Android 4.2.2 has reached Google and LG’s Nexus 4, but for those taking advantage of a hack allowing for limited LTE support the new software might not be so desirable. Included in the update is a refreshed baseband version that effectively kills the unofficial 4G connectivity.
The capability was initially uncovered after it was discovered that the Nexus 4 shared certain radio component with the LTE-capable LG Optimus G. Google and LG reiterated that there were no plans to enable 4G support with a future software release (and it was shown that the hardware compliment actually made that this impossible, anyway), but that didn’t stop many users from finding a workaround.
The removal of the functionality entirely is more than Google simply tamping down on the unofficial feature. It also stems from the fact that the Nexus 4 lacks the necessary regulatory approvals to function on 4G airwaves, creating a potentially precarious legal situation if the company were to allow unofficial LTE support to continue unchecked.
We will take this opportunity to once again wonder why LTE was not included in the first place, but ultimately have to accept Google’s explanation citing overall user experience and cost as major factors. We can only hope the Motorola team behind the X Phone, which could be the next big Google-branded device, is able to convince their parent company that 4G LTE is a worthwhile feature for a bleeding-edge smartphone.