[Op-Ed]What are LG and Google up to with the new Nexus?

Later this month LG and Google will release their new Nexus phone.  The leaked specs are impressive.  The LG Nexus has a 4.7″ 1280×768 IPS LCD screen, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU, 2GB of RAM, on-screen buttons, an 8MP camera and a fairly large 2100mah non-removable battery. 

Compared to the Galaxy Nexus it’s a nice upgrade.  The screen is better, the S4 Pro blows away the OMAP 4460, it has more RAM, a better camera and a bigger battery.  On paper, it’s everything a Nexus should be.  It even looks like the Galaxy Nexus.

LG Optimus Nexus

But the LG Nexus has a serious flaw.  Reports indicate it’ll launch with only 8GB or 16GB of internal memory and no SD card slot.

The standard amount of internal memory on high end smartphones is 16GB, with 32GB and 64GB as options.  HTC announced the One X+ last week with 64GB of standard memory.  The Galaxy Nexus launched with 16GB or 32GB a year ago.

Launching a flagship Nexus phone in only 8GB and 16GB variants is a serious error.  Cloud storage is readily available, but internal storage is still important and 8GB won’t get the job done.

The only logical reason to cut down on internal memory is cost.  Flash memory is the highest cost component in modern smartphones.  If Google’s plan is to make a low cost flagship, cutting the internal memory would be the easiest way to do it.  Since the LG Nexus is based on the Optimus G, changing out the processor, screen, or lowering the RAM really wasn’t feasible.  Lowering the amount of internal memory though is relatively straight forward and doesn’t hinder performance.

Maybe Google’s plan is to release an inexpensive unlocked phone that works on any U.S. carrier?  After all, the Snapdragon S4 has the LTE modem embedded in the system on chip and is compatible with all major U.S. carrier’s LTE frequencies.  Could Google be planning to release an 8GB Optimus Nexus through Google Play that’s compatible on any carrier for $299.99 with the 16GB model priced at $399.99?  If that’s the case then Google will have successfully given consumers the option of a flagship phone at a competitive price without a carrier subsidy.  That would be a major accomplishment.

Hopefully this is the scenario that plays out, because otherwise launching a modern flagship phone with only 8GB of memory is a deal breaker.


One thought on “[Op-Ed]What are LG and Google up to with the new Nexus?

  1. Personally, I wouldn't buy any phone with less than 32GB of internal storage. If you take into account that Android will use some of the internal space (2-3GB) you have even less available for personal info and apps. And (as noted in my article on Software, Apps, and the mobile revolution) apps are going to use up a LOT of space on your storage drive. And most apps won't allow for install to an SD card, much less be “cloud based.”

    Google is onto a great idea if they do decide to proceed as you've outlined above (carrier agnostic phone sales) but I for one will be waiting it out until flash memory pricing allows them to put out the “next Nexus” with at least as much storage as my current Nexus does.


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