INTERNET GIANT Google announced its Android 4.2 Jelly Bean flagship smartphone on Monday, the LG Nexus 4.
For us IT news lot it was one of the busiest days of the year, with Microsoft set to launch its Windows Phone 8 operating system and Ipad Mini hype still rife, so we didn't truly appreciate what Google had done until afterwards - which is possibly changing the mobile industry for good.
The first reason is pricing. There are a few websites, which we won't name, referring to the LG Nexus 4 as a 'mid-range' device. This to us places it in the same category as the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini and the HTC Desire X. We don't quite understand this, as the LG Nexus 4 has an impressive set of specifications, including a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, a 4.7in 768x1280 HD touchscreen, 2GB of RAM, a swish 8MP rear-facing camera and the latest version of Google's mobile operating system ahead of other Android smartphones on the market.
For specifications like these, you're typically going to have to spend between £400 to £550 upfront. The Iphone 5, for example, costs £529 SIM free, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 ups that to £550. But not this phone, oh no. Pricing for the LG Nexus 4 starts at a mind-bogglingly cheap £239 (!) SIM free.
I know, we couldn't quite believe it either, but what Google has done is extremely clever. £239 is almost £300 cheaper than an Iphone 5 handset, and in comparing the two phones on paper, we can't justify why buying Apple's latest smartphone should cost an extra £300. It shouldn't, that's why.
Google wouldn't tell us whether it's making the handset at a loss, but it's probably geared up to make a mint through its Android ecosystem as people flock to pick up the bargain priced smartphone. Surely Apple could do the same, given the fortune it makes from selling apps, books, music - you name it.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm an Iphone and Windows Phone user, but with a £239 price tag, I think the Nexus 4 has finally got me over my resistance to switching. For a saving of £300, I will happily labour over a computer for a few hours to get my years of Itunes content perfectly synchronised with an Android device, and I'm certain I'm not the only one.
That's not all Google has done to make us think it might have changed the mobile industry. Sure, we get excited by Apple's elaborately hyped San Francisco launch rituals, but Google has just proven that such hype isn't necessary.
Google had planned a swanky launch event in New York for the Nexus 4, but this was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. We were expecting Google to announce a rescheduled event once the storm died down, but instead Google quietly released a handful of press releases that let the gadgets speak for themselves.
Of course, we didn't appreciate this at the time because it happened just minutes before Microsoft was set to unveil its Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system, but on reflection, it was great. No over-excited speeches and marketing spiel, just gadgets with excellent specifications and even better prices.
Google did what should be done, it let the technology speak for itself. No CEO muttering for two hours, no whooping from the crowd, but the same notice from the technology industry press thanks to the products it quietly announced.
What's more, moments after filling our inboxes, Google's products were up for preorder. Everything Android fans needed to know was right there - and more importantly, were able to order the smartphone that might well change the mobile industry for good.
Come on Apple, this is how it should be done. µ
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