Monday 11 March 2013

Nexus microsite lists India as supported country, Google says ‘nothing to announce’

A curious thing showed up this morning on the Google Nexus microsite. The company now lists India in the supported countries drop-down list.

India has not featured on the list before, which only shows countries where Google is officially selling devices like the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10 that were launched late last year, or the Nexus 7, which is already available in India through retail outlets. However, clicking on the "Shop Now" button returns the now-standard message saying the device is not available in the country.

We reached out to Google India for an official word and the likely date of availability for the devices. However, the company dashed our hopes by saying, “We're always interested in making our products and services available. However we have nothing to announce at this time.”

The Nexus 4 is one of the most popular smartphones out there, however, limited stock of the device has disappointed fans worldwide. After a month or so of widespread unavailability, Google and LG stepped up the production of the phone to make it available again. However, there was no sign of the phone in India, at least not through official channels.

The launch of the LG Optimus G has cleared the path for the entry of Google’s flagship. The Nexus 4 is designed by LG in conjunction with Google and is largely based on the 2012 flagship Optimus G. LG launched the Optimus G in India late last month. It is priced at Rs 30,990, well below other quad-core smartphones at the time of their launch.

Google has set the price of the Nexus 4 at $299 (approx Rs 16,200) for the 8GB model, while $349 (approx Rs 19,000) nets you the 16GB version of the handset. Considering the disparity in the price of the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G and the similarities in their specs, it is but natural for LG to fear that its own handset will lose out to the Nexus 4 in terms of sales. In fact, that was one of the reasons cited for the lack of availability of the Nexus 4 through official channels. However, now that the Optimus G has had its moment under the Indian sun for nearly two weeks, it seems like the right time for both LG and Google to get the Nexus 4 out, if at all.

On paper, some specs of the Optimus G are better than the Nexus 4. These include the 13-megapixel camera, as opposed to the 8-megapixel unit on the Nexus 4, and the higher internal storage of 32GB. The phones are identical in specs otherwise. However, the Nexus 4 runs Android 4.2.2, which is the latest version of the OS and brings with it features like a continuous-input keyboard, notification toggles and lockscreen widgets.

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