Android Central

Getting hold of an LG Nexus 4 through Google's official device store hasn't been an easy task. It's been two months since release day, and throughout most of that time the device has been either sold out or on back-order. It's safe to say that the Google Play buying experience has been less than ideal for many.

Before the holidays Google UK boss Dan Cobley blamed "scarce and erratic" Nexus 4 supplies for some of the issues faced by would-be Nexus buyers. However if recent quotes from LG officials in the Korean press are to be believed, the issues don't lie in the manufacturing or supply side. Korean news outlet Chosun Ilbo quotes LG officials as saying the company has "no problems" supplying Nexus 4s through its Pyeongtaek manufacturing plant.

The quoted officials also took the opportunity to dismiss some of the crazier Nexus 4 rumors to have surfaced in recent days, including unsubstantiated reports that LG had scaled back or stopped N4 production in favor of a new, spicier Nexus. These rumors were described as "unfounded."

Whatever's actually going on between LG and Google, the Nexus 4 is available to buy through other sources, including carriers like O2 and Three in the UK and T-Mobile in the States. So any issues are preventing more Play Store stock from arriving don't seem to be affecting wider supplies of the handset. In any case, with more back-ordered Nexus 4s arriving every day, our fingers are firmly crossed for a fresh influx of Play Store stock in the near future.

Source: Chosun Ilbo (Korean); via: The Verge

 

Reader comments

LG Korea: No problems with Nexus 4 supply

77 Comments

Waited from Dec 3 to Jan 4th only to receive a defective unit. Returned unit and reordered Jan 4. Receipt said shipping in less than a week. 11 days later Google rep replied to an email saying 3 to 4 more weeks.

Had enough of this game.

When I warrentied out my initial Nexus, ordered the first day they went for sale, it took a solid month to get the warranty replacement. Luckily my original unit was fine (I warrantied because the headphone port was ridiculously quiet - turns out that's just how they are).

The entire time I waited for the warranty replacement, there was a $350 hold on my card. Not cool.

Wow that sucks. I was lucky enough to get a good working unit. It's the best of the 3 Android phones I've owned but if I were still trying to get one I'd be very frustrated too.

You weren't "lucky." Getting a well functioning device is what the vast majority of Nexus 4 buyers (including me) received. He is UNLUCKY. If I were him, I wouldn't buy from Google again.

That's why I don't buy from the play store, if I want to have it I go to the store, otherwise I don't need it.

+9000 ^^^THIS^^^ I hate playing the ordering game. I would rather just do Craigslist or go to the store than order and have to wait. I have very little patience lol. As soon as I would place orders on Amazon, I would stalk the shipment page until I had the item in my hand. The premium for getting something the same day is worth it, in my opinion.

Picking LG to make the Nexus was a mistake from the beginning. LG makes shit phones. Yes I have the Nexus 4 and I love it but it never really "WOWed" me when I received it. We need HTC again. Motorola would have been a better pick also. There just hasn't been a better Nexus to this day since the Nexus One.

htc seems to have pretty good industrial design, and it seems like they will be utilizing aluminum now (like in the One S i think). i always find moto phones to be ugly tbh. sony, anyone?

Thank you! thats what I have been saying in the forums. LG is a "meeh" phone maker. LG is just greedy. They saw how the N4 sold out in play store and decided that they were going to make a killing from that.
This was the one chance for LG to promote its name but they botched it up!!!!
Google should never let LG make another nexus device. Or a dock. Or a cover. Nothing Nexus, PERIOD!!!!

Are you serious? The Nexus One had an air gap between the display and the glass. The Nexus One had a penTile AMOLED display- not Super AMOLED, crap AMOLED. The battery life was horrendous- even for the time. The Nexus One had 190 MEGSof internal storage for apps. If you tried to put a serious game or app like Google Earth on there even with apps2sd you couldn't do it. Yes the build quality was great, but the trackball was ugly. My Nexus 4 blows away every HTC phone I've ever had including my crap G1, my Sensation 4G and my Nexus One in build quality. Swipe your fingers across the N4 and then do the same with any other phone on the market. My 10 year old daughter regularly asks me to use my phone just so she can run her fingers across the curved glass.

