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Summary:

Tired of seeing that “sold out” note on the Google Nexus 4 purchase page? You may not see it for much longer according to LG, which is ramping up production of the Android smartphone.

Google Nexus 4 by LG

Consumers tired of the “sold out” message for Google’s Nexus 4 shouldn’t see it for too much longer: LG is boosting production of the unlocked, no-contract Android smartphone. In an interview with Challenges, Cathy Robin, LG’s director of LG Mobile France, stated that the company is working to bring more handsets to market, noting that it takes about six weeks to ramp up production.

Nexus 4 in handThere’s been much finger pointing between Google and LG on the limited Nexus 4 stock and according to Robin, Google simply didn’t anticipate the high demand. She says that in the U.K. and Germany, demand was 10 times higher than Google expected and that LG will build as many phones as Google requests.

It’s not actually that surprising to me that Google would be unsure of how many phones to build. The company simply doesn’t have the amount of hardware experience that Apple, Samsung and other top-tier hardware vendors have. But at $299 to $349 for the phone, depending on storage capacity, Google really should have known this would be a hot seller. I reviewed the device and found it to be superb, with modern-day hardware plus the benefit of always running the latest version of Android.

Regardless of who’s to blame or where you live, it sounds like the stock of Nexus 4 handsets should be rising by mid-February. The next question is: Will that even be enough to meet demand or will the smartphone see shortages again soon after that?

  1. A press release 10 weeks after a disastrous launch, promising to boost production in a few more weeks, deserves more critical analysis before publication. Or it’s free promotion and a nearly free pass for both Google and LG.

    They underestimated demand? OK, it happens, but to then be effectively out of stock for 10 weeks? What are LG’s production lead times? What else is going on here? Has the Optimus G, which uses many of the same components but brings in a much higher margin, been similarly supply-constrained?

    And how about Google? Why did they ship some units within days, when customers in the same region who’d ordered weeks prior had to wait? How can they not ship even the peripherals when they launch the Nexus 4 (bumper), Nexus 7 (dock) and Nexus 10 (flip cover, Pogo charger). Who was in charge of Google’s hardware sales in November? Are they still in charge?

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  2. While we’re touching the subject of the Play Store’s hardware sales, how can Samsung’s Chromebook be out of stock for 8-10 weeks?

    Something is off here. It smells like relationship problems and persistent incompetence (which can easily go hand in hand) in Google’s retail operations.

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  3. eric perlberg Monday, January 21, 2013

    Did anybody mention any concrete numbers so we know how to interpret the vague descriptors of demand.?

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    1. No and I don’t think either company would. Sales figures are hard enough to come by these days; production figures even less so.

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  4. Samsung, Amazon, and Google never report actual number’s sold, and it is reflected in their quarterly earning reports.

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  5. There may be a mistranslation here. I think Cathy Robin said that Google’s sales estimates were 10 times higher for the UK and Germany than for France, not that Google underestimated demand by a factor of ten,

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  6. given up waiting, off to find something else

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  7. Why doesn’t Google take preorders? I would be willing to place a deposit to preorder my phone. That should help them get an estimate on demand.

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    1. Preorders are generally frowned upon due to the illegal/deceptive actions/practises of some other companies.
      Google did do what you have suggested in a roundabout way, they took expressions of interest by email, and said they would get back to people. So they DID know in advance what demand was.

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  8. Its a solid phone at a good price and it does Android OS right and keeps it up to date w/o the crapware.

    This is really Google’s first best seller and so I can give them some slack as not knowing what demand would really be. Now next year if they have the same problems with an updated one, then you start to wonder.

    Quite frankly I have no idea why a tech savy person would buy an iPhone over a Nexus 4 compared to the cost and OS unless you are just entrenched in Apple’s walled garden (as many are).

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