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Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs 359

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-openness-with-limits-openness-at-all? dept.
MrSeb writes "There have been plenty of rumors about how the Nexus program was going to grow and change with this year's announcement. Now that we have all the details, it looks like almost none of them were right. There is no Nexus certification program, and the dream of multiple Nexus phones seems well and truly dead. What we do have is a range of device sizes with the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. However, the Nexus program has been altered in one important way: we know what Nexus means now. There can no longer be any doubt: a Nexus device is about openness first and foremost. Last year the technology sphere was busily discussing whether or not the Verizon Galaxy Nexus was a 'true' Nexus device. This year we have an answer: a Nexus controlled by a carrier is no Nexus. Rather than get in bed with Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T to produce an LTE version of the Nexus 4, we have HSPA+ only. Even the new Nexus 7 with mobile data is limited to this enhanced 3G standard. And then there's the pricing: The super high-resolution (2560×1600) Nexus 10 tablet starts at just $399; The Nexus 7 is dropping in price to $199 for a 16GB tablet; The Nexus 4 with 16GB of storage is going to sell for $349, exactly the same as the old Galaxy Nexus was until yesterday. To put this into perspective, the LG Optimus G, which the Nexus 4 is based on, sells for $550 without subsidy. Google is pushing the idea of openness with the Nexus devices, but it's not an entirely altruistic endeavor. By giving us cheap and open devices, Google is making sure it's in control — not the carriers. That's better for the consumers, but it's also better for Google."
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Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs

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  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:03PM (#41820311) Homepage

    I don't know about anyone else, but I think that the size of the Nexus 4 is too big at 4.7". I was hoping for a 4" to 4.3" screen, but Google have really pushed for that extra big handset.

    I had heard a rumour that there were going to be several manufacturers involved in the Nexus 4 - Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony - but apparently it's just LG. A shame, as I think that if Google had managed to score a contract with them to produce a variety of Nexus 4 devices, all controlled by Google, they would have produced the ultimate Android phone.

    Well, at least there's Cyanogenmod, with it's incoming OTA update feature.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tuppe666 (904118)

      I don't know about anyone else, but I think that the size of the Nexus 4 is too big at 4.7". I was hoping for a 4" to 4.3" screen, but Google have really pushed for that extra big handset.

      Nobody not one person alive. The only people even suggesting such stupidity are those promoting Apple...and those would be better selling off their shares ;). Seriously Tiny screens are awful they always were. Just for reference dual core is not better than quad-core, Less memory is just that less memory, If you do proper multitasking and want to build next generation applications these things matter NOW! Apple phones last generation phone or as Apple shareholders say "Specs don't matter"

      I think its kind of

      • Re:Screen size (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:32PM (#41820691)

        Tiny screens are awful they always were

        or, just perhaps, your whole view on how to write gui's for them is all broken.

        size matters and if I have to carry the damned thing, I want it small enough to fit in a pocket; a normal human every day pocket.

        nexus one is ideal in size for pockets and hands.

        the gui is all wrong, the resolution is wrong, but the size is ideal.

        bigger is stupid for phones. tablets, I could care less about; but phones should be PORTABLE. you just want a tablet that makes calls; admit it.

        • I admit it. About a 7" Phablet is what I'm waiting for.

          Galaxy Note II is the closest thing out, wish it was a Nexus device though.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Seriously Tiny screens are awful they always were

        A phone that won't fit in my pants pocket is useless. It might as well be a 1972 landline. My old original Razr had a tiny screen, and it worked fine for texting and internet. The one I have now is bigger, almost too big, and I don't see a lot of difference in the screens.

        If you're old and not a cyborg just buy some strong reading glasses.

        • Re:Screen size (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:55PM (#41821035)

          If you're old and not a cyborg just buy some strong reading glasses.

          or, just consider this fact, THE GUI USED IS BROKEN, by design.

          they took big screen concepts and the young kids (sorry, but I'm being blunt here) didn't understand all of the user base for the phones.

          all of us who are getting older (happens to everyone, just you wait!) can't easily use the gui's that the kids, today are writing. and they don't get it, it seems, since the gui toolkits are not showing any signs of being usable by those who are over middle age.

          I should not have to fight with my phone to get it to accept my input. I should not have to magnify everything to get access to controls. if I have to do that, you did the gui all wrong.

          I know the young eyes out there will just write this off; but designing for HUMAN factors includes those whose eyes are not as sharp as yours. ignore us and you'll be ignoring yourself soon enough. like I said, we all will be there at some point or another; stop assuming everyone has great vision and great finger motor control over millimeter distances on flat glass.

