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Even though Google cancelled its NYC Android event for today due to Hurricane Sandy, that didn’t stop the company from unceremoniously dumping all of its announcements a few minutes ago. Among them, Google finally unveiled the Nexus 4, its next flagship Android phone (and its first built by LG).
The announcement isn’t too surprising, since we’ve seen plenty of details about the Nexus 4 leak out over the past few months. The phone sports a 4.7-inch display running at 320 pixels per inch, which makes it look as sharp as Apple’s iPhone Retina Display, and fancy wireless charging capabilities. It runs a quad-core 1.5 gigahertz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and it’ll be the first phone to run Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean.” And with an improved 8-megapixel camera, it should offer a big improvement over the Galaxy Nexus’ lackluster shooter.
Most interesting about the Nexus 4 is its pricing: Google will offer it unlocked and without a contract starting at $299 for the 8 gigabyte version (the 16GB version will go for $349). That’s much lower than the typical off-contract price for new phones, which often run for more than $500. The phone will initially be available in the U.S., U.K, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, and Australia through the Google Play store.
T-Mobile will also offer the Nexus 4 16GB version for $199 with a two-year contract.
Strangely, Google seems to be forgoing LTE connectivity on the Nexus 4 for now. It supports HSPA+ networks like AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S. Google will likely release an LTE version of the phone eventually (we’ve seen this happen with other Android phones in the past).
Thanks to Android 4.2, the Nexus 4 will be able to send media to HDTVs that support Miracast. Google Now has also been upgraded, thanks to new cards that offer information about nearby attractions, movie listings, and more. Along with the new camera, the Nexus 4 will also sport a new Photo Sphere feature, which lets you capture 360-degree images (similar to Microsoft’s Photosynth).
Now that we have an official look at the Nexus 4, I have to admit that it’s a bit more appealing than I previously thought. In particular, I’m glad it doesn’t feature a cheap plastic rear cover, which is all too common with Android phones. Instead, the Nexus 4 features a glass back, similar to the iPhone 4’s design. While it may not be original, it’s a nice design flourish that should help the Nexus 4 stand out from the crowd of ugly Android phones.