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Google Appears to Have Oversold the Nexus 4 – Surprises Customers With Status Change Backorder Emails

As you all know, the LG Nexus 4 sold out in 25 minutes on launch day through the Google Play store. With Google’s servers unable to keep up with the flood of traffic, many of you figured out that if you refreshed the Play store Nexus 4 page over and over again, that it would eventually let you order one. You thought you had struck gold. The system had been circumvented! Not so fast.

According to our inbox and Twitter feed, many of you are receiving emails from Google, stating that your order has been placed on back-order due to an “overwhelming demand” and that it is expected to ship within three weeks. 

Sorry, folks.

Cheers Scott, Ben,[email protected], and everyone else!

  • I still don’t have confirmation of shipment or back order. I just called Google and I was told that if I DID NOT receive the back order email by now then I am good to go and will get the phone, but my order is still being processed. I called twice and got the same answer from 2 different folks. I was told that with all the problems and glitches with the ordering system it has taken them longer to get the devices processed for shipping. Bottom line is that I was told if you have not received the back order email by now then you are good and yours will be on the way, just a little later than expected. Hope that helps some folks.

    • I was told the same minutes ago, I would feel a lot better if i got a tracking email at some point today, the rep explained to me that I may not get one and i should expect my phone today or tomorrow.

  • Prox

    Does anyone’s Google wallet actually say back ordered or does it still say pending.

  • LALinMN

    They’ve lost all respect for their customer apparently, resorting to jerking them around like some peckers

  • LALinMN

    This is horse-manure. They take my money, charge me exorbitant taxes and shipping costs, then refuse to send me my phone. It’s like they don’t care how or when you get your device as long as they have your money. I expect something like this from apple, not from Google, arguable one of the most powerful companies in the world. I feel scammed. I’m feeling ready to just cancel my order and buy a Note II…

    • Robert Johnson

      Actually, they don’t charge until they ship. And they’ll waive the shipping charge, then.
      But, of course, cancel if you don’t want to wait around on your hands for three weeks.

      Why do you expect this from Apple, btw…have they ever a botched a launch like this?

      • LALinMN

        No, Apple has managed their launches quite well actually. I guess I just meant the disloyalty and disrespect towards the customers really…

  • pat

    I got through around 12:16 eastern time and never received an email saying it’s backordered big never got a tracking number neither my credit card says pending when I called they told me it takes about 2days to process then 2 to 3 business days to ship to me. Best part they charged me for 2day shipping.. This is a joke

  • Kevin Olson

    Ordered mine on Nov 13th at 11:34am EST ( 4 minutes after it went live ). Still have not yet received either a shipping or backorder email.

  • Pissed me off. Cancelled my order just in case I get hit with any more disappointment

  • SeanBello

    they did a preorder…this is it. order it now, get it in 3 wks lol

  • SeanBello

    LOL @ people saying they didn’t mess this release up too. they can’t keep doing this. they need to stick to carriers whether they like it or not.

  • I purchased mine at 8:45GMT – this was not a “refresh the page” purchase – i did not circumvent the system – if anything, I pre-empted the initial release, so how come my order is on “backorder”. I dont think Google have a clue how to adopt an efficient sales procedure.

  • andres

    At least we know how long until Google re-fills their stock.

  • dorkboy

    The big difference between Apple and Google is that Apple has B&M stores and carriers that help slow the onslaught. Google has one place to take a high demand of orders not multiple.

  • cruxer

    For you folks who didn’t actually try to use the Play store to order the phone, please keep your thoughts to yourself. Regardless of when I tried to order the phone, I had to refresh my browser multiple times just to make it through the order screens. The phone would show up in my cart, then I’d try to move on to the next step, at which point the store would balk and start me over.

    The big deal isn’t that they sold out, good for them. The big deal is that the normal online customer feedback experience was completely broken at launch, up to and including today’s backorder e-mails. Let’s face it, there is an expected process. I order if there’s stock available, if not I’m told quickly (at attempted order time even) that they’re out of stock. Better online retailers might even give me an estimate of when I could try again.

