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back to article Google stiffs Samsung on price, now wireless charging too

Not content with undercutting Samsung's Galaxy S III mobile by two hundred quid, Google's Nexus 4 handset is using the Qi charging standard to provide the wireless charging Samsung still can't offer. Sammy's handset was announced with support for wireless power charging, and will get it eventually, but in the meantime Google ( …

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Headmaster

"So for the additional notes the Samsung gear delivers 4G, a tenth of an inch in screen estate and an FM radio"

You mean 4G on some versions

And you forgot to mention the SD card slot on the S3, which was the reason I bought mine rather than the HTC One X and which it still has over the Nexus 4.

Although, granted, if the Nexus 4 had been announced earlier I would have probably gone for that instead considering the cost - an SD slot and FM radio I never use isn't worth £200.

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Anonymous Coward

This is new...

This is new, Android Fandroids at each others throats and not a whiff of Apple in the air!

Just shows how fragmented Android and the Fandroids are.......

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Re: This is new...

One man's fragmentation is another's consumer choice.

A Fandroid decides if he wants his chosen OS on a phone with an SD card or not. He chooses the screen size he wants, if he wants a real keyboard or just a virtual one. FM radio? NFC? Or maybe he fancies a stylus... etc.. etc.

A Fruitdroid just crosses his fingers the great west coast oracle will give him what he was missing with the last model, and when it doesn't he still queues up and buys it.

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Re: This is new...

A "Fruitdroid" who needs to do something an iPhone won't let him do will – and this might surprise you – buy another phone. Shocking, I know, but, contrary to what you appear to believe, Apple don't point a gun at your head and force you to buy their stuff when you walk into one of their stores. I've certainly never been held hostage in one.

I've even heard one Apple blue-shirt suggest a customer buys a particular model of (Windows-based) laptop instead of an Apple one after hearing their litany of requirements and budget. If they know you can't afford the model that would fit their needs, they'll be happy to suggest a low-priced competitor. It's not as if the customer was going to buy from them anyway, and they'll leave with a good impression of Apple's customer service too. (See one of my other posts on this thread for why that's a good thing for Apple.)

On styluses

Having owned a Sony-Ericsson P900 (and its predecessor) in the past, both of which were stylus-based, I can't say I've ever felt the need to own another stylus-based device since. My carpal tunnel hates the stylus grip position with a passion bordering on righteous anger, so I'd be in pain within minutes. (In fact, I haven't been able to write much of anything longhand for years as a result. In any case, I've been able to type at over 120 wpm. since my primary school days, so it's no great loss. My handwriting has always sucked anyway.)

That said... I'm surprised there hasn't been more call for handwriting recognition of Gregg* Shorthand on stylus-based devices. It seems such an obvious move for those who can write, and I'm well aware that many find handwriting more comfortable than typing. Despite a brief flurry of research papers dating back to the early '90s, there don't seem to be much work on this in the Android space today, which seems like a gap in the market to me.

* The UK's preference is for Pitman Shorthand, but that relies on line thickness as well as line length, which means the stylus would have to support pressure-sensitivity. It also adds complexity to the recogniser code. Studying the two, it seems to me that Gregg's is the better fit for tablets and 'phone-pads' like Samsung's "Note" series.

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Re: This is new...

No its Android users deciding between all the different choices available.

I realise that as an Apple fanboi that may be a new concept to you...

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Happy

Re: This is new...

@Sean Timarco Baggaley "On styluses"

If you have a spare moment, I'd suggest to try a Samsung Galaxy Note II somewhere and put it through some handwriting recognition moves. I have a crappy handwriting at best and the Note II gets it still...

It's rather amazing to see how far this technique has come given that there are a lot less devices with styluses these days.

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@Gob smacked - was Re: This is new...

Agreed. There is a world of difference between the old, Nintendo DS style touch screens of old and the Galaxy Note implementation. They use licensed Wacom technology which is not only pressure sensitive, but also proximity sensitive.

If you can't get to a galaxy note, then go play with a Wacom tablet and do some photo retouching in photoshop, it's another world!

