Consumers in the U.S. that missed out on getting a Google Nexus 4 smartphone at launch get a second chance on Tuesday. At noon PST, the “sold out” status for Nexus 4 phones in the Google Play store will change to “available.” Google provided a heads-up via email to those who registered for updates on the Nexus 4 saying the handsets would again be available for ordering, suggesting another production run added inventory of the phone.
For the money and without a contract — $299 for an 8 GB model or $349 with 16 GB of storage — I find the Nexus 4 to be an outstanding value. In my review, I noted that the hardware advances had me considering an upgrade from last year’s model and I typically upgrade with every other Nexus phone. The display is fantastic, the performance is top-notch and the camera is vastly improved. As a result, one would think Google would have anticipated solid sales and managed accordingly. Unfortunately, the phone launch was ill-handled to begin with.
Google never explained what time the Nexus 4 would be for sale on the initial launch day. As a result, many prospective buyers were hitting the Google Play store and repeatedly refreshing the page in frustration when greeted with a “coming soon” message. Once sales started, the order process crashed on some, leaving them out in the cold as others snapped up Google’s stock of the smartphone. Some who signed up for notification emails on the start of sales never received them.
In short, the Nexus 4 launch showed that Google still has room for improvement in a direct-to-consumer sales market via Google Play. With new smartphone stock available and notifications going out in advance — with a set time for orders to start — Google’s taking a step in the right direction to improve the shopping experience.