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Andy Rubin Talks About the Lack of LTE in the LG Nexus 4

Google’s new Nexus 4 is official as of this morning. While the device itself has almost every top-of-the-line spec in the business, there is one that was left out that has a few scratching their heads. Why doesn’t the Nexus 4 have LTE support? According to Andy Rubin, there are a number of reasons, most of which they learned after releasing the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon with LTE. 

“We certainly have a desire to offer devices on every carrier on the planet,” Rubin said. “The tactical issue is GSM vs. LTE. A lot of the networks that have deployed LTE haven’t scaled completely yet — they’re hybrid networks. They’ll do their old thing and they’ll do LTE, which means the devices need both radios built into them.”

“For now we’re gonna sit back and watch those networks evolve. Two radios in a device right now certainly raises the cost, and diminishes battery life.” This point seems to frustrate him. “When we did the Galaxy Nexus with LTE we had to do just that, and it just wasn’t a great user experience. It’s possible to do it right, but that’s not where we’ll put our resources initially. Tactically, we want to make sure the devices are available for every network on the planet.”

So Rubin admits that the Galaxy Nexus with LTE was a horrible experience for most users because of battery life. I think most of us would tend to agree with him on that. Unfortunately, he also mentioned that it probably would have been possible to still put LTE in the Nexus 4 and “do it right,” however, they have decided to put their resources elsewhere for now. At this time, they are letting these new “hybrid” LTE networks mature before diving in fully.

I don’t want to shatter dreams, but that sounds like we may not see a new LTE-equipped Nexus until the next one arrives next winter. Since many of you are Verizon and AT&T customers, this means your upgrade will have to wait or you’ll have to decide on a non-Nexus phone. Unless those of you on AT&T are willing to drop back to HSPA+ from LTE.


Via:  The Verge

  • Yakuzahi

    Do you know if you can talk and use data on 3G?

  • jaxxmjd

    If only Verizon had invested in GSM instead of CDMA, all of this would be moot.

  • The only issues I have with signal is when I travel. When on the highway travelling through dead zones specifically. However, just nor.all daily life I don’t experience a lot of issues.

  • marvin nubwaxer

    and the winner is . . . t-mobile prepaid after paying $299 for the phone through google play. i’ve spent all day researching this and that’s my final answer.

  • Droid Burgundy

    Wait it out then for LTE+ when CDMA is no longer used.. perhaps the future Nexii if any on Verizon will be worth upgrading. Until then, simply overclocking my Gnex and using extra batteries is a viable option. AT least I know that Google will continue to release updates to AOSP, the Nexus S still gets regular update, so I fell no pressure to get the N4.

  • Russell Phillips

    Personally, I’d rather just have them stick in a huge battery and call it a day. I’d rather have a thicker phone, than have them compromise an LTE radio so that they can get away with a thinner phone and smaller battery.

  • onDroid

    I’m hoping that initially means that there will be an LTE version in a few months.

  • Nick Bohl

    I’m also not worried about losing LTE with the new Nexus. It won’t happen very quickly, but as AT&T customers adopt or get access to LTE, the HSPA+ strain will lessen, and the speeds will get closer to what they’re rated at and it should be enough speed for any regular user.

  • 4n1m4L

    I liked android because they embrace new technology if they like it. Avoiding the new because it is not widely adopted, doesn’t help it get adopted.

  • I hope the LTE problems work out by next year, I can’t see buying a non LTE phone. I use the VZW Gnex with a Seidio extended battery and that works well enough.

  • Russell Tanner

    I do love my G-Nex, and am happy with most things about it, but battery life is unfortunately not one of those things. I rarely even turn LTE on because it drains power so quickly, and in most instances aside from full on web browsing, I find 3G to be quick enough. I won’t be upgrading til my 2 year contract turns over next year, but I’m interested to see how battery life is on the N4. When it comes down to it, I’d rather give up some browsing speed than have a phone I have to charge twice a day. My G-Nex with LTE off will generally make a whole day unless I’m using it heavily. Fast is great, but I respect Google’s decision.

  • trophynuts

    GNex=Fail…Confirmed. i hate mine.

  • akhnaten

    If this is his excuse, how does he explain the Razr Maxx? I get 1.5 days per charge with all it’s radios running. I didn’t pay any more for that phone than GNex owners paid at the time either.

  • brian

    I don’t blame them for doing this. Verizon has totally messed up the Nexus experience by blocking apps and painfully slow updates. I don’t consider my verizon nexus a true nexus because of Verizon’s treatment of the phone.

  • InvaderDJ

    For $350 I really can’t complain about LTE, and I understand why Google isn’t doing it. Verizon utterly screwed up the GNex, it’s still a great phone but compromised in so many ways compared to the GSM version. I’m stuck on Verizon until 2013 at the earliest so I’m not getting the Nexus 4 right away, but at that price point I might just get a prepaid line through T-Mobile and tether using my GNex or something.