  • Droid Burgundy

    well at least if anyone was disappointed they were let down in the warmth and comfort of their home while online.. not waiting in line for hours in the cold to buy a marginal upgrade like certani other fanbois :p

  • Joe

    I accidentally ordered two. One at 11:42 Eastern and one at 11:45. Hopefully at least on of them makes it. The other one I put on eBay.

    • Boaz Thomassie

      Noooooo sell it to meeeee!!!

  • Boaz Thomassie

    i hope a lot of people cancel so i can get mine quicker. am i a bad person? but seriously guys calm down, you’re acting like children. the nexus 4 is a great phone phone made by a great company for great price, now it’s a hit! ok, so you didn’t get it the FIRST frickin day, so go out a buy the toy iphone that’s in stock. good luck with a sh*t phone for the next 2 years.

    • condor7272

      You may be Right but keep in mind that it can be very frustrating to think that you succeeded and then hear something like 3 WEEKS!!!! out of the blue, 2 days after you paid for the damn thing!


        You didn’t actually pay, they just put a hold on your money. Mine still says pending with my cc company. I was hoping to see that move into an actual transaction but I got the 3 weeks email. We just all need to chill.

    • SeanBello

      just because it’s sold out doesn’t mean it’s a hit. they could’ve only had 100k with 200k looking for them, even the 200k wouldn’t make it a hit.

  • mike

    the phrasing of this post is misleading. There are plenty of people over at XDA reporting that they ordered normally (not the refresh trick) that are having their orders canceled. I am one of those people. I ordered without all the drama and i only ordered 1 device and i’m getting the BO email.

  • Wouldn’t be surprised if Google made it up to all those orders that were cancelled.

  • shecalledmejay

    I don’t get why ppl are mad, Ya’ll kept reloading and reloading the page until it was tricked into adding your product in your cart to checkout.

    • Have you ever tried buying tickets from Ticketmaster? When it tells you there are no tickets available then what do you do? You try again and see what happens, then again and again… People’s orders don’t go through, they change their minds, try to get more,etc. which empties their carts and leaves what they had available. When something is SOLD OUT it should tell you it’s SOLD OUT. As smart as those folks at Google are I’d think that they would have someone that could figure out how to make an item appear as sold out once it is gone. In no way did anyone trick the system into letting them add a phone to their cart. That’s not tricking the system, that’s a bad system. Folks who got their phones this way thought that they were actually getting the phone because they were buying from a respectable company that is an INNOVATOR in computer technology. Come on… trick the check out page… PLEASE…..

  • k

    is everyone here from US? How early did you order? Like exact timestamp of order placed

    • mw630

      8:34:02 AM UTC-8 is what is on my receipt

    • Nov 13, 2012 10:35:51 AM CST

      No email for shipment or backorder yet.

    • Edgardo Rios

      November 13, 2012 11:54:17 AM UTC-5 Qty:2

      No email.

      Might want to post the quantity as well. There’s speculation that that’s related.

    • moelsen8

      order 1 16gb Nexus 4 at 3:59 PM EST. did some refreshing. i guess all of that refreshing after the first 10 minutes or so was really just a glitch. bah. at least i don’t have to go through that hell of a process again on the second batch, i guess. and there’s always the shipping refund, but that’s peanuts.

      but it’s funny, it’s being reported that this happened in the UK and in germany too, at least. so you think having a handful of hours before the US launch, google would’ve seen the huge problem they were facing and tried to do something about it. what a complete disappointment this is, for the moment at least.

    • Jess B.

      Nov 13, 2012 8:49:42 AM PST

      1 x 16 GB – I haven’t gotten a shipment or backorder email yet.

  • mcf517

    I don’t understand why they didn’t allow preorders to begin with weeks in advance. This would allow them to get the phone into the hands of their beloved followers and tech junkies, as well as give them a feel for the number of people interested in the phone to make better predictions on supply and demand.

