The Nexus 4, priced at $299, raises the bar for all smartphone manufacturers in a BIG way

by: Mike AndriciOctober 30, 2012

The rumors were true: Google has officially announced the LG Optimus G-based Google Nexus 4, a smartphone that represents the new standard for high-end Android smartphones.

But although we kinda knew that this would happen for the past month or so, few weren’t surprised to learn that Google Nexus 4 will sell for $299 unlocked in its 8GB version. In a market where high-end smartphones are usually priced at roughly $600 unlocked, the Nexus 4 is a steal, and I’m willing to bet a six pack that numerous Android fans and users will jump on the Nexus 4 bandwagon during this holiday season.

However, this is not the first time we’ve seen Google aggressively pricing a Nexus device. The Nexus 7 tablet has sold better than any other Android tablet since it was released back in June this year, and has established a new standard for budget tablets.

Nexus 4 – Nexus 7: the analogy

In the world of mobile technology it’s really all about timing and component life cycles, so if we’re to take a quick look at the specs on the Nexus 7, we’ll notice that the Nexus 7 packed components that were considered top-end roughly six months before the tablet actually hit the market:

– 1 GB of RAM was the standard for high-end Android devices starting early 2012
– Tegra 3 SoC was the SoC to crave for back when the international version of the HTC One X had just been launched (April 2012).
– PPI densities of roughly 250 were considered to be the minimum required for high-end Android devices starting with the time period before the 2011 winter holidays

What Google did at the time of the Nexus 7 launch was to offer specs that were roughly mid-end at the time and price the end product so that it falls in the budget tablet segment. In these conditions, although the Android tablet market has yet to reach maturity, the Nexus 7 was a success (and will continue to be one). At the time being, the Nexus 7 owns both the budget and mid end sectors of the Android tablet market.

On to the Nexus 4, this is actually a device that features top-end specs at the time of its launch:

– The Snapdragon S4 Pro (1.5 GHz quad-core Krait processor and Adreno 320) is the fastest platform in the Android ecosystem, one that only a limited number of smartphones are currently using (the LG Optimus G is one of them, obviously)
– 2 GB of RAM is spec feature available on only a limited number of smartphones
– A PPI ratio of 320 (non-Pentile) is about as best as they come

LG Nexus 4

So, at the price of $299 unlocked, the Google Nexus 4 is actually a top-end Android smartphone, priced at less than the entry-level Samsung Galaxy Ace 2. As far as spec battles go, I cannot name an Android smartphone that can top the Nexus 4. Sure, 8 GB of internal storage space might seem too little for most hardcore smartphone users, but the 16 GB version also represents a great deal as well: it costs just $349 unlocked.

Google vs Android OEMs

But now that we’ve concluded that the Nexus 4 is even more of a steal than the Nexus 7, let’s take the time to consider what could this mean for Google. So let me ask a simple question: if the Nexus 7 was a success in a market where the Android OS is struggling, how many people will line-up to buy the Nexus 4 smartphone, taking into context that Android is the undisputed king of the smartphone OS market? My bets are on “a lot”!

But what does the Google Nexus 4 mean to other Android manufacturers? As far as I’m concerned, the announcement of the $299 Google Nexus 4 comes as a disaster for all Android smartphone manufacturers out there: why would you get a mid-end Android smartphone anymore when you can get the fastest Android smartphone in the world at an even price? And why get the Samsung Galaxy S3 now that you can spend almost half the money on a smartphone that is not only better spec-wise, but one that will be the first to receive future Android OS updates?

This is the true power of Google: since the search giant makes money out of the ads served inside Android, it can afford to sell the Nexus 4 smartphone at no profit. Contrarily, all of the other smartphone manufacturers make profit out of their premiums: they have to sell at profit to keep their business alive since they have no alternative revenue streams.

The only manufacturer that has anything to gain from the entire Google Nexus 4 business is LG. And that for a couple of reasons:

a) If the Google Nexus 4 does sell many units, LG’s sub-companies that manufacture the display, the camera, the plastic and the battery earn lucrative contracts.
b) If the Google Nexus 4 is well received by Android fans, LG will wash out all that negative rep that the OEM has earned during the past couple of years

The Motorola / Google Nexus smartphone

Take a quick look at what Google is able to accomplish by collaborating with hardware partners that it does not own: it has reignited interest in the Android tablet market via the ASUS-manufactured Nexus 7, and now is preparing to take by storm the smartphone market via the LG-manufactured Nexus 4.