You're letting your hatred of LG blind you.

The only problem with the Nexus 4 is that Google underestimated demand. And that's it.

Well, and it needs an SD card slot :)

Comparing the N4 to the G1 is like comparing the Wii to the Atari.

The G1 was ahead of its time at the time it was released. The N4 isn't necessarily the best phone now. All it needs is...LTE, which should be a standard on phones released now...

"All it needs is...LTE, which should be a standard on phones released now..."

You're right; LTE should be a standard. And, in the future, it will be. However, at this point in the game, we all realize why it doesn't have LTE.

"The N4 isn't necessarily the best phone now."

It was never meant to be the best phone. If so, it would cost a lot more than $300-$350, don't you think?

I'm sorry but this phone while very pretty is NOT the best phone out. Manufacturer UI's a side, there are way to many phones I'd rather have. Google did great with the price but its 2013, to much is missing.

-Storage 8Gb or 16GB no external.
-SHIT CAMERA! really Google WTF.
-No LTE, yes I do realize ban 4 is there.
-2100Mah battery, hello the technology exist where we can have thin big batteries.
-Glass more fragile than the iPhone.

Again, I like my Nexus 4. I love Nexus phones period but come on.

You get what you pay for lol. If you want an $800 phone, you gotta save some more scratch. For the price, the Nexus 4 is a very capable phone. And FYI, if you love the phone, then your little grocery list of cons was a waste of time =P

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus sold in the millions, and LG thinks less than Half a million is acceptable? I predicted months ago that LG put the Nexus on Hold so they could produce more of "their" phones and didn't have the manufacturing capabilities of Moto, Samsung, and HTC. Sucks to be right in this instance.

Everyone was shocked Google only chose LG to do a Nexus phone and people were right to be shocked. At this rate they will have only made 900 k units by the time the New Nexus phone comes out in 4 more months. And the GNex probably sold more than the Note. Moto, HTC or Samsung better get the next Nexus phone, and/or all three should produce a Nexus phone IMO. I'd prefer multiple manufacturers producing one nexus phone a year instead of just one.

Well google passed them thei ball and LG drops it. They can't whine anymore when they fade from this market.

I liked the GN, but hate Samsung. First one and a defective wifi antenna within 10days of purchase, board replaced and all.

Then the same phone eventually had a broken headphone jack, and the tech didn't fix it - retested when I pick up and it fails.

I was hoping up switch from one xl to N4. LTE was just eating way too much battery life. But this utter lack of supply is ridiculous.

I'd be happy with a HTC or moto nexus.

My contract is up soon, i wanted to cancel it buy a nexus and go with giff gaff but i don't think it's going to happen.

It's called a custom ROM (CM10, AOKP, Paranoid Android, etc.). I've had CM 10 on my EVO LTE before, and it's good. I just prefer Sense 4+ for my own reasons.

Sounds to me like Google is only ordering them from LG when they get an order for the phone. They are not stocking up, so they are not left with excess inventory.

But I agree, the next Nexus needs to come from HTC.

So how do you explain away that Google is not even taking orders? That should be interesting :-)

So 1 of 2 things is happening... Either Google is absolutely terrible at this game of selling hardware, or LG just isn't putting enough effort in to making them. Is the standard Optimus G having the same shipping and stock issues?

Google is not a fulfillment company but doesn't realize it. It's not an excuse. They should have learned from the first time that they failed at this. They should have either fixed it or hired a company to fix it for them.

My attention has moved on from the Nexus 4. The rumored Motorola X-Phone from Google has me intrigued. I wonder if Google will brand it as a Nexus?

Just imagine. A phone with a beautiful screen, with battery life of a Droid Maxx, with the fantastic radios of a typical Motorola phone, and some other still-secret feature(s), all running vanilla Android....

I'd actually prefer it if the device were based on the Razr M/i. I hate the design on the Maxx HD. It just feels wrong to me.