    I know the entire sales process is complicated, especially since this is not google’s forte, but this isn’t rocket science neither. Apple doesn’t drop the ball the same way as google did today. People who order an iphone ahead of time get one. People who try to wait on line may complain if they don’t get one, but they were never guaranteed.

    I’m complaining now, but I’ll end up all giddy and excited again in a couple of weeks. haha… there’s more to life than a phone, right?

    • Larizard

      I think people are forgetting this one, little difference between the iPhone launch and the Nexus 4 launch. No pre-order meant they were not able to gauge relative interest on the product.

      Google, if you want to sell hardware online, learn from your mistakes. You won’t beat Verizon/ATT/T-Mo/Sprint in their game if you don’t have a competent online retail system.

  • Gino

    I ordered mine 20min after it launched, took away the money…and now Im in back order….. I was really hoping to get mine on monday….google…… first and last.

  • Joeblog

    Bad press is good press… Right?

  • I think this was a bad launch by google. Apple always expects you to wait a few weeks before you get your iphone, for them to have 3 weeks to build up for launch and they should have known better when they priced it at 349.99. This is holiday season so they should have known better that the demand would be high for their products when you price them dirt cheap compared to competition. I am not hating on google, it is just common sense to make a few million of these things on launch day since you price them at 349.99 and should have known that people would jump on this thing.

  • mw630

    I haven’t received an e-mail saying that my order is being
    canceled, but I decided to give them a call to check on the status.

    The lady that I spoke with said that my order is still showing
    “pending” but that most orders in that status would be on backorder and it
    would be 3 or 4 weeks before they would ship. She said I should receive an
    e-mail in the next 24 hours with either my tracking number or the

    I did not sit on the computer hitting refresh until the
    system glitched, I was on there right away and my order time on my receipt was
    8:34 AM UTC-8. I didn’t have any issues with the cart failing or losing the
    device from my basket. So basically, they are just screwing people over. I’m happy that the Nexus 4 is so popular, but this is ridiculous.

  • bucky500

    I read this headline and my jaw dropped. Before I could browse to play store to check my order status my email notification buzzed on the gs3. . .yep it was the play store, too good to be true and I was already charged!

  • Can’t say I’m surprised by this at all. It’s tough to predict home many people will actually order on launch day when so many people spoke so negatively about the device in the first place. Still, they should have had enough devices to satisfy the demand for a flagship device.

    • mcf517

      That’s why they should have done an actual preorder to meet initial demand and have a better prediction on overall demand.

  • paul_cus

    Cue the pitchforks.

  • Nick Norman

    Let me start off by saying, I am not a fan of the iPhone. But there is one thing that Google needs to learn from Apple (That hurt to type!). That one thing is how to launch a product. This same BS happened with the N7. Its all too frustrating to have high hopes to only get shutdown again and again, because they are overly eager to ship and meet a self imposed deadline.

    • ddevito

      Learning and executing are two diff things. Apple has 25+ years experience in shipping hardware to customers.

      • Charlie Torres

        ^This and Apple has the manufacturing connections to start production months ahead of release so that there is enough product available. Not to mention the direct to customer shipping that takes place from China

      • PhillipCun

        So what? It doesn’t hurt to go above and beyond and provide us with the best service. Isn’t that part of being a good company? Accomplishing something in a shorter time period than the competition. You can say that about Nokia how they been selling phones for XX years, yet new comers are outselling them.

        Google, Go big. Don’t make excuses.

        • ddevito

          Relax dude. Google is a software company filled with nerds rockin laptops riding bicycles. They’re learning. They suck at this whole supply chain thing now, but they’re the smartest guys in the room – they’ll figure it out in due time.

          In the meantime, grab a pillow and some ice and sit on it because you’re obviously butt hurt

          • blee

            you’re supposed to be butt hurt when they ram u up the ass… it’s you who has the giant bottle of lube and doesnt seem to mind..

            everyone here (almost everyone) loves google as much as you.. but as paying customers (cuz we were charged first).. we get to give them a piece of our mind..

