A "Nexus 4S" wouldn't be so bad

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: April 20, 2013

Trends in the mobile industry have, as of lately, been following a perfectly normal pattern of making a good product and then improving on it with a follow-up model – a model of phone that’s different, but not different enough to “bring it to the next level”. We’ve seen it with the Apple iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, and we may even be seeing it with the iPhone 5.  Some would even say that that Samsung should have made the Galaxy S 4 an extension of the Galaxy S III. We might think it’s silly, but it’s a method that’s proven to work as we keep voting with our wallets. Rumor has it now that our friends at LG and Google might be adopting a similar concept when it comes to their Nexus 4.

Google I/O is quickly approaching in just under a month on May 15-17, and with a conference as big as this there’s always speculation swimming around. We’re eagerly awaiting the rumored announcements of the Motorola “X” phone (does anybody else feel like we’ve been waiting on that one since forever?) and possibly even a Nexus 5. However, the Nexus 5 rumors have gone from being on that “next level” of the Nexus line to possibly being that “in between” level in the form of an improved Google Nexus 4 according to several tech websites, featuring LTE capabilities and more storage space (32GB). It’s not that far-fetched of an idea given that Google is also rumored to announce implementation of LTE with the Nexus 7 at the same event.

My question now is, if it comes down to it, is this really the right move for the Nexus line?

The iPhone “S” movement started out well and fine. People liked seeing the improvements that one phone made from the previous, but as iOS grew more stale in our eyes so did the “S” phones that followed the originals. Upon hearing that the Nexus 4 was planning on making a similar move, I had to wonder what kind of reaction this would bring from the community.

There are plenty of people who would be interested in a Nexus 4 with LTE capabilities. The lack of LTE and the small amount of storage were the two main things holding the Nexus 4 back from being that “be all” smartphone we all hoped for. Stock Android, fast data, and surplus storage make the perfect trifecta for a model Android device. The processor is great, the camera is on par, and the battery life is far from awful. Bundle all that together with a more than reasonable price point and you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck than you would from anywhere else. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s also rumored that Android Key Lime Pie will be released during the same event, so if a new Nexus 4 were to rollout with Key Lime Pie, LTE, and greater storage capacity that only sweetens the deal for many.

Would an improved Nexus 4 be a bad idea at this point in time? Personally I don’t think so. The problem that Apple ran in to is that they kept fixing their phones in the form of an "S" device, and let’s not forget that so far they have only ever release one phone per year so the “fixed” models seemed to drag out a lot longer than they needed to. The Nexus 4 only came out last November, so if they do announce an upgraded version it’s only been 6 months before they announced a fixed version. I think as long as Google doesn’t release an improved Nexus 4 now and then a Nexus 5 that’s nearly identical (given some added height) next year they’re going to be alright in the end. I think people will still embrace this "fix" if it turns out that a Nexus 5 is not part of the lineup just yet.

We will soon find out the truth in the coming weeks, but until then readers: What would you rather see from Google I/O? Would you rather have a completely new Nexus, or do you think that a revamped Nexus 4 is sufficient enough? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!