All we can do is theorize. As far as the buying experience with the Play store goes, I had no problems at all when I ordered my Galaxy Nexus. It arrived within a few days and had no issues.

So Google has proven that they can sell devices through the Play store in a timely manner, as far as their own systems go. That leads me to believe that the supply issue lies with LG, despite what they say to the contrary.

I see no reason for Google to sit on potential sales, unless they've struck some back-alley drug deal with the carriers to limit Play store supply in the carriers' favor. But that wouldn't make any sense, considering Google's price positioning of the Nexus line.

Doesn't really matter to me at this point. I don't have a dog in this race, since I'm not buying a Nexus 4. I do hope, however, that whatever this issue is they fix it before they release their next Nexus device. I may be skipping this generation, but I'm not likely to skip the next.

> I see no reason for Google to sit on potential sales

There actually is a reason they may want to limit sales of Nexus devices -- Google subsidizes them, which is why they're so cheap, when you buy them from Google. I would assume that they just sell them at wholesale price (electronics usually have a huge markup), but it's possible they're actually losing money on every sale. Google has made it clear in the past that they're willing to do that (and make the money back in advertising money from all of the new Android/Google users), but if this is an experiment, they may want to see how it goes before getting in too deep.

Of course, it could also be that Google and LG weren't expecting the demand, in which case we should see the supply issues clear up within a month or two. It doesn't explain why the Galaxy Nexus didn't have supply issues and this one day. I find it hard to believe that the demand is that much different, since they're basically identical, both visually and in terms of specs.

You bring up a valid possibility, but if that were true, wouldn't Google have done the same holding back with the Galaxy Nexus when they dropped the price of it? I would think the demand would have sky-rocketed with the price drop.

Subsidy or not, I really don't think it's all Google with regard to the shortage. As you mention in your second paragraph, I would think that unexpected demand would be more a possibility, but I don't think that LG does as good a job of ramping up production as Samsung--hence the shortages of the LG Nexus.

Anyway, it's all speculation.

People need to stop using this "they're probably LOOSING money on every sale" line. I've heard it about the Nook tablets, Amazon's Kindle, now the Nexus 4. Virtually **NO** company sells something at a direct loss.

Carrier subsidize *part* of the cost of a phone, but make that back through contractually obligatory monthly service charges. By selling the phone unlocked and outright, Google isn't subsidizing anything.

What's probably far more likely is that it simply doesn't cost much to manufacture a phone these days. Compare what you can get in a full notebook computer for $600 to $700. There's simply no way a 4.5 inch screen phone with 8 gigs of memory costs the same to make.

It amazes me the logical contortions people go through to continue to believe smart phones should remain the price they are. Had people thought the same about the PC industry, we'd still be paying $1200 for quad-speed CD drives.

This is just ridiculous. People can make all the excuses they want but you dont release a high demand product at a low demand price and then short the supply. Its bad....no its TERRIBLE business. Especially in a cell phone world where after something has been out on the market for 3 months you now start wondering if waiting for the "next" one is a better idea. Nintendo could pull it off with the Wii because it drove demand and it wasn't going to be superseded in 12 months. I don't know who's to blame, Google or LG but they both need to stop pointing fingers and get it together. On top of it all it only looks like the sold a little over 400K of these damn things so its not like they are moving a million units a month.

Chosun Ilbo is like the worst Korean news source you could cite. This coming from a native Korean speaker. I'll probably get reading tonight if I have time.

Like someone else said above, I think Google is waiting 'til they get so many orders then send the order to LG and not stocking up. Not good.

If that was the case, you'd expect them to allow people to actually place orders. You can't---all you get is "Out of stock". You cannot order the Nexus 10, either.

I think Google doesn't really want to make these devices, except as limited-run technology showpieces. Hardware, and especially Nexus hardware where you have support obligations, physical costs, etc, is not their thing. Remember that, to Google, their product is your data. Not search, not services. Google's record on delivering products and services is, well, kind of spotty.