What will happen when Google starts using Motorola as a manufacturer for Nexus devices? Both ASUS and LG are surely making some profit out of their Nexus partnerships, so Google could actually spend less on each device by using Motorola as a partner. Some claim that this will turn into profit for Google when it starts putting its backyard manufacturer to good use, while others claim that Google could try to price its Nexus products even more aggressively and outright destroy all the other Android OEMs out there. There’s no way of telling for sure, but it sure makes for an interesting prospect!


No matter how things evolve from now on, one thing is certain: the Google Nexus 4 raises the bar for Android smartphone manufacturers in a BIG way. It will be hard competing with Google’s Nexus 4 during this year’s holiday season, and I’m sure Q4 2012 financial reports coming from all smartphone manufacturers will prove me right.

What do you guys think? Can you think of a scenario where the vast majority of Android fans will choose any other smartphone for at least the next three, four months? Let us know in the comment section below!

Next > Nexus 4 prices in India may shock you!

  • who cares this shit can’t even beat the note 2 in antutu, let alone daily use.

    • beat its in price. beat it in the fact that it works on all carriers and does not need to be unlocked. wireless charging. better build quality than the note..imo pure google beats touchwiz any day

    • Dalbir_Singh

      You really need to develop a better attitude towards technology.

    • ha

      it more than triples note 2 what are you talking about?

      • @ha please look at the galaxy note two benchmark on antutu, then the optimus G which is the same stuff as in the nexus 4. if you are clever enough look at it.

        • Jose Hernandez

          LG Optimus G is almost the same and the Nexus 4, almost. They are not the same phone and their benchmark can be different. There is more to a phone that just the benchmark score. Either way, in a couple of months when the next big thing is out, it wont really matter.

          • same phone, different software.

          • Jaisal

            Actually very different software, LG’s own software (e.g like Note 2 has touchwiz) eats up a lot of processing capacity and ram, thus the results of antutu will get affected. Nexus 4 is pure android and its results will be very different. The Snapdragon quad core processor & the accompanying GPU in Nexus 4 is the fastest in the android world as of now and will remain so for quite some time…that said Note 2 is absolutely brilliant but for its unlocked price in India i can buy a nexus 4 and nexus 10…

  • olbp


    The Nexus 4, priced at $299, raises the bar for all smartphone manufacturers in a BIG way

    . .

    Not without that SD card, it doesn’t.

    • True. Isn’t there a 16GB variant though? If there is, it isn’t completely terrible.

      • Robert Stevens

        Not completely terrible but still disappointing. I think it’d affect mostly people who need to carry a huge music or video collection with them, but you can alleviate some of that with online storage. Also game players would be hurt, especially those who play the games that use several GB of storage. One or two games could eat through this in a hurry. I personally don’t like to play those games on a small screen, but some do. I think it’s better to carry a separate 7″ and up tablet to play those games with.

      • Matt Chung

        there IS a 16gb variant dont worry. although some people might want larger capacity 16 gigs is enough for me personally

    • Dalbir_Singh

      Why not? If you want a phone with an SD-card, then you can get one of HTC’s or Samsung’s high-end phones. I can’t believe people are seriously complaining about this phone at this price point.

      • William

        Because it’s a very important standard feature that some people look for.

        • Dalbir_Singh

          Don’t get me wrong. It is important, but considering the price point, I can understand why they would do it.

          • Matt Chung

            i agree and yes i love googles products but it is kind of a shame they dont want to put in sd slots. Lack of one wont drive me away from buying this phone at all, but i dont really think it is a very expensive feature to add and i hate cloud storage. My main reason for not liking it is due to data requirements and you wont necessarily always have signal etc… i dont see the harm in putting one in but yeah. get another phone if you will die without it

          • Jose Hernandez

            Very nicely said.

