the update to the users. Google also reasoned that late availability of updates, and poor battery life in LTE enabled handsets presents a bad user experience. But poor battery can hardly be considered as an excuse at a time when all other smartphone manufacturers have achieved some success in balancing good performance and battery life. Many handsets today, including the iPhone 5 and Droid Razr Maxx HD, have good battery life and LTE support.
The most convincing reason behind this unusual decision has to be Google’s ambition to build a global device. Building support for all LTE networks into a single device is a challenging task, and even then it won’t provide a satisfying user experience because of increased cost and reduced battery life. A simple HSPA+ smartphone will work anywhere in the world, and will be able to receive updates in a timely manner, without any intervention from carriers.
Logical or not, Google’s decision has upset many buyers who are now looking forward to Samsung and Motorola for LTE enabled devices. But if you are not perturbed, the Nexus 4 is a killer device, available at only $299 without a contract.