In comments made today explaining why the new Nexus 4 doesn’t have 4G LTE, Google’s Andy Rubin admitted that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus LTE, which includes the Sprint Galaxy Nexus and Verizon Galaxy Nexus, wasn’t a good experience for users.
Rubin, Google’s Android head, made the comments to The Verge when explaining why the Nexus 4 is without 4G LTE connectivity this time around and will only feature HSPA+ speeds. According to Rubin, there are several reasons why the Nexus 4 doesn’t have 4G LTE. Very plainly, they consist of battery life issues, something that was prevalent with the Galaxy Nexus, and cost.
Because Google wants full control of the software process on the Nexus, releasing a 4G LTE Nexus 4 was out of the question as it would require Sprint and Verizon, both CDMA carriers, which is a network type that is not friendly to unlocked phone. So, as Google points out, it would have had to build a custom GSM LTE phone for AT&T’s 77 markets which would have been an extremely expensive endeavor and one that didn’t fit into Google’s business model.
Rubin takes it a bit further though saying that the experiences on the Galaxy Nexus LTE, which again includes the Verizon Galaxy Nexus and Sprint Galaxy Nexus, were sub par for customers. They weren’t “great experiences,” he said.
This admission comes almost a year after the Samsung Galaxy Nexus was first released on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, the first Nexus device to feature both 4G LTE and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
From the very beginning, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus caused problems for Google. First, Verizon delayed the launch of the device until December to promote the Motorola Droid RAZR. Then, it took five months to issue a bug fix update for the phone which was plagued by software issues. In July, Google released Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Verizon was the last carrier to release the software to its users.
For Google, that just wasn’t the type of experience it wanted from its Nexus devices and ultimately, those mishaps played into the company’s decision to limit the Nexus 4 to HSPA+ and GSM.
Does this mean that we’ll never see another pure vanilla LTE-enabled Nexus? No. But what it does mean is that those looking to get one will likely have to wait at least another year before one arrives.