(My missus has a wacom tablet on her Mac Pro, and she won't let me "borrow" it for my photo work, I have to go and use it on her fruit flavoured machine instead... I feel unclean afterwards).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This is new...

"The UK's preference is for Pitman Shorthand, but that relies on line thickness as well as line length, which means the stylus would have to support pressure-sensitivity. It also adds complexity to the recogniser code. Studying the two, it seems to me that Gregg's is the better fit for tablets and 'phone-pads' like Samsung's "Note" series"

Except the Samsung Note S-Pen is pressure sensitive.

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Alert

Not just wireless charging.

They also stiffed Samsung - together with all users who already had adapters - by dumping MHL and going to a new HDMI-via-microUSB system called SlimPort.

That said Samsung - founding member of the MHL group - had already stiffed users by using an incompatible MHL on the S3.

Nothing like changing "standards" every year.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just wireless charging.

"Nothing like changing "standards" every year."

Oh do come on, old chap, you're right, but you're also obliged to include this:

http://xkcd.com/927/

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Re: Not just wireless charging.

Unlike MHL, SlimPort adapters don't require power if your TV only supports HDMI, so not to worried about this aspect.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Paul 135 "SlimPort adapters don't require power"

HDMI standard specification is only good for 5v at 50mA. I'd love to see how they power a smartphone using that.

Sounds like they've invented a "Special HDMI" to go with that claim.

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Well you know what they say...

...it's the nice thing about standards, there are so many to choose from.

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Re: Paul 135 "SlimPort adapters don't require power"

They aren't going to power the whole smartphone with 5mA, merely act as a normal HDMI. Power will work with TVs that support SlimPort, or if only HDMI then you can connect an external power source to the adapter (just like MHL). The difference with MHL is that with MHL you are forced to connect an external power source to use it with a normal HDMI TV at all -- SlimPort does not force you to do this.

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Big Brother

Never mind Samsung...

This move looks like it will flatten the entire Android phone platform, possibly bankrupting a few phone manufacturers with it.

I would be interested in knowing the profit margins involved, and the details as to whether Google is funding this etc.

I always thought back in 2007 that the Nexus model was a bad one for what was supposed to be an open platform, and that Google should have stayed out of it on the hardware side. Instead it seems that Google have absolutely no interest in applying fairness to the Android platform, whereby unless you are in bed with Google (getting subsidised devices sold with minimal margin, getting access to early source-code that your competitors do not, getting the final AOSP release and all updates made specifically to only work on your device) then you have absolutely no chance to compete. I believe thisto be a major factor in why firstly HTC (now struggling) and then Samsung came to dominate Android.

I can see why Google could have wanted to do this for where Android was behind in tablets, but for the phone market where Android dominates already it is just destructive.

Remember people, while short-term the Nexus 4 is a great bargain for consumers, long term reduced competition is in nobody's interest.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never mind Samsung...

I predicted this not long ago, saying Google would starting locking down Android and screwing the OEMs.

Vertical integration means Google obviously doesn't pay itself for access to Google Play. Welcome to the future, this is why Samsung invested in Tizen as they could see this coming.

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Re: Never mind Samsung...

When you think about it the idea of paying Google to have Google Play just so Google can get a 30% cut of everything sold on it then it just makes Android look all the more preposterous. I also find disconcerting the amount of apps that are sold on Google Play that are essentially DRM-locked to Google Play -- something that I rarely see highlighted as an issue of concern by Android users.

If I were an Android manufacturer I would be looking to try and form an alliance with all other Android manufacturers to fork quickly and kick the Google spy machine out of the loop. It would be in their interests to also come up with a viable alternative to Google Play where any cut on apps is distributed amongst themselves.

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Re: Never mind Samsung...

