Jan 15 AT 9:44 AM Nick Gray 72 Comments

LG denies Nexus 4 supply issues, claims updated Nexus rumors are unfounded


Buying a Nexus 4 from the Google Play store has been nearly impossible since the device first launched in early November. A while back, Google described the supply of Nexus 4 handsets from LG as “scarce and erratic,” but an LG company official spoke with South Korean newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, to set the record straight.

The LG official claims the “Nexus 4 has been produced without a hitch” and that “there is no problem in supply.” This leads us to believe that Google simply underestimated demand for the Nexus 4. The LG official also commented on the recent rumors that LG has halted Nexus 4 production to “focus on the development of its future offerings” saying that they were completely “unfounded.”

For now, it’s impossible to know if or when Google and LG will resolve the supply issues which have plagued the Nexus 4. If you’re still hoping to get your hands on the Nexus 4, your best bet will most likely be your local T-Mobile store.

Via: The Verge

Source: Chosun Ilbo

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

    I think we’d much prefer the scarce and erratic supply of the Nexus 4 answer, because if LG is correct, then demand for the Nexus 4 was underwhelming at ~400-500K units.

    • mustybooks

      Yeah it does seem like a ludicrously small number. Maybe Google wanted to limit the amount of subsidized devices it sold. Maybe LG are just telling fibs.

    • Alberto

      400-500K unit is ridiculous… they probably sell at least 2-3 millions of units if not more… thats why the nexus 4 has been sold out, it had a great interest from the public.

      For a factory like LG make just 400k units is too little and it would be ridiculous just to think on it. Google and LG would not tell us how many nexus 4 they sold.

      • redraider133

        read this and you will see it seems they have a pretty good idea how many they sold and is nowhere near even a million http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jan/03/google-nexus-4-phone-sales

        • aranea

          They would have sold more if the supply was there. What ever is made is sold. I bet if there were 1 million ready to be sold it would have been sold!

          • dbareis

            I’m still waiting for my chance to buy one :-(

          • Futureboy

            Agreed. If you have any hope of getting your product into the hands of the consumer and making a splash in the market, you HAVE TO MAKE THE PRODUCT AVAILABLE TO YOUR CONSUMER!
            It’s that simple.

            Consumer: I really want one. Can I buy one?
            Merchant: No. We’re out of stock.
            Consumer: Can I buy one now?
            Merchant: No.
            Consumer: Can I buy one now?
            Merchant: No.
            Consumer: When can I buy one?
            Merchant: (No answer)
            Consumer goes and buys something else.

            This is a HORRIBLE business model!

            And let’s not even get into accessories that appear 6 months after launch or not at all.

            The numbers in the linked article above are interesting but they’re not the whole story:

            October 70k units (pre-launch)
            November 90k units (pre?/post launch)
            December 210 units (post launch, the number doubles-perhaps too little too late)

            But you can’t go by the numbers alone…
            The article suggests that the launch of the Nexus 4 was underwhelming based on the activated IMEI numbers, but you can’t just the success of the launch in a case where not enough handsets were produced. If they only make 370,000 phones and a million people want to buy it, they’ve sold out of the product. The demand is still there, but the numbers will say it’s a failure (or moderate success) because they didn’t sell a million plus. So you have to put the numbers into perspective.

            Bottom line is, other manufactures/distributors put out handsets all the time without this kind of shortage fiasco. The big G needs to man-up and get some consulting firm to help them figure this out.

    • 5

      400k lol, iphone sold 400 miliions

    • Dags -

      How is that a measure of demand? In Australia at least, it’s been sold out since a few hours after launch. I believe it’s the same in many other countries. There could be millions of people like me who can’t order so the cumulative “demand” can’t be statistically measured.

      There could be some truth to the idea that Google is artificially restricting supply though. Why is the Nexus 10 from a complete different manufacturer having similar “supply” problems in many countries?

      • aranea

        It was sold out in less than half an hour in everywhere.

        Both 16 gb and 32 gb models ofNexus 10 are available on playstore now.

  • mustybooks

    I guess we still don’t know who’s fault this is. Probably both considering Google’s lack of direct sales experience and LG’s fear of it eating into it’s own sales amongst other things.