      • Jared Persinger

        For me not having LTE was a dealbreaker

        • Dalbir_Singh

          But it’s an international phone.Don’t international phones generally not support LTE?

          • no, but i think they soon will, LTE is rolling out in other countries, in South Africa, two carriers have launched LTE

          • Christopher Chin

            this might be true, but not all LTE carriers are compaitble. I doubt you could take your LTE verizon phone to South Africa and have them provision it on their network.

    • Flanders42

      I haven’t had a smartphone with an SD Card since my old Palm Treo 650…

  • Mike P

    Without a version for Verizon, this device is a non-starter for me and probably for a lot of other people.

    • kevin

      hmm. Isn’t it pentaband? so it works on all carriers no need to buy it from a stupid carrier or have it unlocked.

      • Robert Stevens

        I believe when people say pentaband they usually are referring to how many GSM/UMTS bands a phone supports (AT&T and T-Mobile have different bands in the US). The phone would have to be CDMA to support Verizon (or Sprint). If you remember the Galaxy Nexus has a separate version that was made for Verizon and Sprint. In addition, this phone is HSPA+, not LTE. So even if it did work on Verizon or Sprint, you wouldn’t get 4G.

      • jimrebello

        it doesn’t work on CDMA networks – Sprint & Verizon.

  • Sinepa

    I have the Galaxy Note 2 and as far as I’m concerned the Nexus 4 doesn’t even come close to it.

    The S3 doesn’t cost 600 dollars, it can actually be found in Europe at 450€

    I agree on one thing though, the price is ridiculously low and that can only be good for consumers.

    • FiferBC

      Yeah you’re right it only cost $583, €450 x 1.2961 (Current USD to EUR exchange) plus tax & shipping.

      You’re entitled to you opinion on the Note 2, I think its a great phone but the nexus is half the cost! As for benchmarks the Optimus G was only 200 points back on Antutu which is real terms is unnoticeable! Also with the newer version of Jelly Bean, on the Nexus 4, that 200 point difference might get wipe away!

      We do agree on one thing though; Which ever way you slice it the Nexus 4 is a steal & will create ripples through the market.

      • Sinepa

        I was actually making that statement for a european customer. The Nexus 4 will cost 299 € as opposed to the 450 € for the S3.

        • FiferBC

          I see what you are saying but whether it’s a European customer or a North American customer when you convert the currency it’s roughly the same price all over the world.

          With respect to the benchmark comment it was aimed at the discussion in general – it saved me from having to post twice.

          • Juandelacruz

            Good for you guys…here in the Philippines the S3 cost P27,500 and the Note 2 cost P31,000…

  • cycad007

    Sure, its exciting for users…but at what price point will manufacturers/Google partners say ‘NO!’ to Google? Lowering the price point of high-end phones will only result in razor-thin margins. Samsung may have reported record-profits this year…but I guarantee you, they won’t next year (loss of Apple business + lower profit margin on devices). Most Android manufacturers are already struggling (Hello HTC & LG).

    I, for one, do *NOT* want my choice of manufacturers to be Samsung or Motorola (Google). I’m not objecting to the Nexus program (I love it)…I’m just concerned about the future of the Nexus program/ecosystem.

    • are you seriously complaining about a phone being reasonably priced.

      • he is complaining that Google may wipe out most other Android OEM’s which will result in a loss of choice and competition

    • Matt Chung

      Then get a different phone from you favorite manufacturer? i really could not give a rats ass about how much any OEM is making, why would i the consumer care in any way shape or form how much money they are making? As the long as the product i am buying is good quality i dont care if they make a profit of 10 billion dollars. In any case the only reason smartphones are so expensive is because cell companies jack up the price so that people are less inclined to buy it outright and sell their souls to a contract with them. Things like this is why i LOVE google and their attitude towards not screwing all of their customers. They are not being greedy with their marketing strategy and things like this are what creates consumer loyalty. It also makes me more positive towards buying things from their stores etc..Google is just doing it right, hands down.

