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3 Possible Explanations for the Global Nexus 4 Shortage

Steven Blum
6

Today we heard that even customers who were able to purchase a Nexus 4 device directly from the Google Play Store received an e-mail stating that they'll have to wait up to three weeks for their device to be shipped. Google said the delay is caused by "overwhelming demand" for the new product.

But lots of people are wondering: what is the real story? Why was Google so unprepared for this product launch and why have so few customers received the Nexus 4 they ordered? Here are a few theories..

Scarcity Creates Value

Google may have intentionally ordered too few Nexus 4 devices to give people the impression that the new device was a hot commodity. Now that hundreds of headlines have been published which read "Nexus 4 Sells Out," Google may feel that this will enhance the reputation of their Nexus brand and lead to more orders. In fact, all it has seem to have done is to alienate Google's core fan base, but maybe I just think that because that's the Internet bubble I exist within; outside of this bubble, people may be thinking "Wow, what is this Nexus 4?"

Problems in the Manufacturing Line

It could be that Google had a problem with securing last minute the necessary parts for a larger order they made before the Nexus 4 was officially up for sale. This has happened to Apple in the past when they've attempted to sell massive numbers of iPhones. But then it would have been possible for Google to simply push back the Nexus 4 release date – which they did not do. Strange. 

Google Actually Failed to Anticipate Demand

Of course, it's possible that Google simply did not anticipate the demand they would receive for Nexus 4 devices. Even after ordering tens of thousands of devices, they were not prepared for the onslaught of orders that were placed online. Perhaps the new Nexus devices sold out far faster than they ever have before.

This seems unlikely to me, though. For one, the Google Play Store has a button under the Nexus 4 which reads "notify me," a button which tens of thousands doubtless clicked before the Nexus 4 officially went on sale. You'd think Google would have gotten the hint and known how many Nexus 4 phones to stock up on.

The Potential Fallout

The fallout from this arguably failed launch is that it shows Google cannot compete with companies like Apple when it comes to offering new products to a huge customer base in a timely manner. It could also be that Google's bottom line will suffer since many who wanted to buy a Nexus device were unable to do so. Even with headlines reading "Nexus sells out," it's hard to read this launch as successful. Many, many people who were hoping for a new Nexus device have been unable to purchase one. That said, it may not be that big of a deal in the long run; consumers should be able to get their hands on a Nexus 4 soon enough.

What do you think?

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Comments

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  • Siva Bala Nov 16, 2012 Link

    I sort of go with the first theory. Google must have known the level of demand out there. They just wanted the headlines. I was hoping to get my hands on one before I go on holiday in a couple of weeks time, but it looks like that will not be the case. Still hope to get one though, but this episode has left a bad taste in my mouth.

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  • Mark R. Nov 17, 2012 Link

    I think they just didn't anticipate the demand. The previous Nexus devices have all done well but not been the hot product at launch.

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  • Dvoraak Nov 17, 2012 Link

    There's no telling what the truth is. I trust Google's motivations and tactics exactly as much as I trust Apple's or Microsoft's, which is to say not at all.

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  • Sebastien Nov 21, 2012 Link

    I was hard done by Google and I was not the only one, but being a true Android Nexus fan (sucker) I went to Carphone warehouse UK and paid an inflated price for my Nexus device...thanks Google for letting the fans down...and in all honesty I couldn't care less about the reasons why the launch went to hell!!!

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  • Peter W Nov 26, 2012 Link

    I think a lot of people will wait as this phone is best possible P/V ratio and has no real competition. As for the notify me button - this came with official annoucemnt of nexus 4 so way to late for google to produce more devices if the demand vastly exceed what they expected.

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  • Little Birdie Nov 28, 2012 Link

    Speculators bought a huge number of them.. perhaps the majority of them. Craigslist in NYC is full of ads offering new-in-box Nexus 4's for $500 and up.

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