This is very different from Apple, who sells hardware and (to a lesser degree) services: their existence is predicated on getting hardware into people's hands rather than scraping data on users. It's even different from Samsung or other OEMs, who are in turn, trying to move actual metal, or Microsoft, who sells software. In all those cases, the end-user of the product is the customer.

In Google's case, they don't really care if you use a Nexus 4 or a Galaxy S3---in fact, they'd probably rather you buy the S3 and go bug Samsung---they still get to sell you.

^^^^^ ding ding ding, please no more calls we have a winner. It's clear at this point that Google never really wanted to sell more than X number of these devices. If they can't get their fecal material together in the approximately 2 months since the Nexus 4 went on sale, then it's clear Google never really intended this to be a commonly available item.

The Optimus G and Nexus 4 are 99 % identical - Does anyone know if they have the same supply problem with the Optimus G?

Yep, Google is doing with the Nexus 4 what Sony did with the PS2 years ago, when they artificially limited supply to create demand.

It's smart, because it makes it seem like it's more popular than it is and people keep talking about it.

If that were the case, I don't know why google would be going after LG in the press by claiming the supply chain was "scarce and erratic."

That said, LG is not new to mass-producing electronic devices, so I find it unlikely that they are having a hard time keeping up with supply.

Something weird is going on here because neither side is saying things that make any sense. I hope that the problems are resolved quickly and we don't have to think about it again. I was planning to buy a Nexus 4 around February with the thinking that they would be easy to purchase by then. Now I'm not so sure.

Nah. I doubt it.
It's terrible PR for both Google and LG. They're getting plenty of hate and claims of being incompetent out of this.
And people are giving up waiting and buying something else. Unlike a Wii, for example, there are alternatives.

There's no real way of knowing the issue wouldn't be the same with any other manufacture. Maybe it's LGs fault, it probably is because they probably thought it would drive Optimus G sales which it likely hasn't.

In the end, if Google can't deliver their hardware to people they should probably not bother making it. They should take pre orders next time, get an idea of how many they need to make.

Perhaps Google doesn't want to lose that much money. Has anyone like iSupply estimated the cost of building the Nexus 4? How much is Google losing on each sale?

Personally, I think the whole $600-$800 MSRP on smartphones is a manufacturer/carrier generated phenomenom, given the fact that a iPad or premium Android tablet costs $400-$500 despite having much more hardware (and just missing the cell radio).

But how much is LG selling the Nexus 4 to Google wholesale? If Google is losing $100-$200 on each device, this may be the reason why they are in no hurry to sell tons of them. It seems like the Nexus 4 was meant only as a statement for the concept of cheap, unlocked and new high-ends smartphones. But I think Google hasn't committed 100% to this because they also seem to be limiting their losses. The rumor is that only 400,000 have been sold. This sounds like it is way under the manufacturing capacity of a huge company like LG.

Google did something similar with the Nexus 7 but remember, Google was losing money ONLY on the 8GB Nexus 7, but was actually making money on the original 16GB version. So they made up the difference a bit. Unless they managed to pressure a great deal from LG on the wholesale price of the Nexus 4, I doubt they have that luxury with the Nexus 4.

Electronics are usually sold at several times their manufacturing cost, so selling it $500 cheaper than everyone else isn't particularly surprising. If they are losing money on each sale, I'd guess it would only be a couple dollars -- something they can make up easily with a couple app store sales. The price difference on memory chips is also tiny, so I would be very surprised if they were losing money on the 16 GB version.

What's strange about this is that the Nexus 7 did have supply issues, but it was resolved *very* quickly, and the 16 GB version was in stock most of the time. Maybe ASUS was able to ramp up production faster than LG?

Apple is the only company that is making a lot of money on these devices. No company is making hundreds of dollars profit on these phones. There is too much competition. We would see undercutting going on all the time, especially by Samsung if this was the case.

Do the math. If Google is losing even $100 on each Nexus 4 sale, assuming 400,000 units sold, it is losing $40 Million. If it loses $200 on each sale, it's losing $80 Million.

