Device operating systems

Google's Nexus 7 to Traverse US LTE Networks

Google's new Nexus 7 tablet will carry the distinction of being the first to run on the LTE networks of Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile in the same model.

The Asus-built tablet won't, however, support Sprint Corp.'s flavor of LTE bands, which aren't compatible with its U.S. peers.

Google unveiled the new tablet on Wednesday in a breakfast in San Francisco hosted by Sundar Pitchai, who leads up Google's Android and Chrome ambitions. It's a thinner, lighter and more high-resolution version of its Nexus predecessor and features Google's latest OS, Android 4.3.

Whereas most tablet makers, like Apple Inc. with the iPad, build multiple SKUs to accommodate different operators' LTE networks, Google's able to bake in support for all three by selling the device unlocked. That means it won't come up with a carrier subsidy, but it will work anywhere the three operators' have 4G service in the U.S.

Why this matters
To date, LTE hasn't been a big seller in tablets, with most consumer preferring cheaper Wi-Fi alternatives. Google, for example, will begin selling the 32GB LTE version of the Nexus 7 "in the coming weeks" for $349 compared to the 32GB Wi-Fi-only version at $269.

The new Nexus 7 will be a good test of whether cross-carrier LTE support can make 4G tablets more appealing. It will also be a test of Google's strategy of selling directly to consumers in the U.S. Most are accustomed to carrier discounts and contracts here, although the tides are certainly changing as the operators shake up their business models and offer unsubsidized devices.

For more
JoeTT 8/9/2013 | 9:53:38 PM
re: Google's Nexus 7 to Traverse US LTE Networks Are there any details about Verizon selling data plans to unlocked tablets they don't sell? I don't believe they've done anything like this before.
DanJonesLRMobile 8/5/2013 | 5:48:35 PM
re: Google's Nexus 7 to Traverse US LTE Networks Looks like an August launch for the LTE version:

DanJonesLRMobile 7/25/2013 | 12:07:56 PM
re: Google's Nexus 7 to Traverse US LTE Networks Seems like a useful -- if incremental -- update. Selfishly I hope that they've done something with the audio latency of the Android OS, as I've been experimenting with the OS for voice recording (podcast prep) and it leaves something to be desired.
MordyK 7/24/2013 | 11:06:29 PM
re: Google's Nexus 7 to Traverse US LTE Networks I wonder what effect that has on battery consumption, internal space requirements and component prices. These factors are among the many issues that can get in the way of a free market for devices that can choose and switch carriers.
milan03 7/24/2013 | 9:51:03 PM
re: Google's Nexus 7 to Traverse US LTE Networks Worth noting that like Galaxy Camera, Nexus 7 only connect you to Verizon's LTE network. There is no fallback to EVDO.

That said, you do get access to Verizon's AWS Band which should be an open highway for a while.
Sarah Thomas 7/24/2013 | 7:01:13 PM
re: Google's Nexus 7 to Traverse US LTE Networks $350 for the LTE version is still significantly cheaper than the iPad. It also doesn't seem like that much more than the WiFi version, so that might encourage more people to upgrade. Cross-network LTE is a great feature, but not be THE factor that puts people over the edge to buy the Nexus 7.
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