Google’s Nexus 4 has been on sale for three months, although one could argue that it has been on sale for a couple of weeks, since it wasn’t really available anywhere. For some reason, Google grossly underestimated demand for its latest vanilla Android phone, resulting in ridiculous shortages in every single market.
Android enthusiasts managed to work out that Google shipped just a million units in the first three months of sales, after four months in production. Using the device IMEI number, an XDA developer concluded that the 999,998th Nexus 4 sold in Turkey a few days ago, Techcrunch reports.
Based on previous estimates, using the same IMEI approach, it turns out that LG managed to build more than 550,000 units in January. However, production in December was 210,000 units, while October and November production figures are surprisingly low, 70,000 and 90,000 units respectively. Basically it took Google three months to ship and sell a million phones. Apple routinely accomplishes the same feat in under 24 hours after launch.
A couple of weeks ago Larry Page said that fixing Nexus supply problems is one of Google’s top priorities. Google doesn’t appear to be making much headway. The botched launch probably didn’t have much of a financial impact, as Nexus gear sells with very tight margins. However, the damage to Google’s reputation is another thing and it is not so easy to quantify.
Google and LG are still playing the blame game and shipments are still low. The fact that Google managed to underestimate demand in such a horrendous fashion is baffling, to say the least. However, it is nothing new in the Nexus world. The Nexus 7 was also in short supply for a while, although it eventually recovered, turning it into a nice little money maker for Asus. The Nexus 10, built by Samsung, wasn’t as lucky. It is still not available in most markets. Then again, Google is selling the Nexus 4 in just seven markets, three months after launch.
For some reason Google just can’t get things right when it comes to hardware. Google’s execution in web based services tends to be excellent, yet in the hardware space it is a nothing short of a joke. There might be some light at the end of the tunnel. Motorola’s Skunk Works are said to be working on a new Android flagship, the X-phone. It should be the first in a line of flagship Android devices and Motorola knows a thing or two about building and selling phones.