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Google bypasses carriers with Nexus

Google may be giving a new meaning to the phrase “over-the-top” with the launch of its newest line of Nexus devices. The Nexus 4 is an unlocked smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line 1.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro and running Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean.) The only missing ingredient is LTE, which Google decided to forego in order to offer the phone directly to consumers instead of working with service providers. The Nexus 4 is a 3G (W-CDMA), HSPA+ smartphone, and the 16 GB version retails for $349. That makes it a bit more expensive upfront than the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S III, but the Nexus 4 does not require a contract. A SIM card from a prepaid carrier is all that’s needed, so Nexus 4 users will be able to buy services on a month-by-month basis. (There is a T-Mobile USA version of the Nexus 4, which will sell for $199 with a contract.)

Google also announced a new version of its Nexus 7 tablet on Monday. The company is now offering the 7-inch slate in a 32 GB HSPA+ version for $299. Google says the tablet will operate on the networks of more than 200 GSM service providers worldwide, including AT&T and T-Mobile USA. The company also said that the 16 GB Nexus 7 will now sell for $199, and the 32 GB version (without HSPA+) will be $249.

The Nexus 10 is Google’s full-size” tablet, and the company is billing it as a “premium entertainment device.” As expected, Google has partnered with Samsung to create what it calls the highest-resolution tablet to ever hit the market. The display is just over 10-inches and with 300 pixels-per-inch, Google claims that it’s delivering 400 million pixels.

Google is also billing the Nexus 10 as a family device. Multiple users can maintain accounts on the tablet, and switch between them from the lockscreen. Sounds a lot like the family PC. The Nexus 10 will sell for $399. Both the Nexus 10 and the Nexus 7 are sold directly to consumers through Google’s website.

For Google, devices are clearly loss leaders for its highly profitable advertising business. The company may not expect much in profits from any of its new devices, but if they increase market share for the Android operating system they will also increase the number of eyeballs looking at ads sold and served by Google. Even as Google absorbs losses at its recently acquired Motorola Mobility unit, its advertising business continues to grow at a steady clip. Third quarter ad revenue was up 16% year-on-year, and paid clicks increased by more than 30%.

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Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse
Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports ( At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.

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