    I’m very happy with my nexus 4 I think it’s a great phone and a big step up from the Galaxy Nexus. But think of all the people who have been let down by these two companies.

    Once again I find myself saying, “I hope Google gets it right next time.”

    • iamXiV92a

      Dude, Google NEEDS to get this right. They’ve got a FANTASTIC plan in place by selling a stellar phone without the stupid contracts and lack of updates due to carrier politics.

      Hopefully, HOPEFULLY, and this is wishing upon wishing, they get this mess sorted out by the time the Nexus 5 (or whatever they name it) WITH accessories at the time of launch!
      *Still waiting on the wireless charging orb

      • Xallies

        Google isn’t trying to out sell Samsung with the Nexus brand. It is trying to get a phone out to developers at a cheap price not so much the main public.

        • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

          I disagree. I think that USED to be the case, but the Nexus brand has become less of a “developer phone” and is now a cheap, powerful phone intended to drive up marketshare. No, Google isn’t trying to outsell Samsung, but to say that they’re not interested in “Android Everywhere” is also untrue.

    • al

      Again the fear and lack of experience BS. Duh!! It’s about money!! Obviously the deal they had didn’t say anything about building millions of phones and LG is not about to waste its production line on doing that unless Google coughs up some serious dough. I see no fear there, just common sense on LG’s part and lack of common sense on Google.

  • Joel

    What a shame. So much profit loss over such a silly mistake.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      There’s actually very little profit loss here. The Nexus 4 is essentially being sold at cost. That means LG and Google are probably only making a few dollars with every device that sell. LG branded devices come with a hefty profit margin of $100 or more.

      • al

        Exactly. The profit loss would be to build more Nexus 4.

      • redraider133

        even the most expensive phones cost less than $200 to build so they are still making a decent amount of profit even on the 8gb versions.

      • Joel

        Hm thats a good point Nick I wasnt thinking about it like that. What I was trying to say was that so much more Nexus 4s could have been moved had they prepared better. Whenever I see someone with a nexus now I feel like im looking at a unicorn, I automatically go over and shake his/her hand lol.
        I wanted it to sell so much better, but now that its in stores I feel like its too late and ppl are already preparing for 2013 launches.

      • lars

        well then it just make NO sense. ford had this idea that a small amount of profit is ok as long as you do a lot, hence ford model-T etc. so if LG makes little profit it only stands to reason that they would crank out as many units as possible. anyway quoting future boy:
        Consumer: I really want one. Can I buy one?
        Merchant: No. We’re out of stock.
        Consumer: Can I buy one now?
        Merchant: No.
        Consumer: Can I buy one now?
        Merchant: No.
        Consumer: When can I buy one?
        Merchant: (No answer)
        Consumer goes and buys something else.
        that last line is the key here. i have said this before. Google OFFICIALLY DOES NOT WANT TO COMPETE WITH ITS HANDSET PARTNERS. and the nexus 4 floors every other handset at half the prize. google dident just compete, they down right made everyone else look bad, limiting the success of the nexus 4 but limiting the amount on the marked, to when everyone else can compete is the only solution. if HTC LG SAmsung etc. stoped making android OS powered devices google would loose out big. so to keep samsung and every body else happy they limit the nexus 4s success. its actually a tried and old business model.

    • Dustin Earley

      The more Nexus phones users get their hands on, the more money Google makes through ads. Who knows what other phones have been purchased because the Nexus 4 was unavailable. Unless Google is directly losing money on every Nexus sold, there has been missed profit on Google’s end.

      • lars

        Google måles just as much money on Samsung or any other hand set makkers Androidphone. Google uses nexus to promote Androids technical possibility. Not for profit. Google inadvetently floored every other handset on the market. Only way to make up fir that is to limmit supllies.

  • thebigwinner

    Google’s performance throughout this whole ordeal has just been pathetic. The launch day fiasco, the incessant lack of availability of the 4 or any accessories, and a remarkable lack of communication have really been irritating. As a fan, it’s rather disconcerting.

    • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

      Or you can also look at it this way: They dropped the ball because it was 10x’s more popular than they expected, which as a fan, you should be happy about!

