Google just dropped the price of the Nexus 4, its current Nexus smartphone, making it even more attractive than it once was. However, as we get ready to enter the month of September, we feel like the smart play is to hold off on buying Google’s current Nexus and wait for Google’s new Nexus smartphone, rumored to be the Nexus 5.
Last October, Google announced the Nexus 4 in an announcement that was marred by Hurricane Sandy and its winds and rains that ripped through New York City. Instead of showing it off on stage, the company issued a brief press release detailing the major features of the Nexus 4 including its November release date. Of course, Google didn’t really need to say much more considering how extensive leaks had been.
Prior to its arrival in November, there was skepticism towards the device due to its small amount of on board storage and its lack of 4G LTE data speeds. Many people, including myself, wondered whether the Nexus 4 would be able to compete in an age where large file sizes and 4G LTE data speeds dominate the landscape.
Turns out, Google was on to something. The Nexus 4 went on to become a major success, maybe even bigger than Google itself imagined. The company seemed ill-prepared for the amount of people that flocked to the device as it immediately sold out on day one, then again two weeks later, never to return until February.
So why did the Nexus 4 sell so well? For one, it came with fantastic hardware including a gorgeous 4.7-inch display, speedy processor, solid 8MP camera, and a design that blew away cheap Android phones. Two, it had all the perks of a Nexus smartphone including vanilla Android, fast updates and an unlocked bootloader for customization. And three, it came with an extremely cheap price tag which has now been lowered down to $199 and $250 off-contract, unheard of in the smartphone world.
Needless to say, the Nexus 4 is one of the best Android options on the market today. But we don’t think you should buy it or the Galaxy S4 Google Edition or the HTC One Google Edition, two other Nexus-like phones.
Why You Should Wait for the Nexus 5
Those looking at the Nexus 4 are likely looking at its low cost, its good hardware and its vanilla software. Those looking at Google’s HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 likely want their hardware paired with vanilla software. And while they are appealing, we suggest holding out for a few weeks for Google’s new Nexus smartphone, or smartphones.
Not Long to Wait
We don’t know when the new Nexus smartphone or smartphones will be out but we have some educated guesses.
Every year, Google releases a new Nexus smartphone and there are indications that 2013 will be no different. Rumors suggest a Nexus 5 from either LG, Motorola, or both. Rumors have suggested that we could once again see the Nexus smartphone announced in October and we absolutely think this is the case for a couple of reasons:
- Google’s original Nexus 7 arrived in July, it was replaced this July by the Nexus 7 2 and the Nexus 4 was announced in October.
- Rumors have all pointed to Q4 which consists of October, November and December.
- December seems way too late given that Google has already confirmed a new Nexus 10 tablet and it will likely want that, and the Nexus 5, to come out before the end of the holiday shopping season, ahead of Black Friday, to compete with the iPad 5 and iPhone 5C, Apple’s rumored cheap iPhone.
September is only just beginning meaning consumers likely have about eight weeks before the new Nexus 5 smartphone comes out. In the scheme of things, that’s not that long. And even if the Nexus 5 isn’t up to par, the Nexus 4 will still be available, possibly for cheaper, when the new Nexus smartphone does come around.
That low price isn’t going anywhere so why not wait and see what the Nexus 5 is all about as it’s likely going to have some big improvements over the Nexus 4.
Maybe the biggest upgrade that the Nexus 5 could feature is 4G LTE. One of the biggest flaws on the Nexus 4 is its HSPA+ connectivity. Yes, HSPA+ can be fast but 4G LTE is the future and it’s a standard that is found across all flagship devices in 2013 not called Nexus 4. And while we can’t confirm LTE for the Nexus 5, there is a very, very good chance that it will come on board. The proof lies in the new Nexus 7.
Last year’s Nexus 7, like the Nexus 4, came with HSPA+ cellular data, not LTE. This year’s Nexus 7 however is about to arrive with 4G LTE connectivity on board. This will allow it to pull down extremely fast data speeds, something that is essential for a device with a 7-inch form factor and even more essential for a smartphone.
One of the main reasons why people own smartphones is to be able to perform a bunch of “smart” tasks while on-the-go, tasks like email, watching a video and browsing the web. With LTE, those things are much faster and with the United States’ top carriers now boasting massive LTE networks, it’s hard to find an area without it.
If the Nexus 5 does have LTE on board, it will instantly be more attractive than the Nexus 4. So it’s worth saving that money and waiting for what appears to be the inevitable.
One of the other big flaws of the Nexus 4 is the fact that it isn’t available for Verizon, the nation’s largest 4G LTE service provider. The year before, the Galaxy Nexus came to Verizon’s 4G LTE network though that device was marred by issues and deemed a bad experience by Google.
The arrival of the new Nexus 7 not only brought LTE back to the Nexus program but it also brought Verizon back into the fold as well as the device is capable of running on usual suspects AT&T and T-Mobile but also on Verizon’s 4G LTE network.
Google wouldn’t confirm this compatibility for upcoming Nexus smartphones but Android’s Sundar Pichai did leave the door wide open for this time of network connectivity.
So while not confirmed, it looks like Google may remedy one of the Nexus 4′s most glaring misses when the Nexus 5 arrives.
The Nexus 4 has solid hardware, don’t get us wrong, but the Nexus 5 will almost certainly have better hardware. Year-after-year, we’ve seen hardware improvements in Google’s Nexus smartphone as the company looks to keep pace with technology. The Nexus 4 for instance possessed a high-end quad-core processor, HD display, modern looking design, good 8MP camera, and more.
Google’s Nexus 5 should improve upon most if not all of that as 1080p displays not rule the roost, next-generation quad-core processors have hit shelves, and camera technology has improved. We even saw Google’s Vic Gundotra claim that Nexus smartphones of the future would have better cameras.
So in just eight or so weeks, we should see a device that has all of the software perks of the Nexus 4 with hardware that makes the current Nexus pale in comparison.
We haven’t seen any Nexus 5 price rumors emerge but it’s safe to assume that Google is going to keep pricing of its next Nexus smartphone extremely low.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Nexus 4′s success.
- IPhone 5C is expected to be extremely cheap, at least for an Apple product.
- It kept the Nexus 7 price low once again.
We aren’t saying it will be as low as the Nexus 4 is right now but it should be pretty close to where it was just a week ago which is still extremely cheap for a smartphone, particularly one that should come with some high-end hardware features.
At the very least, it will be far cheaper than both the HTC One Google Edition ($599) and Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition ($650) which are insanely overpriced.
Finally, prospective buyers need to weigh whether or not it’s worth waiting eight weeks or what will likely be at least a year more of software support from Google.
Google does a great job of keeping its Nexus devices update for years, the Galaxy Nexus just got Android 4.3, but there comes a time where devices get left behind. A prime example was the Nexus S getting left behind on Android 4.1.
Because the new Nexus 5 is going to be one year younger than the Nexus 4, it should get at least one big update that the Nexus 4 doesn’t get. So is waiting eight weeks for a huge Android update and a year more of support worth it?
We definitely think so. And remember, even if the Nexus 5 is a flop, the Nexus 4 will still be out there, ready to pick up.