Google's Nexus 4: The Android Phone of Our Dreams?

Hurricane Sandy may have put a damper on Google's big event today, but the long-rumored (and leaked, and found in a bar) Nexus 4 has finally, officially broken cover. As predicted, this thing looks like it might be the best Android phone yet.

The Nexus 4 is made by LG (in collaboration with Google) and basically a rebranded Optimus G. That's welcome news; the Optimus G is almost certainly the fastest phone we've ever used, but was hampered by some sub-par software that will be remedied with stock Android 4.2. And while the Optimus G was a very linear—and sometimes uncomfortable—rectangle, the Nexus 4 is nicely rounded. Better!

Wanna talk specs? The Nexus 4 packs a blistering quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, 8GB storage, a lovely 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 display, and an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera. There are two storage sizes, 8GB and 16GB. The Nexus 4 will also support wireless charging out of the box; good timing, given that Google just Google partnered with Starbucks and others to help bring wireless charging mainstream.

The Nexus 4 is also the first phone to run Android 4.2 (still called Jelly Bean). Some of the banner new features include PhotoSphere, which allows you to create a fully immersive, interactive photo, and Gesture Typing (which sounds very similar to sliding-keyboards like Swype), which allows you to slide between letters to form words. Android 4.2 also adds support for Miracast wireless displays, so you can beam your photos, videos, and games to an HDTV. Hope it works better than HTC's unusable solution.

Google Now has also been improved, adding flight information, restaurant reservations, hotel confirmations and shipping details. The location-savvy feature was already pretty good in 4.1, and these are all welcome enhancements.

In the U.S. the 16GB version will be available exclusively on T-Mobile for $200 with a two-year contract. You can get unlocked versions of the phone for $300/8GB and $350/16GB. Unfortunately, this means there's no LTE on board, which is a major disappointment. The unlocked version will be available on November 13th from the Google Play store in U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Canada. The T-Mobile version will be available via Google Play on 10/29 11/13 and in select T-Mobile retail stores and online starting 11/14.

It certainly seems like the Nexus 4 just grabbed the Android phone crown; we can't wait to play with it to find out for sure. [Google]