Google’s new Nexus 4 smartphone has been a hugely popular handset since making its debut back in November, but supply issues have somewhat spoiled what should have been a successful launch. When the handset is made available through Google Play, it doesn’t take long for stock to disappear again, and those who do get an order in on time are forced to wait weeks for their device to arrive.
Dan Cobley, managing director of Google U.K. & Ireland, says the “scarce” supplies from LG are “unacceptable.” He’s issued an “unreserved apology” to Nexus 4 customers, but says Google hopes to fulfill “pre-Christmas” delivery promises by sending out a new batch of handsets this week.
Customers who originally received a 3-5 day shipping estimate when placing their Nexus 4 orders will receive a refund for shipping, Cobley said, and their orders are “now in process for fulfillment.” Those who received a “pre-Christmas” shipping estimate should — hopefully! — have their handsets sent out this week.
Cobley’s full statement reads:
I know that what you are going through is unacceptable and we are all working through the nights and weekends to resolve this issue. Supplies from the manufacturer are scarce, and our communication has been flawed. I can offer an unreserved apology for our service and communication failures in this process.
For those that originally received a 3-5 days shipping estimate, your orders are now in process for fulfillment. You can expect an email notification early this week which will include tracking information. Although you will be initially charged in full, you will receive a credit for the shipping charge soon after.
For others that received pre-Christmas shipping estimates, we anticipate processing your orders for fulfillment this week.
I realise that the people who ordered the Nexus 4 so early are among our most committed and loyal users and we are doing all we can to put things right.
Of course, this is great news for a large portion of Nexus 4 customers, specifically those mentioned by Cobley above. But what if you didn’t get a “pre-Christmas” delivery estimate, or you’re yet to make your Nexus 4 order altogether?
Well, the situation doesn’t look promising at the moment. Cobley’s statement confirms that supplies from LG are “scarce,” so it seems there’s little Google can do right now to improve that situation — it’s all down to LG. Supplies will improve as demand dies down, of course, but that shows no signs of happening anytime soon; stock continues to vanish within a matter of hours when going live on Google Play.
Part of the problem may be that Google and LG didn’t expect this level of demand. In the past, Nexus devices have been mostly aimed at diehard Android fans who want a barebones experience — free from third-party tweaks and user interfaces applied by the likes of Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and just about every other Android smartphone vendor.
However, Google’s decision to price the Nexus 4 so low has made it a very popular device — despite its lack of LTE and the lengthy wait for delivery.