  • Ranjith Thiru

    I agree with you, Mike :)

  • sean

    Take my money

  • Bruce Gavin Ward

    While the ‘bar’ is definitely raised, if Google is smart (and there might just be some evidence of that), Google will want to work with many of the other players in the smartPhone – especially Android, field, as they will come in handy from time to time. All relationships bear fruit only if engagingly maintained [that’s why you are staying home this friday, perhaps].

  • Robert Stevens

    I think the major reason people won’t get this phone in the US is if they are on Verizon or Sprint since this phone doesn’t support CDMA or LTE. That’s over 160 million subscribers or more than half the general US population. If someone wants to stick with one of those two companies, they’d be able to get a subsidized Galaxy S3 or HTX One or Galaxy Note 2 for less than this. Yes, it’d be cheaper to buy this unlocked phone and move to T-Mobile, but despite the higher prices and data caps, Verizon GAINED subscribers last quarter. I assume Google will make an LTE version at some point as they did with the Galaxy Nexus. At that point, you have to compare features and decide if the lack of a MicroSD port is important. And I’m sure Samsung and HTC will be releasing new phones soon which will match the specs and be cheaper due to being subsidized.

    I personally would buy this phone on it’s release if it has a MicroSD port. As of now, I’m not sure.

    • It’s already confirmed that it will NOT have a MircoSD port. No Nexus device ever will.

      • Jose Hernandez

        Thank you for posting the link.

    • On a Clear Day

      It does make you wonder why they would deliberately leave out things as fundamental as a micro SD card, LTE. AND a removable battery.

      It’s like they are deliberately trying to make it unappealing. I had high hopes for this phone and was seriously thinking about buying one, but that ain’t gonna happen – not with three strikes aginst it; it’s out.

      • g

        LTE might be fundamental in USA. What is fundamental and capitalist is to BUY your own mobile and choose whatever service providers.

      • Jose Hernandez

        The previous Nexus phones did not have a removable battery or an SD card. Google has made it clear that they prefer to build their phones this way. As for LTE, they have their reasons as well. Most people would not want to see the fiasco that was getting updates the the Verizon Nexus (Hybrid). You have no such issues with GSM providers.

      • Geoffrey Mendoza

        I understand about micro SD and LTE for Verizon subscribers (and more importantly, CDMA for Sprint) , but a removable battery is fundamental? While I understand that you may have a need for it, it’s a niche market.

        • On a Clear Day

          The reason I would eschew a phone that does not have a removable battery is that I have always tried to “prepare for the worst but expect the best”. I don’t know about you Geoffrey, but I really hate returning an item to the manufacturer – especially when it is something as complex and personalized as a high level phone.

          By making the battery non-removable they are opening you and I up to a number of potentially serious problems:

          A. If the battery fails – due to being either defective or just wearing out you have no option (unless you are somehow able to install one on your own) but to return it to the factory and be without it. It also means that since you cannot take it out to put in a replacement that you can’t even diagnosis whether or not the battery is the reason it has died. This represents – for moi at least – a HUGE pain in the ass factor!

          B. I really, really hate running out of battery power. I realize Google has put a decent sized battery into the Nexus 4, but again, why do I want to let myself be hostage to what Google or Apple says I should be satisfied with just because they say it should be so?

          As far as LTE goes or CDMA goes – I can live without them – I would not go with Verizon (if you paid me – been there, done that) nor Sprint. Why would I want a phone that is locked into their closed in systems and unusable anywhere else in the world? So that’s not a deal breaker.

          As for the SD card – after reading Kartike’s comment below with the link provided to explain why, supposedly, no SD card was included that makes a bit of sense. Personally, I have never had any issues with a phone that has an SD card in it; so I think the reason may in all likelihood be given a have a higher, rather than lower, B.S. rating.

          The Nexus 4 is a hell of a phone for the money – but how much more could it have cost to at least make it so you could get an extended battery or have a micro SD card? Didn’t Google pay attention to what happened when HTC – thinking it was Apple – made the HTC One X without a removable battery? Guess not.

  • Googles going to make bank. Tons of cash.

  • andhavarapu

    Nope I disagree. Simply because many don’t know about Nexus phones but surely do about a Samsung S3. Its changing but it’s gotta be marketed well!!!

