If you know me, you know smartphones are an interest of mine. You also know open-source software is something I feel to be hugely important as well.
The Nexus line of smartphones run Google’s AOSP (android open source project) code, and are used primarily to set the example for smartphone manufacturers moving forward in several areas, such as recommended hardware specs and features.
A lot of people are concerned by the choices regarding the Nexus 4 design and strategy. Primarily a lack of LTE. It technically has LTE capability, though it is limited and requires some hacking to enable. But the concern is that it is a feature Google was willing to set aside.
I want to share with you my theory: In about a year we should start seeing VOLTE (voice over LTE) roll out from Verizon and other carriers, and dense enough LTE coverage to allow smartphones to roll out of the factories without any other radios. Meaning they will have no 3G connectivity, only LTE.
Where this is going to be of benefit is on Verizon’s LTE network, which you can read about elsewhere in detail. The basics of it are that they must allow any device, without restriction, on their LTE network. The problem now is that if that device also connects to their 3G network it disqualifies that device from taking advantage of the terms set on Verizon’s LTE frequency.
I am sorry if you were expecting a long, detailed explanation here. There is just no need for me to reiterate what is happening and what has already happened, when that information is so widely available. The focus here is on what (in my eyes) will happen in the near future.
The point I am trying to make here is: if you are fretting over the Nexus line losing its way, don’t. It is simply buying time until the conditions are right.
Why would this be an important move?
1) The carrier would not have control over the hardware nor the software, allowing the manufacturers to respond to the market without having to ask permission of the carrier.
2) Devices could be sold completely independently of the carrier, removing the markup they set in place, lowering the cost of devices.
3) Freedom to use any application or service over the network that you choose as long as it is not harmful the network (excessive bandwidth use does not qualify as harmful to the network).
There would could be many other benefits as well, though there has been little enforcement done of the existing terms put on the C block (LTE frequency range Verizon uses), which will determine how those terms are interpreted moving forward.