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Google's Nexus 4 gets price cut amid cheaper iPhone rumors

Google's price reduction on the Nexus 4 comes weeks before Apple could announce a cheaper version of the iPhone.
Google's price reduction on the Nexus 4 comes weeks before Apple could announce a cheaper version of the iPhone.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Google knocks $100 off of its Nexus 4 smartphone
  • It now sells for as little as $200 and doesn't require a wireless contract
  • The moves comes as Apple is rumored to be planning cheaper iPhone

(CNN) -- Google's Nexus 4 made a splash last fall simply because it was well-built and inexpensive, and yet it didn't require a two-year contract with a wireless carrier. Now, it's even cheaper.

The Nexus 4 now costs $200 for the 8 GB model and $250 for the 16 GB model--a $100 price reduction from before. Those prices aren't incredible if you're used to buying your phones through major wireless carriers at subsidized prices, but compared to most unlocked phones, the Nexus 4 is cheap. And it's a decent phone, running the latest version of Google's Android operating system.

Buying the phone unlocked means you can bring it to certain wireless carriers in the United States and save a lot of money on service. For example, with T-Mobile you can pay as little as $50 per month if you bring your own phone. Or, you can get a SIM card from Straight Talk and pay $45 per month for service. An unlocked phone also allows you to travel overseas and take advantage of lower service prices from local carriers.

The only major drawback to the Nexus 4 is that it doesn't support 4G LTE data speeds, which can sometimes rival the speeds of home Internet service. Most smartphones sold in the United States now support 4G LTE, so this is one area where the Nexus 4 seems seriously outdated.

Still, at $200, the slower data speeds are more palatable, especially for new smartphone adopters that are willing to sacrifice performance for a lower monthly bill.

Rumor has it that a new Nexus phone, dubbed the Nexus 5, is coming soon. It's unknown whether this phone will be as cheap as the Nexus 4 was when it launched last year.

But with lower prices on the Nexus 4, Google seems to be girding itself for the arrival of a cheaper iPhone, supposedly called the "iPhone 5C." Like the Nexus 4, Apple's phone could be aimed at customers who want an unlocked, off-contract handset without spending gobs of cash. I'll be surprised if the Nexus 4 doesn't stick around to do battle with Apple, even after the Nexus 5 comes into existence

© 2012 TIME, Inc. TIME is a registered trademark of Time Inc. Used with permission.

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