That's quite an expensive promotion for Android and unlocked phones.

i think its possible that they could be loosing a little bit on the 8GB, but are most likely making a small profit on the 16GB. no way in hell they are losing $100-$200 per phone i dont buy that

in my thinking, Google and LG fail in marketing Nexus 4 with very reasonable price, but customers cannot get one with this price ??? FAIL !!!

In Vietnam, official Nexus 4 costs 11.500.000VND (~560usd), comparing to Galaxy S3 (~600 USD), HTC one X+ (630USD) and Iphone 5 (700 USD)

not price competitive anymore haha !!

I agree! Anyway who says this is the official price?- am pretty sure that this allows a markup of at least $140 (exc shipping) for dealers. Profit margins in Vietnam are just too high on these (perceived) high end phones. Vietnam dealers will not be able to sustain this artificially high price for the Nexus 4 long as soon as it becomes more readily available. The really strange thing is that here in Vietnam you can walk into a shop and buy the N4 over the counter- no supply problems here! As long as you don't mind paying the premium price of 11,500,000VND ($550). I agree with other posts that Google put this phone out as a limited edition showpiece and had no real intention of producing large numbers at this price. So what will Google's next move be???

I smell bullshit on this one. LG doesn't want the phone cutting into the sales of their higher end phones, so they get more of them to the parties that sell them for higher prices. Previous Nexus devices didn't have this problem to this extent, and even other current ones like the N10 dont have this problem.

I was really hoping this would be solved when I switched carriers in March... at the current rate, I'm not counting on it anymore.

Stay away from anything LG people. This piece of shit company doesn't deserve your money or business.
Fuckp up business practice

Stay away from anything Google people. This piece of shit company doesn't deserve your money or business.
Fuckp up business practice

My argument is just as valid as yours based on what we know.

If I don't get my Nexus 4 in one week, I'm going to start a twitter trend.

'Cut for Nexus'

One for every day LG and Google piss me off.

LOL

Having those who ordered to wait 7 - 8 weeks is not called "normal" LG. It also doesn't help prospective buyers either.

There is a shortage of Nexus 4 units in Google Play but not outside if you are willing to pay a premium. I saw some for sale at an LG reseller in Hong Kong for $529US. It seems that Google is heavily subsidizing the cost of these phones. Maybe the shortage is due to LG preferring to sell these units outside of Google to make better profits.

Correct! Here is Vietnam no shortage of 16Gb N4's but you have to pay the equivalent of $550 for the privilege- almost the same as an S3.

For what its worth here are my two cents. For those of you bashing LG, I have to say this is the best looking and performing Nexus yet. So some of us are unhappy with the headphone volume. My answer to that is, this isn't an ipod, or old school walkman. I think you all forget, the base purpose for any smartphone is that its a "phone". Yes by all counts smartphones are mini tablets. But keep in mind, their sole purpose is still voice communication. You can complain all you want about build quality this or that, but to me this N4 is a beautiful phone. Curved front glass, textured sides, shimmering glass back, all scream high quality to me. Lets also not forget that this thing actually has Gorilla glass, something not even the GNex had. Its fast, unlocked, and at a very resonable price point. Those last statements are enough to sell this thing out! Is there an underlying Google conspiracy, maybe, maybe not. Does the fact that you can't buy a brand new tricked out mustang at your local ford dealer mean they didn't make enough at the factory... probably not. Don't be so quick to judge. If you don't want to wait do like i did and pay some ebay jockey a hundred or so more and get the phone now. I'm not discounting anyones feelings about having to wait, I'm just saying if you feel you have waited too long, or can't wait any longer, do something about it. Cancel your order or pay more and purchase by other means. Good luck everyone, I've only had this phone for a week and I already love it.

I love the whole Nexus concept and really wanted to support it- its independence and free expression. I have owned a Google Nexus for a few years now and still love it! Even after all this time its a great phone and a beautiful display. This was to be my big update from Nexus S to Nexus 4. Went home this Christmas to the UK hoping to be able to buy it- hahahahahahha- no such luck! Stumped here back in Vietnam (working here) where I have to pay $550 for it! Guess I will stick with my Nexus S for a year or two more! Ho-hum......