      • thebigwinner

        If Google came out and said so, I’d agree. It’d be nice if Google came out and said anything. Instead nobody knows when more will be available for order- a week? 2 months? I’m a fan of Google, but that doesn’t mean they get a free pass every step of the way.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    I don’t think this was intentional. I think:

    1) LG and Google agreed on the rate which these devices will be made up-front.
    2) LG has honored that agreement and provided them at that agreed-upon rate.
    3) Google made an order for X phones and later adjusted that to Z.
    4) LG wasn’t able to make Z phones but was able to increase the number to Y.
    5) Lots of us still don’t have the phone that we wanted, mostly because Google and LG underestimated the demand for the Nexus 4, understandably so since the devices are essentially sold at-cost and no previous Nexus phone has been this hot.
    6) They could have sold twice as many Nexus 4 phones than what they did.
    7) Google would have MUCH rather sold twice as many of these phones than they actually did. Remember, this phone is essentially being sold at-cost, plus Google doesn’t really care about the phone sales – they want the users using their free and premium services! Demand for a Nexus phone really does very little to help them when their OS has an 85% market share.
    8) If these speculations are true, then this also explains why the Play store was so ill-equipped to handle the demand – it came in TONS harder than Google anticipated.

    tl;dr – it was just a purposely conservative but ultimately too-conservative estimate of demand, as also evidenced by the performance of the Play Store.

    Just my $0.02 worth.

    • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

      I think your assessment is spot on. If Google would have set a higher initial run rat for the Nexus 4, none of this would have happened.

    • al

      about 3/4/5: I’d say Google got a deal with LG and thought they could be pushy like Apple and pressure LG to build more whenever they wanted, at the same low cost. Which was obviously stupid, companies like LG/Samsung don’t work that way, LG got the publicity it wanted and it’s not going to waste its production line on a phone that doesn’t make profits. Now Google is being even more “evil” and blaming LG. LG, logically, is saying that everything is fine (read: we have an agreement we can’t talk about and we’re honouring the deal).

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        Other than Google getting pushy, that’s mostly what I said. ;-)

        Of course, in today’s society where everybody is obsessed with placing blame, Google is going to point the finger somewhere else and there’s not really anybody else involved other than LG. Ditto from LG’s perspective.

        Ultimately, they’re both probably telling their warped version of the truth.

        Google said, “There are supply issues from LG”, which means, “We ordered more from LG but they’re not coming in fast enough to make up for our mistake on estimated demand.”

        LG said, “There are no supply issues from us”, which means, “We gave Google the number they initially ordered. They ordered more and we’re giving them to them at the rate we told them we could.”

        I bet you’re exactly right in LG saying, “we have an agreement we can’t talk about and we’re honoring the deal”.

        In the end, Nexus 4 owner-wannabes lose because they can’t buy the phones, Google loses because they can’t sell the phones and are taking a PR blow, and LG loses because they can’t sell the phones and are taking a PR blow.

      • Futureboy

        So the consensus is that the phone is being sold at or around cost. That’s all well and good, but if, as you say, LG isn’t going to waste the production line on a phone that doesn’t make profits, then why not find the middle ground?

        The Nexus 4 is a steal at $299/$349. I nearly fell out of my chair when I first heard the official price. Now…at $349/$374 it’s still a great deal. Even if they sell a modest 500,000 units (given enough stock to support demand), that brings in $12.5 million profit. Certainly I don’t mind paying a $25 “awesomeness tax” to support the people putting out great, unlocked devices, especially when a chunk of that is re-invested in R&D, production, etc. to bring us even more awesome devices.

        • aranea

          It’s a good idea but I don’t think they can go ahead and increase the price after the launch. There will be an uproar as tech world doesn’t work that way.

        • Paul

          It’s in stock in New Zealand, it’s just that the cheapest one is US$630, US$670 in shops. (16Gb)

          • Johan

            720-800 USDs in Sweden.

    • aranea

      Great analysis.
      I’m going to visit home (in Turkey) soon and my cousin and friends asked for me to bring them smartphones. I would have loved to buy them Nexus 4s because I think it’s a great phone and I’m sure they’ll love it when they see it but it wasn’t available. So I had to concede their requests and get them iphones :(

      PS. I played with the iphone 5 I got and I have to say siri sucks. I’m not a native English speaker. I asked Siri “what is the weather like now?” and couldn’t answer me after several tries. Then I asked the same question to my Nexus 10 and no hitch. :)

    • rpras

      I agree with your points. The obvious solution for Google is to enlist Motorola for the new Nexus. Things stay in-house including adjustments to supply issues. This approach should also get rid of the “fear factor.”

