Apr 23 AT 8:31 AM Dustin Earley 29 Comments

Is Google really working on a 32GB Nexus 4 with LTE for I/O?

nexus-4-finger

Even though the Nexus 4 was released just some five months ago, the rumor mill is quick at work, spinning tales of new hardware set to be announced at Google I/O. Among the rumors that a new Nexus 7 will be announced, there is a recently surfaced rumor that Google is working on an updated Nexus 4 with LTE and 32GB of storage.

When Google released the Nexus 4, it was made perfectly clear that a lot of the things missing from the device were intentional. The lack of LTE and limited storage being the two most prominent issues picked at by practically everyone talking about it. Andy Rubin, then the head of Android, was quoted as saying the absence of LTE was, “tactical.”

The LTE situation across the globe is complex. To access GSM/HSPA+ speeds all over the globe, only a handful of frequencies need to be accessible to a device. The issue changes greatly with LTE, and even more so with America’s CDMA/LTE hybrid networks. If Google were to release an LTE device, how would it work?

Any LTE enabled Nexus device would most likely only work on one or two LTE networks. The most likely scenario would be Google releasing a revised Nexus 4 that works on AT&T and T-Mobile LTE. Rumors that an LTE enabled Nexus 4 would work on other carriers, or that it would include CDMA, seem far fetched.

While there is a sizable user base to be captured with CDMA devices in the US, the amount of negotiating, update hassles and AOSP headache needed outweigh the benefits. Right now, there’s simply no easy way to craft one device, and have it work everywhere.

The rumored Nexus 5, on the other hand, could be a totally different story. At Mobile World Congress this year, Qualcomm announced the RF360; A single chip capable of working on a staggering amount of networks. Everything from GSM, to EV-DO, to LTE. Unfortunately, it won’t be ready until the second half of the year. Or, right around the time when the Nexus 5 is rumored to launch.

If you were hoping to see the Nexus 5 at Google I/O, you shouldn’t hold your breath. Rumors on the Nexus 5 have been swirling for over a month now, but the timing is a bit off. Google still has a lot of life left in the Nexus 4, especially if this latest rumor comes true, and it’s updated with access to AT&T and T-Mobile LTE.

As for the Motorola X Phone, it’s hard to imagine it being tacked onto Google I/O. It’s totally possible, but if the Nexus 7 and an updated Nexus 4 with LTE are announced, along with Key Lime Pie, it’s highly unlikely Google would stuff the X Phone in there as well. Even more so if it really has been pushed back to August for release.

So, to answer the question, is Google really working on a 32GB Nexus 4 with LTE for Google I/O? It’s very possible. There was a refreshed Nexus 7 released, once Google had access to cheaper radios and storage, so that may be the case with a refreshed Nexus 4. Just keep in mind, the more you add to the rumor, the less reasonable it becomes. Supporting Sprint and Verizon CDMA and LTE, along with T-Mobile, who is the only official launch partner right now, and AT&T LTE doesn’t seem feasible. And releasing more than one new device, mid-cycle, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

    And, if it is, will they be able to actually have it in stock for people to buy? ;)

    • Breaking Moose

      more importantly, Bayern Munich humiliated Barcelona FC with 4-0 score, hopefully Nexus 4 is a great phone.

  • tmoore4075

    I just recently bought the Nexus 4 on T-Mobile. If this is true and there would be a new one with LTE I’d consider it. LTE will continue to roll out so would be nice to have it. 32gb is not needed for me. I have all the apps I currently need, with plenty of videos and photos that I have kept on my device and still have half of the 16gb available.

    I’ll probably wait to see the price and when LTE officially launches in my area and make the decision then.

    • Chad

      The current Nexus 4 has been proven to already have LTE capabilities built-in but once the public found out Google sent out an update which turned it off. If this rumor is indeed true, don’t be surprised if current Nexus 4 owners like you and I receive an update finally turning back on our LTE functionality as it has been proven that the device already has a dormant LTE functionality at the moment and all it will take is an OTA update from Google to switch back on.

      • Levi

        Very doubtful. The LTE chip in the current Nexus 4 will never work on AT&T’s LTE network.

