There is not an Android fan out there that can say they didn’t have high hopes for the Nexus 4. Google chose LG, a new avenue for the search giant, and took a large risk with such a small contender in the mobile market. I’ve already discussed LG’s naming conventions yesterday evening's editorial, but that’s not my main gripe with LG at all. LG simply isn’t capable of keeping up with the market. Had they been prepared to sell X amount of Optimus G’s, they should have also been prepared to do the same with it’s twin sister, the Nexus 4.
I find it odd that a manufacturer of that status, with that much experience in the electronics industry can completely lose its credential as a viable alternative to the Apples, HTCs, and Samsungs of the world completely on its own terms. I’m not saying Google is influencing the supply of LG in order to create demand, because they have never done that in the past, I just believe that LG is not ready to play hardball with the Big Dogs in the industry.
It pains me to say that LG isn’t going to win anyone over with it’s current lineup of offerings on any carrier either. They have traditionally struggled with timing and providing what customers want during the peak demand seasons, and the Optimus G is proof. It took the better part of three months to bring it stateside after its unveiling in Seoul. On top of that, they decided they wanted to heel to AT&T’s commands and create a one-off carrier specific Optimus G with slight differentiators compared to its unadulterated G. I have a feeling this could also be a reason for slow manufacturing of the Nexus 4. I’d argue that both the launch date in September and its arrival date during November were both late as well. Only Apple was around to release their iPhone 5 around the time LG announced their flagship. This was hardly the competitor LG was ready to battle for the holiday season.
Why didn’t LG prove itself earlier in the year? It would have made more sense to release a phone between two flagships instead of directly competing with either. During the month of May, Samsung stole the headlines with their multiple launch of the Galaxy SIII. I’d argue that it was one of the most successful launches of all smartphones ever to grace mobile market. Sales have been stellar ever since. Even the iPhone 5, though not completely ground-breaking, or innovative, did not disappoint with sales.
Maybe I need to accept and face reality. The Nexus 4 cannot be the competitor that I so desperately want it to be. Google may have even realized this and acknowledged it when the rumors began of a Google-rola X Phone.
I have not been able to get a Nexus 4. I have searched near and far, and even considered jumping ship to T-Mobile when I heard they were locking people into their network for two years. Looking back around the time T-Mobile announced they’d be offering it, I’m glad I didn’t go with my gut. The Nexus 4 needs to sell unsubsidized. It pains me to say it, but it needs to suffer a little bit longer before it should compete with the iPhone, or Galaxy SIII. I’d love to see it be a viable alternative, but it’s a combination of Jelly Bean and its comparatively steep learning curve, LG and their lackluster handling of demand, and the amount of serious contenders entering the market that lead me to believe Google and the Nexus brand are not ready to market the device to the masses. I’d argue that despite the short supply, Google’s launch in the Play Store was no help and proved they’re not quite there when it comes to distributing a device of that calibre.
For the next Nexus, we need to see it marketed by a professional supplier that is capable and experienced in responding to demand. That supplier is Motorola.
Since Google acquired Motorola Mobility and their extensive patent portfolio, I have only had high hopes and expectations for a joint effort at launching a Nexus. I was disappointed when I knew LG was chosen, and I’m sure most can agree it was not expected. Despite the relatively negative reception surrounding the supply woes for LG, Motorola has some rather large shoes to fill in the area of hardware quality. I will admit that the device is gorgeous and absolutely raises the bar for what is possible and how far manufacturers really can go if they lower their profit margin.
But I know Motorola can do it. They have never left me in doubt with the build quality of their devices. Even the first RAZR was rock solid and thin. It really pushed the boundaries of design at the time. If there’s any area I’m concerned about, it’s the camera and display. PenTile and qHD are no longer acceptable to my eyes, and I realize I sound smug. We need to see a joint effort of innovators on the supply-front. My ideal Nexus would have minimal bezel, premium hardware (aluminum would be desirable), and new display technology not unlike Youm.
Too bad that won’t happen for as long as Samsung is making Galaxy phones. Google and Motorola won’t be able to meet the unsubsidized price, or build quality of the Nexus 4 without making sacrifices on other fronts to offset the latter.
You know, in retrospect, had I’m happy I’m realizing this now and avoiding disappointment. A true fan would understand the reasoning behind a device’s characteristics and accept it for what it is. After all, that’s why I still rock the last generation Nexus; it does what I need it to do and nothing more, and I’m perfectly content.
How do you feel about LG’s handling of the Nexus 4? Do you think T-Mobile is going to sell any customers on a subsidized price and a two-year commitment? Who would you like to see making the next Nexus device? It’s a really tough call so let me know how you feel in the comments below!