Most people were pretty caught off guard when Google announced some ridiculously low pricing for the Nexus 4. At $299/$349 in the U.S. and Canada, €299/€349 in Europe and £239/£279 in the U.K. with international availability at launch, it seemed like Google had done everything right this time around.
On November 13, the Google Play store page for the Nexus 4 will go live with shipping availability to the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Spain and Australia. For the countries not listed above, the pricing structure is a bit more up in the air. In its press release, Google notes that “offline availability” is coming to Europe, Central/South Americas, Asia, CIS and the Middle East starting at the end of November, but gives no pricing or retailer information.
We’re hearing different things from retailers and users around the world, and it looks like the pricing for countries outside of Google Play’s direct shipping reach will be paying a pretty penny. Retailers in Italy, Austria and Denmark have reported that LG’s direct MSRP (suggested pricing) will be much higher -- somewhere in the €549 to €599 range -- than Google’s. We're already seeing that a Spanish retailer Phone House (counterpart of Carphone Warehouse in the U.K.) has even pulled out of offering the Nexus 4 all together because the pricing direct from LG will be so much steeper than expected.
It should be noted that much of this is out of Google's control, as LG is the one selling the devices to these retailers. Google's ability to sell directly to specific countries also requires a whole host of regulatory approval and certification that just may not be possible in certain areas (at this time). It’s understandable that Google’s own offering would be much cheaper when considering that it can go straight to the consumer with no storefront and low overhead, but seeing this high of a premium put on the devices being sold with retail partners is a tough one to swallow.
Prices will inevitably drop once importers are able to get their hands on units in the countries served by Google Play, similar to what we saw with drops in prices of Galaxy Nexuses, but no one knows how long that will take. Hopefully things will clear up and pricing will become more than a rumor in the coming weeks.
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