Google today officially unveiled the Nexus 4, the latest addition to its line of Nexus-branded smartphones. The phone hasn't exactly been a well kept secret. For the last few weeks there have been leaked photos and specs. One retailer even put the phone up for pre-order last week with a ship date of October 30 (it emerged today that the phone actually won't be on sale until November 13). However, before all of that, it seems someone at Google very nearly let the cat out of the bag in a much bigger and more embarrassing way.
According to Wired, a Googler left their Nexus 4 unit behind in a bar in San Francisco in late September. If you think this story sounds familiar, that's because the same thing happened with the iPhone 4 back in 2010. Though the iPhone 4 was eventually sold to Gizmodo, the Nexus 4 wound up back in Google's possession shortly after it was found by a bartender working at the bar. However, it seems Google went to great lengths to get the device back.
Wired writes that the bartender showed the phone to a customer who recognized what it was and said he would call Google HQ about it. The customer called back the next day, apparently freaked out, said that someone had been fired over the incident, and that the "Google police" were coming to get the phone. The bartender, Jamin Barton, said he would give the phone back to Google the next day, but Brian Katz, global investigations and intelligence manager at Google, wouldn't take no for an answer and wanted to meet up and get the phone immediately. Katz headed for the bar where Barton worked and Barton left, telling co-workers he felt harassed.
Barton's co-worker described Katz as really pushy and military-like. He said he sent Katz on a wild goose chase to find Barton. When Katz eventually located Barton, Barton returned the phone through a lawyer acquaintance, but only after Katz proved that he really worked for Google. According to Wired, which paid Barton a freelance fee for photos of the device, Google also offered the bartender a free phone in exchange for keeping quiet until after today's announcement.
Whether the loss of the phone was genuine, or Google was pulling a stunt in attempt to drum up publicity for the upcoming device, remains to be seen. If genuine, it goes to show Apple isn't the only one that's serious about keeping details of upcoming devices as quiet as possible.
Thanks to today's announcement, we know that the Nexus 4 packs a 4.7-inch 1280x768 IPS display (320 ppi), Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 8GB or 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera (1.3-megapixel camera up front), a 2,100mAh Li-Polymer battery, NFC, and Android 4.2. Unfortunately, the phone doesn't have support for 4G LTE, nor does it allow for external storage via MicroSD, which means you're stuck with the capacity you choose at check out. It launches next month starting at $299 for the off-contract 8GB model.