        • Re:Screen size (Score:4, Insightful)

          by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @03:29PM (#41822491) Homepage Journal

          So... you're saying you wear really small pants? Pants so small that a phone with a 5" screen wouldn't fit?

          For reference, I actually regularly carry my Kindle Fire (that's a 7" tabletette) in my pant pocket. Insert various "That's what she said" type jokes here. The Fire just about squeezes in (shut up) but it does fit, I've not found cellphone large enough to be a problem - and I've had some big ones (I said, shut up) including two models of the Nokia 9000 series.

          Seriously, I don't quite understand where this obsession with Zoolanderesque phones comes from.

    • by Simulant (528590)
      I'm with you. Don't really want a phone that's much bigger than the Nexus S. I found the Galaxy Nexus to large to use one handed. If I need a bigger screen I'll get a tablet.
    • by Kludge (13653)

      I don't know about anyone else, but I think that the size of the Nexus 4 is too big at 4.7

      You worried that it will make a bulge in your strechpants?
      Buy an "iPhone" or one of hundreds of other smaller handsets.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Buy an "iPhone" or one of hundreds of other smaller handsets.

        You mean craptacular, right? If you want a GOOD android phone, they're all huge screens. A sub-4" flagship phone does not exist - the only ones are crap ass ones with little memory, poor resolution, a slow processor, or all three. And they run Froyo. Gingerbread if you're lucky.

        It seems Android has stratified - 4" and smaller screen - crappy "free" smartphones. Larger than 4" and you can get some nice phones that show off Android.

        • by Tukz (664339)

          There is a few good 4" android phones.
          Most of them spotting a dual core, which is sufficient.

          You probably won't find a quad core 4", but do you really need it?
          Take a look at these phones, as an example:

          Sony Xperia P
          HTC Desire X
          Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini (coming soon)

          All phones running 4.x, with a dual core 1Ghz+.

          Though, most of them DO have "poor" resolution, compared to their big brothers.
          Not that that really bothers me, but it seemed a concern of yours.

          Personally I refuse to go above 4" on my phone.
          Currentl

    • Re:Screen size (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SandwhichMaster (1044184) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @02:27PM (#41821455) Homepage

      I think the screen size is a reflection of the market. People are migrating towards phones with larger screens. For example, I'm guess that the Samsung S2 and S3 owe their success, at least in part to their large crisp screens. I'm not saying that 4.7" hasn't gone a little too far for the average user, but I bet that screen looks a lot prettier than the competition.

      Personally, I have huge hands, so my next phone will be humongous. I avoid texting because I can't help but hit like 5 characters at once. I'm even considering the monstrously large Note 2.

    • I am with you on size. I think 4.7" is too large. Unfortunately there really no options, you can pick large with good top of the line hardware specs, or small with aging and slow hardware specs. Why can't the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy mini have the same hardware on the inside?

      I don't want a phone this large. I really enjoy the size of my iphone 4. I don't want to even 'upgrade' to a iphone 5 sized phone.

    • by gnoshi (314933)

      I was really concerned about the 4.65 inch Galaxy Nexus being too big when I bought it, coming from a 3.7 inch 480x854 Motorola Defy (which apart from being slow and Motorola I loved). I was also pleasantly surprised - the only time it bothers me is when I'm cycling, because it doesn't fit quite as comfortably in the zip-up pocket of my pants.

      I really like the 4.0-4.3 inch screen-size range, and would probably still prefer the phone to be that size. However, having now owned a Nexus I don't think I'll be ab

  • They need to expand. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Google need to expand the Play Store to more countries. Not only apps, but music, books and movies too!
    Google should also sell its Nexus devices in more countries too.

    USA and Europe are not the only places in the world...

  • by Qwavel (733416) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:13PM (#41820431)

    In some countries and on some carriers one of the promises of the Nexus brand was broken: we didn't get timely OS updates.

    I felt this was a breach of trust - the sort of thing we expect from our carriers and some manufacturers - and it meant I couldn't recommend the Galaxy Nexus to others.

    Fortunately, it seems that what happened with the Galaxy Nexus was not acceptable to Google either, and I'm really impressed with the lengths they are going to - bypassing the carriers completely in my country - to set things right.

    They will probably only sell a tiny number of the new Nexus w/o carrier support but then again, the carriers' were never going to like or promote a phone that came unlocked and with broad carrier support - so they did little to promote the G'Nex anyway.

    So, I'm disappointed that the new Nexus doesn't have LTE, but there is some sense in it (see the linked below for a good explanation) and I believe that the Nexus is once again worth recommending to friends*.
    http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3569688/why-nexus-4-does-not-have-4g-lte [theverge.com]

    (*assuming the reviews don't uncover lots of bugs or unexpected shortcomings.)

