Nexus 4 shortages are Google's fault, says LG

LG says production to increase, with more shipments by mid February

Stewart Mitchell
18 Jan 2013

Google underestimated the demand for its Nexus 4 handset, according to an executive at LG, which manufactures the devices.

The handset sold out shortly after going on sale in several European countries, prompting speculation that Google was trying to create a buzz around the phone, but LG said Google had simply underestimated demand.

"Google had forecasts calculated according to their previous sales history of Nexus," said Cathy Robin, manager of LG's mobile division in France told business publication Challenges. "But they were much less in demand than the Nexus 4."

"Current deliveries from LG to Google correspond to what had been pre-ordered on Google Play. We continue to deliver regularly, but it's a just-in-time production," she said.

According to Robin, Google allocated ten times more phones to the UK and Germany than France, but the handsets still sold out and demand continues to outstrip production, with an increase in production taking six weeks to work through the system.

LG said production had been ramped up and that despite plans for a LG's next flagship handset – the Optimus G Pro – it expected to supply enough Nexus 4s to meet demand by mid February.

"LG has denied reports that it's going to stop production - the Nexus 4 will not stop," Robin said. "On the contrary, supply will increase. From mid-February, there won't be this pressure on the market.”

Profit margin

The price-to-hardware ratio of the handsets has led some commentators to speculate that the phone was being sold for a loss in a bid to bolster Google's position in the mobile device sector, but LG said that although the price was competitive it was still making money.

"We have no interest in selling at a loss," said Robin. "However, there was an agreement between Google and LG to sell it at a very attractive price - a super attractive price."

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