Every Nexus smartphone to date, hardware and specs aside, has been subjected to an abnormal amount of hype.
The LG Optimus G is a perfect example. Internally, the Nexus 4 and Optimus G are excruciatingly similar. They even feature similar design language (speckled glass panels on the back) and build quality. But in many ways, the Optimus G is better than the Nexus 4 – storage, camera and LTE. However, the Nexus 4 has received much more hype, adoration, attention on many fronts.
This is solely due to its Nexus branding, the fact that it ships with the latest version of Android, gets direct updates from Google and is on the receiving end of an insurmountable level of developer support.
As indicated by the Optimus G, any other device with similar – or often much better – specifications is almost always subjected to a much harsher reality, in which it receives less praise and, likewise, the sooner inevitability of obsolescence.
Google’s branded phones, regardless of specifications, are notably more resilient, withstanding the test of time with a vigor specific to the Nexus brand. I see my techie friends still talking about the Galaxy Nexus. In fact, my good friend Dustin Earley of Android and Me mentioned on Friday that he’s pining for the Nexus from 2011, that he would trade his Nexus 4 for a Galaxy Nexus plus a little cash.
I kind of want to trade my Nexus 4 for a Galaxy Nexus plus cash. Miss that phone.
— Dustin Earley (@du57in) April 26, 2013
But if there’s something the last year has taught us, it’s that we’re not easily amused, and we no longer swoon over rehashes, minor updates and incremental design changes.
We have grown to enjoy and even expect the rapid advancement of mobile technology and feel new hardware and software should compliment it. We constantly long for shock and awe from every manufacturer, every time they update something.
The iPhone 5, for example, was allegedly built and designed from the ground up. The end product was, unsurprisingly, similar to the previous year’s model. Apple felt that lent credence to how great the prior products were. But many, including the enthusiasts, took the trivial hardware and trite software changes as a sign of Apple being idle and arrogant.
In fact, I visited an Apple store last night, and an Apple employee said to me, “The upgrade to the iPhone 5 wasn’t worth it, was it?”
We’ve seen similar disappointment – and disinterest, to a degree – with the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Although we knew the successor to the Galaxy S III wouldn’t come with any massive overhauls, we longed for it … begged for it. Alas, the Galaxy S 4 is simply a refined and updated Galaxy S III. It has better specifications, more software features and marginally better hardware, yet much of the tech industry and many consumers are still mostly disappointed or unmoved by the S 4.
And this is exactly why HTC is stealing the show so far in 2013. Not only is the HTC One a fantastic device on many fronts, it’s a radical step in a different direction with plenty of shock and awe.
In April, rumors spread of what would happen at the upcoming Google I/O developers conference. Among those were reports stating that the world would not be introduced to a brand new Nexus phone, but we would see an improved Nexus 4 with 32GB of storage and LTE instead.
This new and improved Nexus 4 would come alongside Android 5.0. And, truthfully, the Nexus brand has always been more about the software than hardware. After all, it’s the software – not hardware – that set Nexus smartphones apart from every other Android smartphone available.
Like with every other phone that has disappointed me lately, though, I will also be upset if this is the route Google and LG take with the Nexus in 2013. Introducing an update Nexus 4 wouldn’t be a bad idea. But unveiling an entirely new Nexus handset alongside the updated Nexus 4 would be a much better approach.
Re-releasing the same hardware isn’t going to cut it in this vicious market. Even better specifications and a slightly modified design have proven that. But if nothing else, the 2013 Nexus 4 should at least come with a better camera and something more durable than the glass panel on the back. It wouldn’t hurt to update it with more modern specs either – a Snapdragon 600 chip,
I would be hard pressed to buy another Nexus 4, even an updated one, this time around. And I imagine many will feel the same. I would much rather fork over the extra cash for the developer edition of the HTC One and pray a stock ROM finally makes its way to the forums.
What say you, folks? Would you be satisfied with an updated Nexus 4 with more storage? Or do you feel the Nexus brand is deserving of a little more love, in the form of an entirely new device with new hardware to compliment the Android 5.0 (or 4.3) update?