          • ddevito

            hey maybe the N4 will bomb like the Q and Google will give them away for free. Then you’ll look back and laugh at this day won’t you?


      • blee

        so.. we have to wait 25 years for improvement? Or is Google, one of the largest companies in the world, have a higher standard than that?…

        • ddevito

          they’re not one the largest companies in the world. Powerful, yes. Influential, yes. Coolest, yes. Largest? Not by a long shot.

    • Nick Norman

      Don’t get me wrong, I am willing to wait it out for the next Nexus device as much as the other Android enthusiast. There comes a point where the lesson has been learned but not implemented. The N7 launch and the mess should have been the learning, and the Nexus 4 should be the implementation to get all paying customers their device in a timely fashion. I believe Google has every opportunity as Apple to get it right. Say the Apple has manufacturing connections is great. What manufacturing business is going to say no to Google. We don’t want your business. They could have in their schedules, from day one of an idea to produce a device, to start production months ahead of the release date to have enough inventory. This said, Google seems not to have implemented what they have learned. Just my two cents. Doesn’t mean everyone will agree, but I think its something that could have been avoided.

    • Why does everyone have the preconceived notion that Google fucked up?

      You guys ever think that maybe this was intentional? It’s not such a bad thing to initially sell out when the alternative is having more stock than necessary. It is also always better to justify a high priced non-commodity with the backing of a high demand.

      Needless to say, but I’m sure you realize by now how much Google enjoys striking up blog topics like this one (regardless of the ill-informed bashing), when it is apparent that most people here seem to be outraged by the fact that they don’t have one of these phones yet..

      • Nick Norman

        To each their own!

        I didn’t try to buy one. I probably won’t buy one. Just personal preference.

        So it really doesn’t affect me at all.

        I find it more interesting to hear that something like this is happening AGAIN.

        And maybe this AGAIN will happen every time.

        That’s all.

        So keep calm and Droid Life on!

  • Charlie Torres

    Woah, take a deep breath folks. Yeah it’s disappointing, but you WILL get the phone. Just like Mario said Google probably underestimated how many orders they’d get. The product is being sold close to cost for both companies and I’m sure they manufactured a lower than typical number of phones for the first batch. They’ll catch up to demand soon enough.

  • ddevito


  • Why do I have a feeling they only had like 500 of them? lol I love my Galaxy Nexus, but I don’t see a ton of people with them, it’s not exactly a hot seller.

    • Bennett Piater

      Maybe in the US/your region in the US. I see tons of them in Germany and Austria (Austria in Europe, that is, not Australia)

  • Wes Thomson

    I cancelled when I got this email. What is getting me now is, can’t get N4, the DNA isn’t my thing, do we have anything to look forward to in the next month or two (as far as new phones)?

  • Mario II Valenzuela

    Apple sells out of iPhones in 30 minutes and it’s awesome… Google sells out of Nexus 4s in 30 minutes and it’s all “Google sucks! Most brutal launch evar!”

    Seriously… wtf? Haven’t you thought that maybe Google under estimated how many people wanted or could to buy their phone?

    • Thats Apple. We expect more out of Google, since their better.
      I’m thinking they tired to compensate for the demand based on the N7 but demand rose with the N4 unexpectedly.
      Apple has also sold many many products already, this is Google’s only 3 product to be sold directly, they are still working out the kinks.

      • blee

        BTW… wtf happened to ‘billed when shipped’… they just said refunded shpping costs.. which will be rebilled when it ships?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

        theyre just gonna hold my 370 something odd dollars for 3-4 weeks for nothing!?!?!?!?

        is this a joke? so my choice is to cancel it and lose my place in “line” (altho i doubt now that they even have that kind of system.. im picturing an engineer w/ a yellow legal pad w/ email addressses)… or just let google hold onto 400 bucks of mine until they decide to ship me my phone… hrm.

        • …are, are you asking me? I dont work for google.