    • by ArtDent (83554) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @02:40PM (#41821645)

      I agree with you completely. The Galaxy Nexus was royally screwed up here in Canada, too. It wasn't available in the Play Store here. Samsung sold it through the carriers, but modified the firmware so that they, not Google, would be responsible for pushing updates. They behaved exactly as you would expect, introducing months of delay, and skipping several of the minor updates completely.

      Of course consumers were never warned that they were buying anything other than "Pure Google", and many were rightly pissed. Their only recourse was to flash the original Google firmware, but that's not a reasonable thing to expect of the average consumer.

      Watching it all, I was appalled. This wasn't the Nexus experience that I've been enjoying with my Nexus S. I'm so glad to see that Google was equally unimpressed. Verizon is out, Canada is back in the Play Store, and all's right with the world. And the price! Just wow.

      Unless there's some giant hardware screw-up lurking, I will be recommending this phone to everyone. Alas, I fear that people won't understand the difference between an unsubsidized price and one that comes with thousands of dollars of contract commitment. $350 is more than $200, right?

  • And if they would just add a hardware keyboard I would be perfectly satisfied... every try working on a server with a touchscreen even in a pinch? Was that backspace or enter you wanted on that commandline? Finger slipped.... whoops!
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:14PM (#41820443)
    Reaction on the Android forums has been pretty swift: no microSD card slot = fail, especially given that there's a paltry 8GB in some of the units. My iPhone 2G had 8GB of storage. It was about enough for my music and some apps. That was also 5 years ago. They're trying to force cloud storage onto you by giving you a pathetic amount of storage and eliminating expansion. Meanwhile, they're forcing Google+ instant-uploads on people to encourage them to use it. All of this means increased data usage and reliance on google for your storage needs, which means they're going to start monetizing it at some point in the near future.
    • by metamatic (202216)

      Meanwhile, they're forcing Google+ instant-uploads on people to encourage them to use it.

      No they aren't. You can turn that off.

  • by fruity_pebbles (568822) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:15PM (#41820453)
    I'm all for openness, but I'm not going to buy an "open" phone that's starkly lacking in features. The Nexus One had the best hardware of any smartphone on the market when it was introduced. The Nexus S? Nice, but not spectacular. Galaxy Nexus? Nice, not spectacular, crappy camera. Nexus 4? No LTE - that's a deal breaker for a lot of people. Was the Nexus One a fluke, or has Google given up on trying to deliver a Nexus phone with great hardware?
    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:41PM (#41820823)

      fwiw, my one and only phone is the nexus one.

      and (stupidly, I know) I still run the official google OTA image.

      and you know what? its unusable due to one showstopper bug. the screen STILL loses the touchscreen location and needs a power off/on to reset it. happens about 10 times a day.

      I ask honestly: how am I supposed to respect google when they won't even fix a showstopper bug on what was their best phone for quite a long time? abandon your flagships so soon?

      not a classy move by a mega-power like google. can't they find just one person to fix this showstopper bug and get it off the p1 list? with all their people there, no one cares about the n1 anymore? really? sigh ;(

      this is why I don't think a lot of google's engineering, overall. they are too fast to abandon their stuff and this leaves users high and dry.

      • by mspohr (589790)

        I (and my wife) also have Nexus Ones with the current official OTA image and we just don't have this problem.
        Perhaps you have a hardware problem?

  • by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:17PM (#41820487) Journal

    I believe they missed a big opportunity by not delivering a Verizon LTE capable phone in the $350-$450 range. There is a significant portion of users who are still grandfathered on to "unlimited" data that are approaching upgrade time (e.g., early adopters who bought VZW's first LTE phone, the HTC Thunderbolt back in Dec 2010). There's a large market of people that would choose an unsubsidized LTE Nexus 4 which lets them keep unlimited data for that price. The competitive subsidized phones (i.e. GS3 or Note 2) would only be about $200 or so less but would cost the user their unlimited data plan which a lot of people value more than $200.

    • by darjen (879890)

      I'm also on Verizon and even though I am no longer unlimited, I was still really hoping for another LTE nexus. I guess I will probably be hanging on to my galaxy nexus for awhile longer. If anyone wants to go ahead and say it's not a nexus, that's fine, I really don't care too much. At least it's something with stock Android. I'm happy enough with it.

    • I believe they missed a big opportunity by not delivering a Verizon LTE capable phone in the $350-$450 range. There is a significant portion of users who are still grandfathered on to "unlimited" data that are approaching upgrade time (e.g., early adopters who bought VZW's first LTE phone, the HTC Thunderbolt back in Dec 2010). There's a large market of people that would choose an unsubsidized LTE Nexus 4 which lets them keep unlimited data for that price. The competitive subsidized phones (i.e. GS3 or Note 2) would only be about $200 or so less but would cost the user their unlimited data plan which a lot of people value more than $200.