I'd say it is much more likely HTC's problems are caused by things like - poor customer service, slow software updates, bad software, too many devices on the market (I'm starting to think HTC have an aim to create a different smartphone for every single person on the planet) - despite starting this year unveiling the One line of phones and claiming they weren't going to release as many phones as last year..... The HTC One X is a nice looking phone - but - I get 2 bars less signal continuously than a motorola defy+, 90% of the time I pick it up and it says it has no signal - and yet in the battery section it says "time spent without a signal: 0%", the GPS is not great, battery life is not great, multitasking sucks, power management of the quad core processor is still rubbish - the phone spends more time at full speed than it does at low speed. The only thing that is actually really good about the phone - is the camera. I'm seriously considering selling One X and getting a Nexus4 if nothing else - it's got to have better software!

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Re: Never mind Samsung...

I don't disagree. What I am arguing is that a major reaon why HTC even came into contention in the first place is because Google put them there.

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FAIL

Re: Never mind Samsung...

> I predicted this not long ago, saying Google would starting locking down Android and screwing the OEMs.

I took the same position. It's bad business to compete with your own customers.

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Re: Never mind Samsung...

I disagree. The retail price of contract-free handsets is artificially high at the behest of the telcos, who can then offer you the phone "free" or heavily subsidized as a carrot to tempt you onto a nice fat contract. That kind of market distortion is rarely good for consumers. What Google's Nexus 4 pricing might do is bring a bit of reality to contract-free handset pricing, making it more attractive to buy a handset outright than with a contract, and thus make both the handset market and the contract market a bit more transparent. Low margins and cut-throat competition deliver great value for consumers in the PC market, and as smartphones are commodity items these days, there's no reason why that market shouldn't go the same way. If a few of the existing manufacturers can't handle that, there are plenty of others that will step in.

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WTF?

Re: Never mind Samsung...

Damned if they do and damned if they don't. Without the DRM locked apps, as you say, would there not be rife piracy? Oh.... piracy is rife!

Damn you Google! You aren't doing enough to protect developers! But that DRM! Google - you have to lighten up!

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Anonymous Coward

Cheap compared to the opposition

Did they save money by making it out of plastic?

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Re: Never mind Samsung...

The OEM's could release timely updates if they would stop screwing with the UI and underlying components that they have to upgrade for each release.

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So who's selling the Nexus 4?

I need a new phone you see and I'd quite like to order one.

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Re: So who's selling the Nexus 4?

https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_4_8gb

Although it's not out yet. It's some time this month I think.

Otherwise you can get ripped off by O2 on contract (see Reg article from earlier today).

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Re: So who's selling the Nexus 4?

Carphone Warehouse are only selling on contract too. Since I live in Ireland I'd only be interested in SIM free. I can deliver to the UK if I must but I'd rather not. Google's page doesn't even show up from Ireland so I had to use Tunnelbear to get my name on the list.

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The only thing I don't get is that Google bought motorola. And yet they still hire all these otehr companies to make their nexus stuff.

Wouldn't it be better for them to simply (he says) rename motorola to Nexus, and have them, an internal google company, handle all nexus handsets / tablets?

I know there's probably a good reason they get asus / lg to do it instead (probably cheaper) but still, right now it seems like the motorola buy was for everything but their hardware.

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Anonymous Coward

It's their way of avoiding anti-trust investigations, there's already one for their search operations. Won't be long before Android is under the spotlight.

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Anonymous Coward

Because they don't want to screw over their partners?

I'm guessing Google don't want to have a hardware company that is (unlike this story tries to make out) always undercutting and bettering their partners.

Samsung have had a crack of the Nexus whip, same to HTC and now ASUS and LG (and Samsung again). This helps to keep the partners on side, as well as the diversity of products.

Microsoft seems t be the one who tries to crap on its partners and suppliers (Nokia special privileges, Surface tablet, HTC etc).

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FAIL

Yeah it's cheaper

Those MicroSDHC Readers must be the thing that makes up the difference in price.

'Cause the Nexus 4 still hasn't got One.

WHY?!

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Re: Yeah it's cheaper

You can always get an S3 if you really want one, it'll only cost £200 for the reader.

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Lets at least be fair

All of the articles I've seen comparing the S3 to the Nexus 4 seem to use over-inflated prices for the S3.

Amazon are selling the blue 16gb S3 for 389.99 (not the £430 quoted in the article)

While the equivalent 16gb Nexus 4 is 279.99. (not the 8gb £230 price quoted).

