back to article Nexus 4 actually has 4G: But only in Canada, and potentially ILLEGAL

The Nexus 4, Google's surprisingly cheap Android flagship, has another trick up its sleeve: an LTE radio which can be activated from some hidden settings. The handset, which retails at £239 if you can get one, isn't supposed to support 4G at all, but the Qualcomm chip inside it supports LTE and users on XDA Developers …


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  1. Mage Silver badge

    They slipped up

    There should be no settings if there are not approvals and requisite TX and RX filters.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: They slipped up

      The follow on question is how this got through certification, given these would count as radio emissions.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: They slipped up

        Because you only need to get approval for it's intended use. Unlike medical/aviation where you also need to prove that it's approved even in un-intended or fault conditions.

        This came up with Linux wifi drivers. A commercial operating system manufacturer (mentioning no names) claimed that they should be illegal because some "hacker" could reprogram them to an un-approved state

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not Just Call it AWS


    There are more than 40 bands approved for use with LTE, with Band 4 starting at 1710MHz for the uplink and 2110MHz for the down - with both directions occupying up to 45MHz. It's very unusual to have the uplink and downlink so far apart, 400MHz in this instance, so only operators who hold such diverse spectrum for historical reasons would be interested in using it, which includes Telus.


    Lets be grown up about this - AWS / Advanced Wireless System / Clinton Bands

    1. dotslash

      Re: Why not Just Call it AWS

      Don't really understand your post but it reminds me of how much of a clusterf-bomb lte is. My 3g devices work all over the world (at least to the places I've been). From what I can gather, if you want your so called 4g device (which isn't 4g, it's lte and it's late) to work all over like 3g then you'd need a device capable of so many different frequencies.

      When can we expect a proper fully capable 4g service? I'm guessing 10 years. In the mean time, I'd rather have the 3g hsupa+ thingamabob which seems to be quite adequate, cheaper and more compatible.

      Ah, if only the world was a sensible place...

  3. Bob Vistakin

    I hear the collective groan of a million fanbois

    As the last stick their toy had to beat this beast with just went down the toilet.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: I hear the collective groan of a million fanbois

      Did you even read the article? The Nexus 4 lacks the circuitry to do 4G legally. This isn't a feature: it's bug. It's a serious design cock-up and nothing to be proud of. The phone could be withdrawn from sale as a result of this.

      Besides, it runs a version of Android. Having had to support relatives who've bought Android devices because they were too cheap to buy something better suited to their IT skill level, I am not a fan of it. It's Windows all over again. Christ, talk about history repeating itself.

      People may be expert in some subjects, but they're guaranteed to be ignorant of others and do dumb things as a result of that. Any public-facing system that doesn't allow for the possibility that its users might, in fact, not have a clue what they're doing is a Bloody Stupid Johnson of a system that should be put out of everyone else's misery.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I hear the collective groan of a million fanbois

        Now you know why it's so cheap. It's a cheap toy phone (the hardware not the OS).

  4. DrXym

    Is it that surprising?

    Lots of SoCs contain functionality which you don't get to see or use. For example Raspberry Pi has MPEG-2 and VC-1 support in hardware but you have to install license keys to enable it. Without the keys the functionality is disabled.

    The Snapdragon S4 Pro claims LTE support so it's not surprising that some functionality is there. Maybe Google even tentatively intended to support it now or in a future version of the phone, leaving in some engineer screens but pulled back at the last minute.

  5. Gordon Pryra

    Consumers are "Mugs" allways have been

    Fooling consumers into parting with their cash has always been way to easy with technology.

    Remember the Intel SX chip-sets? 486 SX and 486 DX?

    The original SX chips were cut down DX's, Intel used them as a way of flogging chips on which the floating point coprocessors failed. Once they realised that they had such a big market AND they could flog coprocessor upgrades to the people who brought them they begun to take DX chips and disable the FPU in order to sell them as "lower" speck cheaper units.

    Just because a manufacture tells you that something is better than something else, this does not instantly mean that the "better" costs more, in fact it may actually cost them less to make than the "cheaper" one they are selling you.

    A modern example would be the iPhone, these are just defective galaxy's that failed the testing process, apple just blocked all the additional technical ability's added a mark-up and flogged them on to punters.

    If you want proof, just look at an iPhone next to a Galaxy S3. They are the same on the outside but the S3 can make telephone calls.....

    1. foxyshadis

      SX has never gone away...

      They just changed the name to Celeron.

    2. Tom 38

      Re: Consumers are "Mugs" allways have been

      Once they realised that they had such a big market AND they could flog coprocessor upgrades to the people who brought them they begun to take DX chips and disable the FPU in order to sell them as "lower" speck cheaper units

      Do you actually remember how crazy expensive the DX was? The SX was at least affordable.

      When you first start making a particular chip, you bin them according to their quality. This is why faster chips (higher bin) cost more than slower chips (lower bin). Say in the first month, only 12.5% of chips test as valid at the quality mark. Do you absorb the cost of the other 87.5% of failures, or sell at a slightly lower spec?

      Over time, as processes get better, the proportion of chips ending in each bin shifts towards the higher bins. If everything in a batch actually ends up getting binned towards the higher end of the spectrum, then potentially each could be sold as a high end chip, but the demand is mainly for low end chips.

      So you have a choice then. You can leave most of your stock on the shelves as too expensive, you can cut the price of your high end stock, or you can ship high end stock as low end stock.

      If Intel didn't do things like this, processors would cost significantly more than they already do. So take the already crazy price of a DX, triple it, and take away any option of buying an SX instead.

      1. Chris Parsons

        Re: Consumers are "Mugs" allways have been

        Stop being so sensible. This is the place for flame-wars and unthinking bigotry, it's just not fair to bring in facts and reasons.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely last year's Nexus had LTE, why does this years not? Has tech now got so advanced that it's obsolete before it's even been properly rolled out?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eh?

      Google decided the market wanted cheap cack, so no LTE, a tiny amount of storage and flimsy build quality that means the display model feels better made.

      1. DP_

        Re: Eh?

        Flimsy build quality? Have you actually even held one? The build quality is very good indeed (and yes I was one of the lucky ones to get one from the Play Store).

      2. Psyx

        Re: Eh?

        "flimsy build quality"

        Would this be compared to the phones made of a sheet of glass that extends to the edge, that I've yet to see one of more than a year old that hasn't been either smashed or swathed in layers of rubber in order to try to keep it in one piece?

        "a tiny amount of storage"

        Just because the number is smaller than some other numbers, it doesn't make 8GB 'tiny'. 8 GB is a vast amount of data. I don't personally need more than a couple of films, a few books and a hundred tracks of music on my 'phone at once, because there are few times in my life where I both have more than a couple of hours to kill and are more than a couple of hours away from going home and being able to spend a whole two minutes clearing out stuff I'm tired of and replacing it with fresh stuff. I'm not really sure what the point is with ramming a phone full of pointless data is. I guess so one can sneer down at people who can't.

  7. Levente Szileszky

    Yep, it's T-Mobile USA's HSPA+ frequency - which are they are actually busy refarming... 1900Mhz so they could support unlocked iPhone owners - already 1.5-2 MILLION of them are on T-Mobile's network - with full speed HSPA+ (TMO US' speeds are pretty awesome, here in NYC I regularly get 13-14Mb down and 5-6Mb up in the busiest part of Downtown Manhattan)...

    ...then guess what happens to their 1700MHz? Yes, you've guessed it right, it becomes their new LTE frequency - and then Nexus 4 users will only need a firmware update, apparently. =)

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