        • Chad

          Which is why I think it could still happen. AT&T was never a Nexus 4 official launch partner, the phone just so happens to work on their network. The official launch partner was/is T-Mobile meaning the chip would work for T-Mobile only and T-Mobile just launched LTE at the beginning of the month. Just because it won’t work for AT&T doesn’t mean the chip won’t be turned back on.

          • Crustacean

            Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

          • JustWrong

            Crustacean couldn’t be more wrong. We already have a Nexus 4 working on T-mobile LTE networks. If you flash your own ROMs you most definitely can turn the LTE on.

      • Sapphire3g

        Also since the LTE radio has not tested by the FCC when it first went through certification the Nexus 4 would have to go through that testing again if Google enabled the radios again.

        • AnthonyRyan

          I wish this would happen, even if they had to go back to the FCC for the N4 to enable LTE.

  • Agrippa

    Damn. I really, really want a stock android phone off contract for less than $400 that will work on Verizon.

    • Dannyhyu

      Thing is, if this iteration of the N4 has LTE, it most likely will be the bands that T-Mobile uses for LTE. I believe Google made a point of sticking with GSM carriers so they could push updates directly themselves.

  • h0ruza

    I have the feeling Google will unveil NEW non phone based hardware and api’s which will be more polished and more complete by the time the new Nexus is ready for launch on the run up to Christmas.

    The Nexus 4 is now firmly last years yard stick so why prolong its life when the coming Nexus can fulfil our wants and needs with a clean fresh new approach.

  • Tico4674

    It’s probably too late for me, but had the nexus 4 been released with Verizon cdma and lte I would have jumped all over it. Hopefully the nexus 5 will include an all encompassing chip and I can once again buy a nexus.

  • redraider133

    I hope so, I’d love to buy one for Verizon. Hopefully this time they won’t completely screw it up(Verizon)

  • Brian Parkerson

    I agree with your logical thought on this. Very nice, well written article Dustin!

    • Raptor

      Agree.
      /* Hated before everything you wrote but this is your first great article, Dustin, my contracts, keep this style.

  • Co1e

    I’ll probably be getting whatever is shown at I/O. I need a new phone and updated N4 is fine with me. No need for CDMA personally. Counting down the days.

  • uknowme

    Please let this be true! The 16g is the only thing stopping me from getting a Nexus 4.

    • VS

      2nd this. Up the storage and I’ll buy with no regrets over potential X Phone, N5 or whatever ultra phone might be waiting down the road.

  • Jorge Vieira

    That is my onlt main problem with the nexus 4 is the lack of LTE i hate browsing the web on the go id rather not on the 4 and pull of something else. 32GB will be a welcome ven tho i was suprised that I was able to manage with only 8GB that i had got. it could of been becasue i have multiple devices and really do realy on multiple cloud sources to hold all my stuff across devices.
    My initial thought is that it would be pointless and a waste since we are waiting for the next nexus. But if they do these upgrades, sells only that model at 300 or even 350 that would be a killer device. Although I dont think the screen is as good as say the s3 and the one. The design is still solid and that price point, with the new uncarrier plans, will make alot of people happy. And as soon as tombile really gets in the LTE game.

    I was so happy when I was able to go back to LTE speeds with the one bacuse i am in a heavy LTE market for both ATT and Verizon and losing that is real hard for me.

    All in all I dont think we will see it but! I dont think it would be as bad as I thought.

  • FF OS
  • FF OS
  • Nathan D.

    Well may almost here, then we can put some of the rumors to rest and start new ones :-)

  • HeadDoc

    Why not 64GB? Sell me a 64GB Nexus that works on T-Mobile LTE, and I would be VERY happy. Bargain phone and a bargain plan means I can spend more on apps…

  • walter moorhouse

    Just remember, the Qualcomm RF360 is due out later this year. That chip will change the game.

    • thel0nerang3r

      The SOC is not expected in devices until 2nd half of 2013. I don’t think Google would announce a phone that will not be for sale for several months. There is still no firm release date from QUALCOMM on when devices will ship with it. It’s very likely that it’s now sampling and manufacturers are working on devices with it. but, by the lack of news.. I would say August as the earliest? (my guess on this part).

  • donger

    If this is true, will get rid of mine and go for Verizon version.

  • Clayton

    I want a Nexus 4 or 5 for Verizon LTE so bad it hurts