LG, Google team up for Nexus 4 smartphone

LG Electronics and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) officially announced the Nexus 4, the LG-made device that is the latest in Google's series of "lead" Nexus-branded gadgets showcasing the newest Android software. Google also unveiled the Nexus 10 tablet, as well as an update to the original Nexus 7 tablet.

LG Google android nexus 4

Click here for details on LG's Nexus 4.

LG and Google were expected to unveil the Nexus 4 at a media event in New York City Monday, but that event was canceled due to concerns about Hurricane Sandy. As rumored, the device appears to be modeled on LG's high-end Optimus G phone.

The Nexus 4 will be sold unlocked and is GSM/HSPA+ compatible. LG said it will be available for purchase in both an 8 GB version and a 16 GB version on Google Play starting Nov. 13 in the U.S., UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia. The device will sell for $299 with 8GB of storage, or $349 with 16GB. A T-Mobile USA version will be sold for $199 with a two-year contract. The device will also be sold in Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, the Middle East and other areas beginning at the end of November.

As expected, the Nexus 4 sports Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor and runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, an updated version of Android 4.1. The phone has a 4.7-inch WXGA True HD IPS+ display, 2 GB of RAM, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, NFC, Bluetooth and is compatible with Google's Wireless Charging Orb, an inductive charging dock.

According to The Verge, even though LTE is by now a standard feature for most high-end smartphones, Google decided not to put LTE into the Nexus 4 because it would compromise the user experience, since Nexus devices are meant to be the best and purest Android experience.  Andy Rubin, Google's senior vice president of mobile and Android chief, said the lack of LTE is a "tactical issue," and he cited cost and battery life as issues in devices with multiple radios. "A lot of the networks that have deployed LTE haven't scaled completely yet-- they're hybrid networks [...] which means the devices need both radios built into them," he told The Verge. "When we did the Galaxy Nexus with LTE we had to do just that, and it just wasn't a great user experience."

Google has reportedly decided to expand its Nexus device program to more vendors. HTC made the original Nexus One and Samsung made the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. Asustek produced the Nexus 7 tablet, which Google unveiled in June.

By making a Nexus device, LG is aiming to raise its profile at a time when it is trying to gain more support from U.S. carriers and bolster its brand. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) recently launched the LTE-powered LG Intuition "phablet," its first device in the larger-than-a -smartphone-but-smaller-than-a-tablet category. Both AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will launch the Optimus G, LG's 4.7-inch screen smartphone that sports Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor. Further, T-Mobile said it will launch the Optimus L9--part of LG's "L-Series" of phones that run on Android 4.0--which sports a dual-core 1 GHz processor and a 4.5-inch display.

Google also unveiled the Samsung-made Nexus 10 tablet, a 10-inch device with a 2560 x 1600 screen resolution, aimed at media consumption. The Nexus 10 will come in 16 GB or 32 GB models and will only have Wi-Fi only. The gadget is powered by a dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 chip, likely made by Samsung. Google is selling the tablet for $399 for the 16 GB model and $499 for the 32 GB version, or about $100 less expensive than a comparable iPad with Retina display. The Nexus 10 will be available Nov. 13 in the Google Play store in the U.S., UK, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Canada.

Finally, Google updated its 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet, and added a pentaband HSPA+ radio as well as 32 GB of storage. The gate will sell for $299, which is $50 more than the 16 GB model. Google will sell the device unlocked but it is also available with Google either a T-Mobile or AT&T SIM card pre-installed. It will also be available starting Nov. 13.

Android 4.2 adds a handful of new features over Android 4.1, including gesture typing on the keyboard, lockscreen improvements, including widget support and the ability to swipe directly to camera and Miracast support for wireless display sharing. In addition, Google updated its "Google Now" digital assistant. If users opt in, the service uses information from their location, calendar and search history to deliver context-aware actions for when they are needed. Google Now will now be able to use Gmail as a data source, which Google said will lead to improved information for flight tracking, hotel and restaurant reservations, movie and music recommendations.

For more:
- see this Google blog post
- see this release
- see this The Verge article, and this article and this third article

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