        • Mason Schoolfield

          Did you pay with a debit card? When charges are authorized on a debit card the money is held, unlike a credit card where it just shows up as pending. That’s a good reason to not reserve a hotel room with a debit card.

      • Jefferson Ettienne

        @Mario II Valenzuela…. Um, Google should have expected this, you know why?….. Well Google made a phone with some of the best specs out there and decided to sell it for $300 – $350. In addition to this point, when they launched the Nexus 7 with great specs and for $200 – $250 and saw the great demand they should have learned form that – they didn’t. Google screwed up big time and that is a fact!

      • michael arazan

        Considering that the Galaxy Nexus was a hit for verizon and in other countries, and was the top selling Nexus phone before this, You’d think they’d have anticipated more of a demand.

    • The difference is how Apple handles their launch. Even though there will always be disappointed customers at least they keep you informed and expectations are set reasonably. You can clearly see if the item is out of stock and are given an estimated shipping date before you place a backorder. They also tell you what time the sale will start and stick to it. Google said it would start at 12:00pm EST and decided to start it 30 minutes early. It also took 48 hours for Google to update the status of these orders while inquiries were met with canned responses.

      • blee

        also, it was DROID LIFE that gave us the 12 EST time… google later ‘confirmed’ it through some channels.. ugh… i was so excited to be receiving mine by Saturday.. it said ‘expected to ship on the 15th’…. now they give me this letter… just a “sorry, we’ll refund the shipping cost only, and bill you again later when we ship it.. oh.. in 3 weeks maybe”….

        this is how you lose customer loyalty.. say what you want about Apple.. but their customer satisfaction rating has always been the highest in the industry.. ugh.. disappointment.

        • ddevito

          So join the dark side and have fun with the iToys and quit the bellyaching

          • blee

            you were probably one of the ‘you dont like our president? then move out of the country” people too werent you..

          • Stupid remark.

      • I will hand it to Apple, when they announce the launch of a new device, they almost ALWAYS have it available for order/preorder within 24hrs of its announcement.

    • brkshr

      16GB max

    • Tito

      Bro, if they charge your credit card, then they should have your item! This is a total mess! For a company as big as Google, this is embarrassing! My card was charged the moment I hit purchased and now I received an email saying it will be back ordered 3 weeks. Horrible!

    • the difference is Apple changes the status of the iPhone as soon as it’s sold out. In other words the second they sell out it says when the phone will be shipped. Google didn’t do that and kept taking orders that people thought were available NOW

    • Futbolrunner

      16 gb max if I’m not mistaken

    • Alan Paone

      Apple usually backs that up with numbers. When they sell out they usually put up a press release saying “Golly gee, we made 10 million of the damn things and you crazy kids bought every single one of them!”
      Google’s website to buy them crashed (which would be terribly embarrassing if they were an internet company) and sold out in a half hour, but a bunch of the orders were for phones that don’t actually exist, and we don’t know how many they sold. They aren’t saying anything to the people who can put a positive spin on this, and they aren’t giving us anything positive to say.

    • Jeffrey Blattman

      huge difference. apple has pre-orders, and takes back orders in an orderly fashion and gives each user a solid ship date. google? no pre-orders, no back orders, just a big red “sold out”.

    • We expect much better from Google, if they simply had of put a preorder when the dmn thing was announced I would have got my damn phone yesterday, along with everyone else, but instead I bought a phone that wasn’t there and now I have to wait till my fricking exam week to fricking get it! screwed up big time Google. Good Job! DISAPPOINTED!

  • moelsen8

    and there’s mine.. google realy f*cked everything up on this launch. what a sh*tshow

  • The good news is they’ll have more phones in ~3 weeks.

  • Masterminded

    Mine is safely on the way from Kentucky. Thank God

    • Prox

      how quickly did you order?

    • ddevito

      a TSA agent at your local airport just stole it

  • Sam

    I’m pissed. Google sucks. It doesn’t suck enough to cancel my order, but it has definitely taken the thrill out of it. If I had known this was going to happen (and next time) I will just be upgrading to an iPhone. At least then I will be able to touch one in the store and know it’s mine.

