LG Mobile France Director Talks Nexus 4, All But Directly Blames Google

All this talk about Nexus 4 inventory is beginning to get a little old, especially when none of it tells us exactly when we can expect another chance to buy them. While T-Mobile stores are beginning to receive their own small shipments, Google’s Play Store has been out of stock for some time.

LG’s Mobile France Director Cathy Robin took an opportunity to discuss the device with French media outlet Challenges.Fr and all but directly blamed Google. Robin said in no uncertain terms that “the supply problems are not solely related to LG.” Robin indicated that Google offered LG sales forecasts based on previous Nexus smartphones, which turned out to be far below actual demand for the Nexus 4. Even with inventory issues, Robin says things are going “very well” with the LG/Google relationship.

Robin also took the time to once again shoot down rumors that Nexus 4 production was being intentionally slowed or halted altogether. She indicated that production was actually ramping up and that we can expect mid-February to be a point where there is “no more pressure” on the Nexus 4 market.

Two final notes from the interview:

  • Robin indicated that the Nexus 4 is not being sold at a loss, and that the agreement with Google is to sell it at a “very attractive price.”
  • Reports that the Nexus 4 has sold around 375,000 units is actually “much lower” than the actual sales figures.

Challengers.fr (translated) via Android Central

Tags: , , , ,

  • ceegii63

    id love it if Google suddenly DROPPED LG from using Android

    • A$AP Chris

      Android is open-sourced. Anyone can use it with or without Google’s blessing.

    • Sorry, I can’t agree with you only because I’m loving this product. Aside of the fake metal bezel that bends easily, best phone to date!

      • fixxmyhead

        bends? wtf are u talking about

        • ok you have what appears to be a female dog as your profile pic, but I’d be in the wrong for calling you a … It dents easily ok! NOT BENDS, DENTS!

      • Prod1702

        What are you talking about bending, There is no problems with the outer bezel. I got my N4 with the very 1st shipment and I couldn’t be more happy with the phone. Its so far the best Android phone I have owned. I have owned my fair share of android phones as well. I also have the N4 bumper from Google as well. One of the best cases I have owned as well.

        • I don’t really understand how yall would just disregard my experience with the phone. Especially when I raved about it. I realize now that I didn’t mean bends, i meant dents. It feel off my bed, it the night stand softly… BIG OLE DENT! Its cheap, its not even real metal. NOW, I have a problem with you commenting when you have a protective barrier on your phone so naturally you would experience this problem, however I did not have the luxury of getting a bumper as it has been sold out for months. SN: I think I’m going to stop posting because yall making me want to snap. Not you prod1702, you just caught the brunt end of it. SN2: If you say as well one moe time!….

        • thepanttherlady

          Dion, did you break another shoelace this morning? :)

          It IS Friday. That counts for something, right?

        • *sigh* I did :/

  • Somewhat Caffeinated

    I kind of agree with him. This is completely Google’s fault. They should have gone with a real phone manufacturer like Samsung or HTC, not Lucky-Goldstar.

    • gmo

      The nexus 4 is a great phone (lucky enough to get one from google play). Too bad they didn’t make enough for the demand =(

  • TBN27

    I guess there is many different versions of the reasons why tere are inventory problems. Wasn’t it last week that LG Korea said that the Nexus 4 was not a priority and that the Optimus G gets preference? Also didn’t they also say that they werw not making money off of it? All i know is if it ain’t available by next month, i no longer want it. I will be waiting for something LTE radios that i don’t ned to hack it to get it working.

  • magmaspawn

    But my question is director cathy robin hot?

    • Mirad77


      • 21stNow

        He probably is, given how people fawned over Carly. You can’t mention a woman (much less post a video or picture) without people starting up with the “hotness” rating on here.

  • Prox

    Been saying for a long time, Google under estimated demand and didn’t order enough phones.

    • that’s never true in the industry. they order exactly how many they want regardless of any perceived demand. there was no underestimating at all. Google is just not as concerned as most of you all are with getting a massive amount of the device available. whenever they feel like making it available, they will.
      don’t ever fall for the “overwhelming demand” bit from companies.

      • Prox

        So your saying that Google has absolutely no sense of supply logistics? And they they simply do whatever they want regardless of the cost per unit or any other supply side analytics that goes into manufacturing?

        Google completely and utterly under estimated the demand, and proven by the ramping up production of new units.

        The only way Google would not be concerned with releasing X amount of units is if they where losing money from the sale.

      • Kenny O

        Really?? All companies forecast sales with the goal of meeting the demand but not having a ton extra inventory just sitting around (exactly why pre orders exist). What company on earth would not be concerned with selling as many devices as possible?? More devices = more profit, especially for Google which relies on search and advertising to make money off of said products. It’s clear that Google did not forecast the popularity of this phone correctly – and based on history you can’t blame them. Unlocked, unsubsidised phones have never sold well in the US and neither did the previous Nexus phones. Google assumed this would be the case with its latest offering. They were very wrong. Google is relatively new to selling devices, they will get better.