  • Bionic

    Totally agree lame asss excuses. Simple solution would be to put a 2800mah or more battery in it. Problem solved. But whatever Andy ill just wait until the Motorola Nexus comes out next year.

    • Nathan

      Actually, not so simple. Their goal is to have a cheap, great smartphone. That would raise the cost.

  • Po0yAn

    these are just lousy excuses made by robin. Google already has a beast of a phone on verizon which is LTE capable and has a radio chip which works on any kind of network around the world and is a battery life champ among all the smart phones from any of the ecosystems… and it’s called Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD.

  • i like how people are gauging them buying the nexus 4 based on international specs….
    if the nexus 4 came to verizon with 4g lte and good battery life, people will be all over it but since google said no us carrier release, people are all butt hurt about it

    $400 for an unlocked gsm device with no contract, thats a much better deal than anything verizon or sprint can offer

  • Toto

    And the lake of Dual Carrier on Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 3G ?!! #STRANGE !

  • 4g63mark

    I hate this announcement for plenty of reasons. First of all, there was SO MUCH CRITICISM towards Apple because they did this SAME THING. Now all of a sudden Android is the one depriving it’s customers of the latest technology rather than Apple. It brings MASSIVE shame to Android and has many of us shaking our head. If we wanted a phone with glass on the front and back with no LTE we would’ve considered the iPhone. I’m no longer interested in staying with the Nexus brand. And since Samsungs Touch Wiz seems to be advancing good ideas at a much faster rate than Android, it’s safe to say that I’m looking forward to the Galaxy Note 2, keeping my GNEX, or maybe even picking up a RAZR HD.

  • Why would you need that much download speed anyway? You’re being restricted by limited data you could use unless you’re a freaking rich guy and won’t probably end up with a Nexus phone.

    • Bionic

      Argument fail. Most people want to buy this phone for the $349 price because when you do you keep your unlimited data. Why do I want that much speed? Cuz interwebs, that’s why.

  • sport

    Totally happy with my Razr Maxx. I get huge batt life AND LTE. This phone hasn’t disappointed. Why on earth would I go get a Nexus without LTE?? LTE is a huge factor for sales nowadays so leaving it out was a nail in the coffin of this phone. NOT smart….

    • Bionic

      The one obvious reason is to keep unlimited data.

  • Follower

    Thank you Andy,
    if there is no 4G in my area and in most countries in the world, then why I should pay for it in my phone?
    Andy, thank you again.

  • AG
  • ZT

    3G = BIG FAIL. That’s total BS, you can still have good battery life with LTE with the newer chipsets, like the S3. Why does it look so much like the GN? Did Google come up with the design for both phones or something? I have no issues with keeping my GN for another year.

    I’m so disappointed in Andy and Google. This is a step backwards.

  • Mordecaidrake

    My Motorola Razr HD MAXX has all the networks, and it works perfectly with no bad battery life. Glad I didn’t hold out for this hunk of crap.

  • I really feel the lack of LTE was because of the whole fiasco involving Verizon and not so much on the battery drain. Verizon really screwed up the user experience after the delay in the Galaxy Nexus’ launch and the huge delays seen in actually getting updates out. Google probably just didn’t want to deal with the headaches this time around.

  • I love my GNex and I wouldn’t call my experience horrible. But I rooted the device ASAP. I figured it was a Nexus device and demanded to be rooted. Always keep the stock UI with great battery life. I have to say tho the Nexus 4 looks great. And I’m not ready to give up my unlimited 4g on Verizon so the next phone will have to be amazing for me to pay full price.

    • Justin Swanson

      If you root you aren’t a general user. I think others are right about the fiasco with VZW. I hope that they re-release this device in the next few months with LTE support. Possibly something like Apple did, different bands for different areas.

  • Ben

    This does make the assumption than AT&T’s LTE is available where I am. Which it’s not. A non-LTE phone for me is fine. I am not the only one.

  • Robin Ha

    I am on a family plan with 3 people on Verizon. 2 of us are done with out contract, but one is still on a contract, which ends september 2013. Problem is I have an OG Droid. I can’t upgrade cause we want to switch to T-mobile. Should the one still on contract break out of it and should we all buy a nexus 4 and go to T-mobile?

    • Robin Ha

      Not that I hate my OG droid. it’s just kinda slow.

