As often happens with the biggest mobile releases, iFixit has procured a Nexus 4 and done the dirty work of tearing the whole thing apart. The biggest reveal wasn’t the device’s orderly construction or relative ease of repair, however. It was the discovery of something no one was really expecting: an LTE chip.
Now before those of us hoping for an LTE-enabled Nexus 4 get too excited, the chip is completely useless. The phone’s hardware does not include an LTE radio, so the chip hangs around like a vestigial organ and we are left longing for what could have been.
The chip is likely a carryover from the LG Optimus G, the phone that the Nexus 4 is largely based off of. While one might ask why a company would include a component in the device that has no function and could simply add to costs, it probably stems from LG wanting to consolidate the manufacturing flow for both devices. Instead of putting together a unique circuit board for each phone, the two can share the component.
An LTE chip could also suggest that perhaps a 4G version of the device could find its way to retail, but we’re not holding our breath just yet. Andy Rubin has been pretty explicit in explaining Google’s reasoning behind leaving LTE technology (aside from this newly discovered anomaly) out of the Nexus 4.
We wish enabling LTE on the device would be as easy as a few software commands, but with the hardware as it stands you’d need a soldering iron and a lot more technical know-how than your average bear. But we can keep the dream alive, right?