  • MotoRulz

    Nothing worse than being unprepared to sell your flagship device… Just sayin

  • jcorf

    I’m still wondering how much they sold.

  • Prox

    I got one of these emails and my order was placed 1 hour after it was launched.

  • I haven’t received an email from them all day. I’m really pissed off that Google didn’t learn from their mistake with the Nexus 7.

  • markgbe

    i sure hope i get my shipping email tonight and not a backorder email.

  • Incompetent Product Launch

    I tried the phone at a TMobile store yesteday and it is as awesome as I expected…too bad I could not actually buy one from Google. I guess I will limp along with my GNex for now.

    • SpaceJIMM

      Limp along? Really?

  • I have yet to receive any email. Yay?

    • ddevito

      check your spam folder :p

      • Right after I posted the comment on got the email. I ordered really early, too.

  • JoshGroff

    Now to laugh at some of the sellers on eBay counting their chickens before they hatched.

    • Sam

      Yeah, those guys really overstepped by selling something they didn’t have. Jerks.

      • derp

        Sounds like what google just did.

        • David M Dulin

          The thing is…the system TOLD them it was no longer available.
          Yes, Google’s systems should’ve been better…but trying to refresh it until it changed something is as much their fault as it is Google’s.

          • Courtland Allen

            Even before the phones sold out, nearly every single click on the site would return some sort of error. There were also caching bugs which erroneously showed the phone as not available when it was still available. I don’t know how you can possibly justify blaming the customers for refreshing.

          • Eleo

            The system also told us that the item was available, as evidenced by the fact that I added the item to my cart and checked out. Refreshing the page wasn’t some exploitative means to try to circumvent their systems, but rather to get the most up-to-date information on availability — which could very well change in between page loads. If the system *lets* me order the item, then how is it my fault for doing so?

          • Obviously if you got your order in the cart, then I’m not referring to you.

            Eh, iono. Maybe cause I got it through with no error I’m just not really caring about other’s errors. *shrugs*

          • Tim

            Actually, my order went through before the system thought they were sold out, and mine still got put on backorder. Google screwed up, plain and simple.

      • What’s worse is that the people buying them certainly must have known that was the case.

  • Not a huge surprise, considering the anecdotes of people getting them late afternoon by refreshing 100 times. Sounded more like a glitch than a legit purchase.

    I just hope they backorder them based on the order they were purchased and not follow the randomness of the Nexus 7 shipping scene.

  • brkshr

    I would like to know how many units they had in stock for the U.S.? maybe the world as well, for comparative sake. They sold out way too quick & I would have expected Google to be able to withstand the onslaught of orders a little better.

  • Kevin Olson

    If I get one of these emails I am going to be BS… My order was submitted, completed, confirmed and CC charged within 4 minutes of it going live….

    • blee

      i got one.. my order was submitted before 12 pm EST… they charged my card instantly… took my money… but they dont have one for me for another 3 weeks… im a loyal google follower… but this is how you chip away at consumer trust and loyalty..

  • carlinscuderi

    Brutal launch, Google. Brutal launch.

    • Fgoogle

      Brutal? More like Google tried to save money and cut corners. They don’t care they will still get their sales and they spent hardly a penny on marketing and pre-sales.

  • Josh Flowers

    they should ship everyone a NexusQ in the mean time…
    oh wait.

    really surprised the ball was dropped on this. but the phone is going to rock once it’s actually available.

    • John

      I think most would want something actually useful.

    • moelsen8

      how about two nexus 4’s haha

    • evcon

      Would you say they *dropped the Nexus Q*?

      I’ll see myself out.

    • Larizard

      I fondled one in a T-Mobile store today. I was impressed. This phone’s hardware is sleek and high grade; nothing like my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Lol. I’m gonna drag a couple more friends to that T-Mo store and we all be fondling it this weekend.

  • Randy Kelly

    man i’m hoping i get a email today

  • moelsen8

    that’s some bullsh!