Google Nexus 4 has secret 4G, teardown reveals

LG's Google Nexus 4 phone contains a secret 4G chip -- but don't expect to get 4G data speeds on it anytime soon.

The Google Nexus 4 is a powerful phone with a great screen -- but it has even more up its sleeve. A teardown by iFixit reveals that LG's Nexus phone contains an LTE chip -- the gubbins required to get 4G super-fast web connection speeds on your phone. Unfortunately, it's turned off.

That's because the Qualcomm chipset that powers the phone has the 4G kit built-in as standard. Other phones with the same Qualcomm WTR1605L Seven-Band 4G LTE on board can access 4G, but they need a special amplifier, which the Nexus 4 lacks.

Because the chip is missing a vital component, there's no way it can be turned on with a simple software update.

4G hardware is a complicated beast, because of the different frequencies used by phone networks to beam their fast Internet into our phones. Heck, even here in little ol' Blighty we have two separate flavours of 4G: EE , which launched last month, and everyone else, expected next year -- and that's not to mention the different 4G networks in the US, Asia and Australia.

That means a phone must have various sets of 4G kit built in, as it's a costly headache to manufacture different versions of a phone in different regions. The iPhone 5, for example, has only one set of 4G kit -- the EE flavour -- but the Samsung Galaxy S3 has both .

LG is cagey about whether it'll ever offer the Nexus 4 on a 4G network. Adding the requisite hardware would drive up the cost of this bargain of a phone, but if half the hardware is already built in, then why not?

Although LG and Google haven't made a massive deal of it, the Nexus 4 also has all the bits and pieces required to charge the battery wirelessly, without plugging into a power source. Although the Nexus 4 doesn't come with a wireless charger, the Nokia Lumia 920 does -- and, as Omio reports, the Nexus 4 will start drawing cable-free batteryjuice if you drop it onto the 920's Qi charging pad .

Would you buy a 4G Nexus 4? Is wireless charging the future? And what secret feature would you like to have in your phone? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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Phones
About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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