  • Jim McClain

    no LTE is like buying a phone with old technology, if I wanted that I would buy an iphone

  • Am I the only person who is not making a kneejerk reaction? Everybody is reacting to this just like the reactions to the nexus 7 not having a rear camera or SD card slot. It’s being sold for $300 OFF CONTRACT. It isn’t going to have everything a $300 on contract phone has. My impression is that Google is trying to make a strategic shift with respect to the paradigm of subsidized/unsubsidized phones and the locked in nature of network providers. Everyone has gotten accustomed to selling themselves to a company for 2 years in exchange for a phone they’re convinced is so much better, when I honestly don’t believe that to be the case. If I am right about Google’s motivations, I am all for trying to help break that trend.

    • Justin Swanson

      Google is trying to saturate the market with devices that use Google Services. They are also trying to breakdown the wall of contracts, but I think they really just want people using devices that run Android. Google’s goal is more people using their stuff. They will turn the profit on the ad sales, not on device sales. Whereas, Apple makes profit on the device sales.

  • Alexander Garcia

    I retract my statement below about getting the RAZR Maxx HD since I’m a slave to Verizon. I know longer want to be Verizon’s bitch and I will follow Google’s lead and get the LG Nexus 4 for T-Mobile (T-Mo’s service is actually pretty good where I live) and leave Verizon for good… in November when my contract ends. =P Good bye Verizon! Hello Google Nexus! =D

  • xboxkid

    I love the battery life on my GNex… I don’t see the problem…

  • RoninX

    My first reaction was that this was a huge mistake on Google’s part. Personally, I would never consider buying a non-LTE phone.

    But my second reaction is that if you want to buy an LTE Android phone, and willing to put up with locked bootloaders and all of delays involved in receiving updates through the carriers, you have plenty to choose from. With the Nexus 4, Google is trying to create an unlocked phone that receives updates as soon as Google makes them available, which will always be on the most recent version of Android, and which is completely free of bloatware and other carrier modifications. Android fans have been asking for this for years.

    The only way for Google to do this was to bypass the carriers. Personally, I think it would have been better to develop a GSM+LTE version that would have worked on AT&T alone. However, it’s not clear to me whether Google would still need AT&T’s approval to push updates to an unlocked GSM+LTE phone.

    • youareme7

      Well AT&T actually said they will allow unlocked phones on their LTE network, so it would work if they built one; it’s probably they didn’t think there was enough reason to make one specifically for AT&T’s bands since they’re they only ones that use them. I’m still annoyed because I was really hoping they would do exactly that. I’d pay an extra hundy for LTE on AT&T easy. As much of a bummer it is I’m still buying one because Nexus is just too good.

      • Justin Swanson

        Also the additional costs for buyers that DON’T use AT&T. I lot of people in other countries (Europe/Asia) don’t use the same LTE bands as AT&T.

  • Chuck Finley

    The funniest thing about this is that for all the Android fans and iPhone fans that read this site (and there are many, gotta stay up on the competition) that are making a big deal out of LTE-gate, did you really think that the Nexus 4 was ever supposed to be the “Profit Beast” meant to really take on i5?
    The Nexus 4 pulled a “Nexus 7”, it gave you ALMOST everything you wanted for a great price. Other than Verizon’s LTE coverage, what incentive does Google have to make another LTE Nexus (don’t even mention AT&T/Sprint)? Verizon’s network gives it the cache to dictate to Google (and others) what a phone includes when it joins “The Network”. Google didn’t want to go through that again, so they left out LTE (and some storage) to save some cash on some tech, they weren’t really going to use that much anyway (I will admit, Rubin’s excuses sounded lame); how many locations, though, really have LTE (excluding “The Network”)?
    I mean, honestly, if Verizon and Google had agreed to call the LTE Galaxy Nexus the “Droid Prime”, “Galaxy Prime” or whatever and left out “Nexus”, no one would have cared that it didn’t get it’s updates as quick, but because it had Nexus in the name, it was supposed to held to the Nexus standards, which it failed. I think Google didn’t want another Verizon/Galaxy Nexus fiasco, so it took another route; just leave it out completely and let everyone kick rocks until the next shiny new thing is released.
    Verizon will still release it’s SuperDuperMcAwesome phones that will have LTE, they just won’t have Nexus in the name or receive updates as quickly. And I’m still buying as long as my area’s LTE coverage is strong and I can keep my unlimited data. AT&T/Sprint will still release more LTE phones than they have cities with LTE and the average consumer will still not care…

    • Justin Swanson

      Agree with your point. Also remember that the Optimus phone that this device is based on will probably come to VZW (and other carriers) with LTE.

  • omgitzjose

    so i guess im keeping my glaxy nexus for a while :/ to be honest i dont see much of an upgrade in the Nexus 4 even if it did have LTE

  • Jim McClain

    releasing a smart phone without 4g is just plain stupid, they will sell very few of them, and I bet they never tell one customer that it doesnt have 4g

  • violator702

    How about putting a larger battery in it?