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So the Nexus 4 does not have LTE, Get over it already

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The Nexus 4 is the early champion of best Android device (and let’s be honest, best smartphone out there).

So much handwringing and haranguing has been done around the fact that the most recent Nexus device (the Nexus 4) does not come in LTE. Well I hope I am here to help you get over that concern, and explain why it is for the best. If you are a US user, you ought to know that the only network with a strong LTE rollout is Verizon, and they are a nightmare. Both on customer service and technologically, they are quite the mess. The LTE connection requires a CDMA modem, and their own (proprietary) binaries. This proprietary encoding led to trouble for third-party developers, and slowed down upgrades, making the Verizon Galaxy Nexus not a real Google Nexus device at all.

Folks, CDMA is a wounded, limping animal, and Verizon did recognize this and move forward with LTE rollout before any major US carrier. This has Verizon with a heady lead in the LTE field (around 350+ total markets). LTE is a nice technology, but HSDPA+ is good enough. In the US, T-Mobile offers 42Mbps speeds (comprable to LTE speeds) and 21Mbps on AT&T. The key difference between the technologies in terms of mobile usage would be in “ping” or latency. Thus, if you’re gaming, you’ll need LTE, if you are tethering, you might need it, but it won’t hurt.

At the end of the day, for most of the things people do on their mobile devices, HSDPA+ is plenty. Not only is HSDPA+ good enough, but it’s also free and open. Multiple band GSM/UMTS phones can be used on almost every network in the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Unlocked devices like the Nexus 4 can be taken anywhere, you can plug in a local SIM, update the APN settings and boom! you are up and running. This unlocked nature lets you take your business where you would like, and avoid long-term (unbeneficial) contracts.

There are a variety of different smartphone plan choices you can make in the US. AT&T’s GoPhone plan comes to mind, the T-Mobile 4G plans and either one on StraightTalk is a good choice. All of these plans give you real data, voice and text, for around $50 a month. This is in lieu of the almost (or over) $100 a month AT&T or Verizon would require for similar plans. The Nexus 4′s ability to jump from contract to contract and carrier to carrier provides unsurpassed flexibility for smartphone users.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.

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