      On the other hand, if (Motorola) Nexus 5 launch has similar problems this fall, we’d know who to blame.

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        Nah. The obvious solution, I think, is to simply make sure the agreement next time is “We want X units produced and, if necessary, an additional Z units within a month at B price per unit.” If both parties agree both to the initial number of units and what the possible tolerances are on adjustments, then it should be fine unless somebody still totally underestimates demand.

        No matter what, you can’t just tell a factory, “Make me 1000 of these but I want 5,000,000 more in a week if I ask for them.”

  • Max.Steel

    Absolutely pathetic release by Google. It’s almost like this phone doesn’t even exist. What a joke.

  • mario_1603

    Im still waiting for my nexus 4..

  • heat361

    I don’t know ho would believe that rumor anyway, the writer had no source.

  • inviolable

    I really feel bad for the people who were never able to get this phone. Nexus releases are something special for enthusiasts, and this entire episode has been a nightmare for everyone involved, including those of us who actually got orders in. The fact that I can’t order a simple bumper or this fancy charger they advertised themselves 2 months after the phone went on sale is just the rotten cherry on top. How they can claim no supply issues is beyond me. I suppose if they just aren’t that concerned with the demand, then they could look at it that way.

  • AndroidBoy

    It’s off course speculation, but when the guy from LG says: there are no problems with the production of the Nexus 4, it feels to me like that general from Iraq who said: there are no tanks in Baghdad!

  • alexanderharri3

    This is all a big game of he said she said, CEO said….ending up in a huge heap of demand for a phone with very little supply. Nexus devices are trickier because….well since the profit per device is so small, they really REALLY don’t want to leave any unsold – so they expected to be able to make-for-the-buyer type of production….but then the device was so good, at such a great price that everyone wanted one….and Google advertised well for this can’t-have-it device. End result is a big mess and public reluctance to ever buy nexus again.

  • jamal adam

    At this point both Google and LG need to come to terms and increase the phone production for the quarter. It’s been a roller coaster ride since the beginning and it’s really not changed but they need to work on it and they also need to step up their communication to customers. Hopefully this becomes an invaluable lesson for Google.

    • al

      Not going to happen. LG will not produce more than what they agreed to unless Google agrees to a higher price, thus subsidizing the phone or increasing its retail price.

  • af13

    I would like to at least be able to order one. I think people would be less frustrated if the play store were to tell us it’s going to be a 12 week wait instead of just “SOLD OUT” and no more info.

    • jazzman87

      I agree, but there is something even worse, having made the order and have no idea when are you going to receive the phone. Placed the order on December 15th, I am still in the dark…

      • af13

        You’re right. That is worse.

  • Co1e

    If I cant get this phone soon I may end up waiting for the Nexus 5 regardless. No company ever “comments on rumor or speculation” yada yada, but we all know how this game is played.

  • http://www.sonicboomstick.com Bryan

    Any word on the bumper case…

  • Kirk

    I was planning on the Nexus 4 being the phone that totally switched me from Apple to Android as I already have a Nexus 7. I ordered a T-Mobile sim card so I could try out their $30 unlimited no contract plan and was hoping to pop that in a Nexus 4 but it looks like I will have to soldier on with my iPhone 4. I hope the Playstore gets more stock soon because the price is too goid to pass up but if not, there are a lot of interesting phones headed our way in 2013.

  • captainkirkw

    Since T-Mobile is supposed to get more in stock, I wonder what that means for the Playstore? I sure hope they get it back in stock because I will snatch one up right away along with a lot of others it seems. The longer it stays sold out there though, the temptation grows for some of the new phones we all know will be arriving in a few months.

  • aranea

    I can understand phone being out of stock as it has more parts etc but how come the bumpers are out of stock too? That’s what I can’t understand! There should be plenty of them available with different colors too…

    • Al

      You’re not going to fix that minor issue when you have such a massive shortage of phones. First things first…

  • Mix

    I am glad I got mine but they really need to up production.