      The HTC Thunderbolt was released in March, 2011. However, your comment is still valid - a lot of people who bought a Thunderbolt then will become eligible for a phone upgrade in November, 2012. A Nexus 4 that runs on Verizon's LTE network would be an attractive alternative.

    • by SandwhichMaster (1044184) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @02:38PM (#41821605) Homepage

      I was hoping to purchase a Nexus 4, and was very disappointed that I can't get one for Sprint. After a little research, I came across this article explaining the lack of LTE: http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3569688/why-nexus-4-does-not-have-4g-lte [theverge.com]

      In short, blame your greedy carrier.

  • I hope to see this as a continuing trend in unlocked, unsubsidized offerings. The Galaxy Nexus was a pretty good deal for $400 (then eventually $350) for an unlocked device with that kind of hardware. Now with an even lower starting cost of $300 for the 8GB Nexus 4 and even better specs than its predecessor, Google has got to be putting some pressure on the wireless carriers. If I had to pick, I'd still take a phone with Google in control than any of the carriers. At least you own the device (as opposed to
  • Most of it pasted into the submission. Still not sure if TFA is supposed to be accolades, gripes, or just web-hits.

  • There can no longer be any doubt: a Nexus device is about openness first and foremost.

    By giving us cheap and open devices, Google is making sure it's in control â" not the carriers.

    This is even more true when people are using the internet on a device sold and maintained by Google. Mountain View gets to slurp up more of our data, show us more location-aware ads, and drive adoption of its services. Maybe in this case, freedom really isnâ(TM)t free

    OK, so which is it? Is it open, or is it controlled b

  • by kenorland (2691677) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:29PM (#41820655)

    In the US, carriers have full control over which devices they allow on their networks, and even if they didn't, the lack of a single wireless standard means that effectively you are locked in anyway. We need uniform wireless standards and a requirement to let people move freely between carriers.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      It's not the standard (Everyone is headed to LTE), it's the frequencies. LTE in the USA is scattered over 8 different bands.

  • Thank god it actually has front facing speakers---I might actually be able to hear it without cupping my hands around the back of it. Shame the 32GB upgrade is $100 with no SD card slot, although for what I'd use it for 16GB should be enough as long as I don't store too much music or to many movies on it.

  • This is a deal breaker. Who in 2012/2013 would buy a cutting edge smartphone without LTE?

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @01:56PM (#41821059)

    You can quibble all you want about details like not having LTE, I mean really, most markets don't deliver full LTE speeds anyways, and most data plans are not going to let you take full advantage of LTE speeds by capping out at some absurdly low amount (maybe its just Canada, but our telcom sucks). Also lack of Micro SD slot and low capacity models is hard to accept. But the reality is that Google is setting a precedent that an unlocked phones should no longer cost $800+.

    Its about time someone like Google smacked down the cost of unlocked handsets. We all know Apple makes 2 - 4x profit on an iDevice, its time for a company to set more realistic expectations of what profit on a mobile device should be.

    Same goes for their tablets, considerably cheaper than iPads, and if Google (re Samsung) starts offering more features for less money, like uber-high resolutions, Google will be setting the trend for pricing of ALL mobile devices in the very near future.

    Its a shame Microsoft chose to follow Apple's pricing and marketing strategy, I think this will hurt Microsoft. When the Lumina 920 is more expensive than an iPhone 5, and Microsoft choose to lock their devices to specific carriers on roll out, this is a huge decision for me not to even bother with the Windows Phone platform. Had Microsoft offered a "Surface" phone, unlocked for $300 - $400, I might have considered.

    So, in spite of limited storage and no LTE, the phone is good enough for most people and the unlocked price is attractive to get a near top end Android device. If you feel you can't live without LTE, then enjoy your $800+ phones and your 3 year data plans.

  • by Rexdude (747457) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @02:34PM (#41821551)

    Perhaps Google may succeed in putting the idea of a fully owned phone into the minds of the general American public. We in India and Europe have long since been accustomed to buying cellphones off the shelf from the manufacturer's shop without any contract or any carrier crippling the internals.

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @04:08PM (#41823321) Homepage
    Firefox OS might kinda suck for apps for the awhile but then again so did Android and Firefox will at least really be open where as Google is just open enough to lure you in to snoop on your personal data. Quite frankly I wasn't impressed with the upgrade process or how long Google took even to fix some pretty annoying bugs in Android.

    Unfortunately it does feel like Windows for mobiles. Linux hits it big on a consumer computing device for once and it's been less than stellar.

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