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Nexus 4 Launch Mess Ends Four Months Later



In October of last year, LG and Google announced the new Nexus 4, a new Nexus smartphone to replace the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Unlike the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4 would become available immediately on the Google Play Store. But as consumers would soon find out. the Nexus 4 launch would become a complete mess and one that wouldn’t totally get cleaned up until just recently.

Read: Nexus 4 Design Gets Small, Smarter Changes.

The Nexus 4 followed in the footsteps of some of the most popular Android devices to date. Names like the Nexus One, the Nexus S and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. However, unlike the previous Nexus, the Nexus 4 was announced without 4G LTE, without any carriers other than T-Mobile, and without any physical presence in retail locations. These contributed to a bundle of skepticism before the launch and also a perceived lack of excitement. But boy, was that analysis wrong.

Google and T-Mobile put the Nexus 4 up for sale in the middle of November, and while the Nexus 4 may not have had the anticipation of the previous Nexus smartphones, as it turns out, it was extremely sought after, so much so, that Google’s launch crumbled.

The Mess

Almost immediately after the Nexus 4 arrived, Google’s Play Store fumbled under a heavy load of traffic. It was clear that it was going to be a long day. Within hours of selling out, the Nexus 4 became temporarily sold out through the Google Play Store and through T-Mobile. Users complained about website issues, some even saw their orders pushed to the second batch. Google customer service representatives were unhelpful. And in attempt to clear things up, Google pronounced that it would have more stock in two weeks time. Which it did. For only a couple of hours.

Two weeks later, the Nexus 4 8GB and Nexus 16GB made their triumphant return to the Google Play Store only to sell out again within just a few hours. Only this time, instead of posting a sold out sign, Google allows the shipping dates to get longer and longer and longer until finally, after several days, the company pulled the cord in late December.

At this point, the Nexus 4 launch couldn’t have been any messier. The Nexus 4 was completely sold out. Those who placed orders have no idea when they might get their phone. And Google and LG wouldn’t say when the device would come back into stock, instead, using the press to blame each other for the supply issues.

To make matters worse, one of the crucial Nexus 4 accessories, the bumper case which is used to protect the device’s delicate glass, was also extremely difficult to find as it was sold out through Google Play. The LG Wireless Charging Orb that we saw announced with the Nexus 4 remained unannounced with Google refusing to divulge details.

The Cleanup

Finally, many weeks later, LG confirmed that it would be targeting February to get things on track as far as the Nexus 4 was concerned. There were whispers that the company had ramped up production in order to meet the demand that had caused the phone to sell out not only through the Google Play Store, but through T-Mobile as well, forcing consumers to look to more expensive outlets like Craigslist.

The Nexus 4 Wireless Charging Orb didn't arrive until February.

The Nexus 4 Wireless Charging Orb didn’t arrive until February.

In late January, the Nexus 4 finally came back into stock at the U.S. version of the Play Store, alongside the bumper case. And instead of obscene shipping times, it was listed at shipping out in just a few weeks time. Over the next few weeks, those dates would shift up and down but were never under one to two weeks. The bumper case? Well it sold out almost immediately. Again.

February also marked the arrival of the highly anticipated Wireless Charger Orb for the Nexus 4. When it arrived though, there was a small limit on how many customers could order, a sign that Google wanted to avoid further supply issues.

March is November

Now, four months later, the Nexus 4 launch has finally been cleaned up, completely. The Nexus 4 has seen its shipping times whittled down from a specific date to just three to five days. Google Play Stores across the planet are now fully stocked. T-Mobile is now fully in-stock as are retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. We’ve seen the Nexus 4 bumper case come back into stock just a short time ago and remain there. And the Nexus 4 Wireless Charging Orb can now be ordered 10 at a time if need be.

Even the Nexus 4 itself has received a new, improved redesign that adds some nubs to the bottom of the Nexus 4 in order to help protect the phone against damage.

The Nexus 4 launch mess has finally been cleaned up.

The Nexus 4 launch mess has finally been cleaned up.

This month marks the first time that the Nexus 4 and its accessories have been easily to obtain at their appropriate price points.

In other words, March is what November should have been for the Nexus 4.



  1. Ralph Zeleznik

    03/29/2013 at 4:38 am

    It’s still only available in certain countries. You have to jump through hoops to get one delivered to Ireland, for example.

  2. Charlie Callow

    03/29/2013 at 5:53 am

    Still no charging orb outside the US though sadly.

  3. Chaco

    03/29/2013 at 7:58 am

    Anyone with a N4 like me knows that the problem is the fully flat surface scratching towards the top of the back and not the bottom. those nubs should be also on the top. This is what caused my back to scratch to hell before the bumper was even available for sale.

  4. windoze phones suck

    03/29/2013 at 3:58 pm

    You really should have someone read over these articles before they get posted… Grammatical errors look really unprofessional, I’m not a grammar Nazi but when it comes to stuff people are paid to produce I can’t help it, I’ll offer my services just pay me through PayPal

  5. Camilo

    03/30/2013 at 11:27 am

    I have had to return two of these wireless chargers. The problem I am having is that after about 5 minutes my N4 slips off the ORB ending the charge. I am wondering if anyone else is having a similar problem.

    • Jacob Potter

      03/31/2013 at 3:28 pm

      The charging orb is a disaster. The phone keeps sliding off it, and when does stick, after several hours the phone and charger are hot! About 120f degrees. I just wonder what is happening to phone with all this heat.

    • Jacob Potter

      03/31/2013 at 3:32 pm

      I had some success by wiping the back of the N4 and the surface of the orb with 70% Isopropyl Alchohol. It won’t slide for a few days, but then starts again. I had the original Palm with the Palm charging orb and NEVER had trouble. This LG orb is crap.

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