    I can’t even buy a damn case from Google….what the hell?

  • Hershell Tidwell

    I really wanted one, but at this point I am going to wait for the Sony Xperia Z. I have the Nexus 7, so I will have the pure Android I love and also can’t wait for the 7.9″ Galazy Note.

    Then again, if they replenish within the next month, I will would still buy one, granted it’s not a 5-6 week shipping period.

  • Adam Johnson

    I really hope Google works out it’s store issues before the next version of the Nexus 7. Demand will be even higher. They need to get this right.

  • captainkirkw

    If I do end up being able to get one, this will be he first electronic device that I have ever purchased without actually seeing or using in person first. I don’t know anyone in Austin personally who has one. Maybe we need a monthly Android get together like I do with my car club. Anyone in Austin interested in starting something like this? :)

  • OnIn2

    As a LG G2x owner, I wish I could say I was surprised.

    I told myself I’d never buy another LG cell again and it looks like I can’t even if I wanted to. I installed the Nexus Availability app a few weeks ago thinking OK, everyone on A&M likes the Nexus so I’ll buy one, but it’s just not available.

    Production ~has~ to be limited.

  • RRR

    I read here a lot of bullcrap that Nex4 “is sold at cost”. The BoM of any Apple or Sammy phone was always noticeably below $200 at the launch day rapidly getting below $100 in 6 months as novelty and wow factor instantly evaporates.
    Apple has huge margin around 60% from their iGear and Shamsung even more, so $300-350 is absolutely OK to get some not as crazy margins for little loser in the past like the LG was. At least it’s not a deadly balancing near the red loss line like with HTC



  • DavidDesu

    Well I’ve convinced myself I want to try out Android and the Nexus 4 is the only device I want to do it with… (coming from iPhone). I’m really hoping there’s some concrete news about their stock at some point soon as I’d love to buy it.

    It does smell fishy when places like Three shops have it in stock, no problem, but Google itself is completely out. I really hope it doesn’t signal the end of the great deal, as right now I can sell my iPhone 4S which basically pays for this phone outright, I can continue using my current contract until it expires in April then drop to a monthly rolling contract for half what I’m spending now. And with unlimited data which I don’t have now. This would be brilliant to me and besides missing Find My Friends and iMessaging my gf, I’m happy that Android and this phone will be fine and I won’t have major regrets leaving iOS. Don’t lose a sale Google, and the chance to maybe get someone to jump ship! (my iPad mini IS great and I’m sticking with that for gaming and general home use, but for my phone I want something a bit more personal)

  • rashad360

    This is really hurting the reputation of Google’s so-called flagship Nexus series. Shouldn’t Google be putting more resources behind making Nexus sales go as smooth as possible? And I still don’t understand why we aren’t getting clear answers about its availability.

  • paximos

    Have you noticed that you can see LG in GOO GLE?…They both suck

    • donger


  • Linda

    Im glad i got the iPhone 5 from Apple. They got the iPhone in stock. Always. Thats the difference between a world class company and a small company like goggle.


  • Rohan Sood

    Why isn’t anyone blaming Google for under-pricing the phone so much? If they had made it $50 more for both models from the start, people would still have been interested, and there probably wouldn’t have been production issues.

    Though anyway you look at it, Google needs to step up their game and answer to people. Now!

  • Danny Calderon

    I bought mine from T-Mobile today it’s an awesome phone, the gesture keyboard is just great

  • atmyside99

    I personally think that it was primarily the surge in interest that got this phone to sell out so fast. Nexuses were never big sellers, and then all of a sudden you have a big seller, Google was never great at predicting hardware sales. (Nexus 4, 10) Personally I hope the “X Phone” doesn’t have this supply issue as well.

  • Nathan D.

    Hopefully this will be straighten out soon

    • jamal adam

      Looking at an article by Android Central, it seems like Google’s sales forecast for the Nexus 4 were based on their previous Nexus sales. Also, “Robin [LG Mobile France director] claims that LG is ramping up production, and that by mid-February there should be “no more pressure” on the market.” That is still a month away but it looks like it will be straightened.

      Check it out here: goo.gl/NJvA9

  • ROB

    They are waiting for tmobile to turn on their LTE…then you can go to the store and buy one in person and get whatever support you need from them…