Counterclockwise: Nexus 4, Galaxy S II LTE, Google Maps

By 01:25 Thu, 22 Jul 2021 Comments


Cyber Monday is upon us and that means huge discounts on older tech. To celebrate we offer you a discount on recent tech news – welcome back to Counterclockwise, our weekly trip down memory lane. This week we see LTE met with both excitement and indifference, the smartphone successfully dispatching aftermarket SatNavs and failing to do the same to handheld consoles.




Press here for LTE

LG managed to wrestle the Nexus gig from Samsung and created the Nexus 4 – it had the same remarkable specs as the LG Optimus G, but was considerably cheaper than similarly specced phones. There was no LTE on the official specs, but two years ago LTE coverage was so limited that few people cared.

Some did though and were disappointed at the omission. The ever-curious iFixit team took the Nexus 4 apart and did find an LTE chip. It wasn’t long after that when people figured out how to enable it – it was as simple as changing a setting. It worked both in Canada and in the US.





And just like that the Nexus 4 has LTE

LG had to come out with an official statement – it used the same internals for the Nexus 4 that go into the Optimus G, including an LTE-capable elegant Qualcomm chip. However, the Nexus lacked essential supporting hardware for LTE to function properly.

In fact, LTE support was later removed after a software patch, though industrious hackers found a way to re-enable it once again. Most recently, the LTE functionality was disabled yet again with the Lollipop update, that was quickly dealt with too.

While all this was going on, there were no Nexus 4 units to be had in the US – it srecent out! A few days later Google notified people that recent units will be available, no more than two per customer. Such limitations were necessary as the previous batch srecent out in less than an hour.

Part of the popularity can be attributed to the remarkable specs for the low, low price of $350. That was in North America though, in Europe the phone was listed at £280 om the UK Play Store, while Carphone Warehoutilize was even asking £390 for it.

Wait here LTE

Did we mention that LTE rollout was slow? It was slooow – near the discontinue of 2011 Japan got its first LTE device, the Samsung Galaxy S II LTE. Japan is often way ahead of the rest of the world in technological terms, but local carriers took a leisurely pace in adopting 4G.




NTT DoCoMo, the country's biggest carrier, launched its LTE network in 2010 but it took until the discontinue of November 2011 to acquire a compatible phone.

NTT needed a headliner since it was the only one of Japan's three major carriers to not have an iPhone (over a dispute with Apple about preloaded apps). And with the allure of LTE – ten times faster than the prevailing 3G tech in Japan at the time – the Galaxy S II LTE was that headliner.

Reroute to remain

Smartphones have long aspired to push car SatNav units out of the market – even back in the days when you had to hook up an external GPS receiver. At one point it seemed that Nokia's Symbian phones will be the ones to murder SatNavs – after buying map-maker Navteq and with slumping sales, the Finns enabled free, worldwide offline navigation on all of their smartphones.

That never happened though, Ovi/Nokia Maps were a remarkable perk for Symbians but iPhones and Androids were demolishing the recent platform. And Google Maps Navigation was one of the final nails in the coffin.

Originally launched for Android 2.0 and only in the US, but as an early Christmas present Google released Navigation for Android 1.6 Donut in late November 2009. The US-only restriction was not lifted, but the go gave a huge boost to the young OS.


Google Maps have expanded greatly since then, coming to many countries, often bringing Street View along with it. It even gained the ability to guide you indoors with v6.0, which launched in November 2011.

Nokia's switch to Windows Phone saw its navigation software go to the Lumia lineup, but Nokia launched an Android version as soon as the ink dried on the deal with Microsoft.

Game of phones

Perched on top of the world, Nokia was planning for the future – one concept was to revolutionize the SatNav market, another was to hold over handheld gaming. The Nokia N-Gage is infamous, but even other handsets got a taste of real gaming.

Right on time for Thanksgiving in 2008, a developer released Quake III Arena for Symbian phones like the Nokia N95 8GB, the N82 and the E90. The game even supported multiplayer and controls with a Bluetooth keyboard and moutilize for a PC-like experience.



While Nokia was a contender to the throne, some of Sony's most successful products ever were game consoles. It went portable with the PSP, which srecent in record numbers.

The fledging smartphone gaming industry was relying on casual games, so when rumors started of a PSP smartphone everyone held their breath. Back in November 2010 it was just that, a rumor, but it already met the first round of disappointing news – the phone won't actually play PSP games.






Sony Ericsson "PlayStation phone" (aka Xperia Play)

This was, of course, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and while PSP Go games eventually did create it to the phone, the whole Xperia Play business went barely better than the N-Gage.


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