The Nexus 4 is, on paper, a fairly standard cutting-edge smartphone. 1.5 Ghz Snapdragon quad-core processor, 2 GB RAM, 8GB storage, 4.7″ screen, and wireless charging is the spec list, with only that last being somewhat unique. Don’t get us wrong, in the history of computing, it’s awesome this thing fits in your pocket, but it’s fairly similar to other phones already on the market. The one major, and baffling, drawback is that there’s no 4G.
So why the worldwide enthusiasm? Have people become just as rabid about Google as they have about Apple? Is there some secret attachment we don’t know about? Nope! The answer is simple: People are cheap, and this is one ridiculously cheap phone.
Here’s the deal: For $299, up front, you get the phone. That’s it. That’s all you do. You don’t need to commit to a contract, you don’t need to sign up for any sort of Google service, you just give Google three hundred bucks and the phone is yours. Put it on a carrier, put it on no carrier, use it as a hockey puck, Google couldn’t care less. This may not sound very interesting at first, but consider that an off-contract iPhone can cost at least $600, and that’s actually a pretty good deal. Or at least it appeals to some people: The US and UK stores are already sold out.
I’m working on getting my hands on the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10 to review them, but if you don’t care about 4G, or were thinking of buying an iPod Touch, that’s a fairly compelling price point. And to be fair, Google has its reasons for not wanting to install 4G.
That said, if you need the fastest network possible… well, there are plenty of phones like this one for you to choose from.