By Stephen Schenck | May 22, 2013 7:03 AM
A lily white version of Google’s Nexus 4 has been teasing its existence for months now. We’ve had the chance to look at it from seemingly every angle under the sun, and it’s pretty darn attractive. Of course, the big problem is that, now half a year since the Nexus 4′s retail launch, this white version has yet to go official.
As such, the white Nexus 4 has been tied to any number of rumors of refreshed Nexus 4 hardware, the idea being that Google would use the phone as an instrument by which to introduce some other new Nexus 4 feature, like proper LTE support (as opposed to any radio hackery). That’s a shame, because I think it’s leading people to get their expectations a little out of whack, and when the white Nexus really does arrive, it’s going to be little more than the same Nexus 4 we’ve been using since last year, only with a pretty new facade.
Why are expectations so high for this model, anyway? Well, Google certainly does has a habit of releasing new versions of Nexus hardware several months after the initial product debuts. We saw that with the 3G and 32GB Nexus 7. We saw that with some CDMA Galaxy Nexus versions. Wouldn’t a new Nexus 4 just be following in those footsteps?
Well, maybe. One of the big problems there is that none of the Nexus 4 hardware refresh rumors I’ve heard really ring true. It’s not like the black Nexus 4 really wanted to have LTE but there just wasn’t time – Google seems to have actively decided not to go down that road. I find it really hard to believe that it’s managed to resolve its objections to LTE since then, much in the same way that it learned its CDMA lesson from the GNex and isn’t about to venture out that way again. The 3G radio on the Nexus 4 was the way Google intended things, and a white Nexus 4 won’t change that any.
What about something less controversial, like increased storage space? I’ve got the 16GB Nexus 4, and I’m constantly finding myself deleting files to keep space free; a 32GB model would be a godsend. Again, I’m not feeling it.
Remember, the Nexus 4 arrived arm-in-arm with the 32GB Nexus 7. Google already knew at the time that there was demand for tablets sporting that kind of storage capacity. If it had the inkling that it might want to offer a 32GB Nexus 4, as well, why wouldn’t it have included that option from the start?
Pull up a chair briefly for Conspiracy Theory Theater, where we look at why it might not be in Google’s interest to sell a phone with too much on-board storage. With the Nexus 7, even the 32GB model is available as a WiFi-only option, making it more likely that you could get stuck without the ability to bring your tablet online, and would want it to be chock-full of media.
The Nexus 4, on the other hand, always has a cellular radio. If you’re using it to get your media fix, wouldn’t Google prefer that you do so by means of the company’s own streaming services – like the new Google Play Music All Access – rather than by downloading files (possibly from its competition) and keeping them stored away in the phone’s ample memory?
I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’d wager that if we do end up finally hearing the white Nexus 4 announced this summer, it’s not bringing any new hardware along with it.
That’s not very exciting, is it? Well, there still could be a way to get some more attention for the white Nexus 4′s launch, if Google times that event around a software release. This is exactly the sort of thing we’ve heard mentioned in some of the phone’s most recent rumors, suggesting it could arrive next month running Android 4.3.
Obviously, the black Nexus 4 would see the release of a 4.3 update around the same time, but just coinciding such news alongside the start of white Nexus 4 sales good be a savvy move.
It needn’t even be Android 4.3 – I’m far from convinced that it really is as just around the corner as some sources might have us believe – but it could really be any high-profile bit of code that wasn’t already revealed at Google I/O.
The whole thing (unsurprisingly) reminds me of the iPhone 4. Heck, then it wasn’t so much the expectation that the phone would get enhanced hardware than just the perpetual waiting that ruined the experience. Ultimately, we got the white iPhone some ten months after the black version and all that waiting brought us was a slightly-tweaked design.
Smartphones are getting more colorful every year. It’s no longer so unusual to see a handful of options available, far beyond just black and white. In that sense, the white Nexus 4 is almost a blast from the past. I hope it gets here soon, as I really dig its look, but I just wish that we could all seriously dial-back what we’re hoping to see this guy do.