  • BoobsRadley

    No LTE, no SD card, no CDMA. Pass. I was excited, now I’m just disappointed.

    Id rather pay 500 for a phone that has it all than pay 300 for one that’s missing crucial components (for me).

    • Steve Rodrigue

      I’m pretty sure a lot of people will disagree with you. 42Mbps HSPA+ is not slow at all. The 16Gb + cloud services = unlimited space.

      The 200$ you save on the phone you can invest it in cloud storage. And this storage will be shared among ALL your devices (PC, tablets, smartphone).

      • Danny Roberts

        That’s true but if your tied to a contract with Verizon or Sprint you can’t get this phone. Personally I feel having unlimited data is more important than paying $350 for a phone.

        • Jose Hernandez

          I have T-Mobile as my provider, and use their new unlimited 4G plan. I love having access to very fast HSPA+ 42MPS service, my download speeds are between 18mb-24mb. This is amazingly good service for a very reasonable price. I don’t need LTE, not with the speeds I get, my battery last longer because of the HSPA+ service in better with battery life, I would like to have an SD card, but with unlimited 4G is not really a problem. CDMA? I have had services with all of the carriers before, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, I much prefer dealing with the GSM service. I could not stand how Verizon tried to put too much control and what you can and can’t do with the phone. I hear your preference and respect it. I am just glad we have a fantastic option like this. The second point is that when you had the CDMA Verizon Nexus, it was a total fiasco when it came for updates, this may be why Google chose to go with GSM partners only.

        • Geoffrey Mendoza

          I thought Verizon was using shared plans with data caps now? The 300 or so you save and cheaper t mobile rates ($30 per month for 100 min, unlimited text/data, though hspa+ is slightly slower) will more than make up for early termination fee.

  • GyntHawn

    Good timing, I am getting on tmobiles backbone and needed a new phone.

  • Am so getting this phone! Given the price point I don’t even consider doing a spec sheet comparison with any other high-end Android phone.

  • Tommy Vo

    If I did not have the Galaxy S 3 I would buy this in a heart beat. I would love to have expandable memory because it gives me more freedom but I will learn to live without it. I only play 1 game at a time anyways, so I really don’t need to fill up my phone with games. As for the removable battery I guess I can always buy a portable charger? Both of these things wouldn’t be my ideal choice but I can make it work for this price. Then again good thing I have the S3 so I don’t have to worry about it :) but it is good news for everyone who has a low end / mid end Android phone. This is a definite steal. Me personally, I am not willing to give up the S3 just for a tiny bit of upgrade in speed and benchmark in each area. The S3 is the only Android phone that has similar marketing power to Apple products. It is well known and I praise Samsung for going head to head with Apple. I also love their innovations so I will continue to support Samsung. But Google did change the game with all the great specs and price. I expect Samsung and many other OEM to counter right back with their next phone.

  • luch

    Nexus 4 will not be a competitor killer until it has more than 16 gb of storage and an LTE antenna.

  • great article man…and of course TAKE MY MONEY

  • This phone is best bang for your buck by far, but many people still want more bang no matter how much buck it costs. (LTE, CDMA, microSD)

  • Espponential

    Finally there is now a competitor to the iPad, no I am not talking about the Nexus 4, its the Nexus 10 Tab, comes with Android 4.2 (Key Lime Pie) here’s about it, MUST READ…

  • Corn

    I know some will get mad but again the S3 and the Note 2 will own the market for a few months. Nexus phones do sell I mean I have a Gnex and a Note 2 but…..The Gnex is only popular to Geeks like ourselves not to the rest of the population I could never see myself giving up my Note 2 for any Nexus device there is just to much horsepower in the Note

  • omg! i am absolutely dumbstruck!!!!! u just made my day!

  • I freakin can’t wait for Nexus 4’s release.

  • nely

    Wow I had my mind made up, but of course Nexus for had to come around, and mess things up…

  • manicks

    I think the reason for not having LTE is google is giving time for other OEMs time to recover from this powerful punch…..and its unfortunate that google has not launched any of their products in India,if they do it with Nexus 4 where LTE is no biigdeal, I am sure Nexus 4 will be no 1 in the market if it has same price tag.