Google finally announced the Nexus 4 earlier this week, even though weather in the US tried its best to stop the launch (for what it’s worth, Google couldn’t hold the event and had to rely on press releases to make people aware of the launch). Other than the impressive hardware, which is basically the Optimus G in a different body running stock Android, the other impressive aspect about it is the price, which at $299 and $349 for the 8 and 16GB models unsubsidized is great.
The thing is, I don’t think we will get the same prices in India. Or anywhere close, for that matter.
There are couple of reasons why this phone is so cheap in the US. First of all, the Nexus devices were never about making money off the hardware but to showcase the platform and push it to as many buyers as possible. It’s a long term game, where Google, just like Amazon, plans on reaping the benefits from a platform used by millions of people, through ads and content sales from their store.
Secondly, the Nexus 4 does not have LTE, for which Google has its own reasons but then they also can’t, in good conscience, price it the same as other LTE smartphones, regardless of how capable the phone might be otherwise.
Things are different in India. Google doesn’t sell as much content in most of the markets outside the US, so they have few reasons to offer the Nexus devices there, leave alone at a low price.
Moreover, there is no LTE in India, so the battleground is even and actually tilted in favor of the Nexus 4. If the phone is launched in India, it will instantly become the best Android smartphone on the market. Period. Nothing else comes close, neither in terms of hardware nor the software. To think LG would sell this phone cheaper than some of its own phones even though it is significantly better would be naive. For reference, LG’s current flagship phone, the Optimus Vu, costs 30k in India and it’s nowhere as good as the Nexus 4.
This leaves two options in front of LG; either price the phone high enough to not jeopardize its own smartphones or not sell the phone in India at all. Either way it sucks for the buyers but I have a feeling LG would go with the second option. I know they said that they might launch the phone in November in India but then again, ASUS also said they’ll announce the Nexus 7 in October and we’re yet to see that happen.