It's still a bargain, and I would have bought one had I not bought an S3 last month (Doh!), but £110 is a far cry from £200.

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WTF?

"have comparable processors"

The S3 has a Quad Core Cortex-A9, the Nexus 4 has a Quad core Cortex-A15 and should be about twice as quick.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "have comparable processors"

"...Nexus 4 has a Quad core Cortex-A15..."

Erm, no, the Nexus 4 has quad Kraits. You're right about being fast though :-)

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WTF?

SD

The SD is required for quite a few excellent apps. NavFree comes immediately to mind. The SD allows you to add 64GB for £50... Which is a nice amount of music, vids and off line maps..

Anybody know why the nexuses don't have SD cards?

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Re: SD

My guesses;

A. Google really wants you to use their cloud services.

B. It's to give their partners a slight advantage over Nexus.

C. Little bit of "B", a lot of "A".

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Re: SD

Anybody know why the nexuses don't have SD cards?

http://www.androidcentral.com/why-nexus-devices-have-no-sd-card

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Wireless charging

" but for most of us the Qi standard will fulfil our wireless charging needs. Just as soon as we work out what those needs are exactly"

Simple really. Combine with RFC to make in-car use simple.

Add a flat, non-slip pad to the centre console, which is a charging pad with a RFC chip in it. Get in a car, pop your phone on the pad, starts charging, and the RFC tells the phone to turn on Bluetooth, if it's the first time, it passes the connection details as well and instant connection with no messing around. If you open your car door without picking up your phone, the car starts beeping in the same way as leaving your keys in or lights on. Pick your phone up, loses RFC connection and turns off Bluetooth.

Car manufacturers... no need to thank me, a free car will cover it.

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WTF?

I don't know...

where this persistent belief that Google charges manufacturers to license its apps on Android (mainly Google Play, since once you have that, you can get everything else) . As detailed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Play#Device_compatibility , the license is free of cost if your device passes the compatibility test. Somewhere in the depths of the Android documentation, they even say that they'll help you out, free of charge.

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Predatory Pricing

Would this be considered <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predatory_pricing>Predatory pricing</a>. If so, wouldn't that mean that it could come into the competition commissioners spotlight anyway?

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Re: Predatory Pricing

Wouldn't it be difficult to prove that, by selling an LG-manufactured phone, Google are involved in predatory pricing, as such a practice would damage Google-owned Motorola Mobility. Probably why Google didn't commission Motorola to build any of the Nexus line, to avoid such allegations.

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Thumb Up

No SD to avoid some of the M$ tax?

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Anonymous Coward

There's no "M$ tax" for having an SD slot. They could put one in and only support ext4 formatted SD cards, and not have to license anything from Microsoft. It just wouldn't be particularly user friendly for users who wanted to pop the card out and stick it into their camera or their laptop.

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Silver badge

Also UFS to be MS friendly I think, though its probably more for TV usage than PC. Onboard HDMI means there's less need to pull a card and pop it in the TV.

You could use run a samba server when there's a ready power supply and talk over wireless.

Any news on screen quality & brightness rather than just resolution?

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Anonymous Coward

Also, LCD not Super AMOLED

But hey, it's a Nexus phone, which are always missing a feature or two.

No-one mentioning Nexus vs Nexus comparison? Galaxy Nexus, last Nov/Dec model, was dual core with truly ancient gpu.

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Nice to know we have so much spare energy capacity

I was worried when I read here about the coming brownouts but I guess that's sorted if we're switching to charging systems that throw away 30%.

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No SD card - not much of a problem

There is software on the Play market and leads from all leading electrical retailers which together allow you to connect any USB storage to your droid phone. So for the sake of about £5, you can take a small lead and e.g. a USB microSD card reader and carry TBs of video with you on holiday.

So the missing SD issue is only fairly major, not very major.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No SD card - not much of a problem

Surely this is the kind of feature that the Apple crowd have been saying is so great for years - 'so what if it's missing it, I don't need it and if you do you can buy an extra adapter'

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