        • so you mean the same Google who has sold two other devices prior to the Nexus 4 is somehow still new to selling devices? the same Google that has sold tablets etc are somehow new to selling devices … so you mean that selling a phone is somehow more complicated than creating a billion dollar company?
          c’mon man.
          you guys act as if Google is stupid and are filled with people who know nothing. they know EXACTLY what they’re doing. you can buy into this “we totally underestimated demand” bit all you want but it’s NEVER true .. across smartphones, video games, pizza etc.
          companies know exactly what they’re doing. i’ve sat in a number of meetings to know.

        • Kenny O

          Oh, you have sat in meetings. You clearly know how businesses work. I stand corrected.

        • Anonymous

          You sound pretty silly

        • yes he does . smh .. but i guess if it’s on the internet it’s true so you win the cache Kenny.

        • Kenny O
        • Kenny O

          http://www.androidpolice.com /2012/11/16/editorial-yes-google-done-goofed-but-this-botched-nexus-4-launch-is-a-fantastic-sign-or-please-be-patient/

  • Ford_Thundercougarfalconbird

    There is no one to blame. Google gave LG a number to make, LG made them. Google underestimated their numbers because, once again, Google isn’t a retailer.

    If anyone’s to blame it’s the consumers for buying so damn many!

    • I don’t know whether to thumbs up or thumbs down lol

  • Wilma Flintstone

    Seriously this phone is not worth all this trouble.

  • archerian

    How can LG claim far more than 375,000 (or whatever the number is now) units have been sold as that was calculated from device IMEI serial numbers… unless…. LG makes phones with duplicate IMEI numbers…

    • LOL, you’d think they would know actually how many they sold by how many were manufactured since they’ve been completely sold out for months. But hey what do I know, I broke a shoelace this morning.

      • thepanttherlady

        You sure do break a lot of shoelaces. It might be time to look into velcro. =P

        • U2Funny

          Wow, you need you’re own channel, Velcro: bwahahaha


        • NO! Velco is the enemy… NEVER!!!!!!!!!!

  • First thoughts: Everybody pissing on LG can piss off because I’m loving this phone. Very well built expect for the fake metal bezel that bends easily. Also google more than likely ordered too few and now is up **it creek. Second thought: LG, though they made a very capable phone(even better leaving the LTE radios in the phone) probably aint making any money because google decided to sell the phone dirt cheap. SOOOO… If I was LG, I’d keep making my phone too(the LG Optimus G that is making money). Its all business fokes. But who’s side are you on?

  • Spanky

    Google just can’t seem to get it right with the sales/marketing of Nexus devices, can they? The Galaxy Nexus launch was a disaster (don’t even get me started on Verizon exclusivity), and the Nexus 4 was (and still is) just as bad, if not worse.

    • Kenny O

      Same with the Nexus 7 as well.

    • John782a

      The Nexus 4 is not for everybody. I’m glad it has limited availability, keeps the re-sale value high. Best phone I’ve ever owned.

      • Spanky

        Resale value aside, Google still botched the launch of this phone. While it may not be for everybody, Google would certainly like it to be; otherwise, they wouldn’t be selling it for $299-$349 contract-free.
        Speaking of resale values, even the unlocked Galaxy Nexus is maintaining an unusually high resale value. I’m seeing used models in excellent condition go for around $300 on eBay. I’ll be putting mine up this weekend, while it’s still worth something.

        • drzfr3shboialex

          I got $290 for my G-nex on ebay, helped pay for Nexus 4.

        • Spanky

          My GNex is in absolutely immaculate condition, plus I’m throwing in two extra cases (one being an Otterbox). I’m hoping to get no less than $275. I’m definitely listing it this weekend.

        • drzfr3shboialex

          I had the white version though, threw in a case and screen protector.

    • Adrayven

      Google has never been good with product sales and product demand forecasts. They treat everything as beta with little to no support. They can’t do that with products.. Look at Google TV. They let Logitech and others take the risks. Here, they can’t just bring in a few servers to pickup slack if it turns out to be a success. LG’s problem is they trusted Googles statistics; they have the capacity, but it takes time to prepare and ramp up new production lines.

      Ads and, to some extent services sure, but product sales and support they really suck at. If they are smart, they will let Motorola’s sales DNA expand to the Nexus line.. I have a feeling this might not happen. They seem to be holding back. It’s like they are not sure if product sales is something they really want too truly get into, but are being dragged into it to compete.

      • David Bowline

        This is precisely why Google hired the head of marketing away from Samsung.

    • 21stNow

      Why was the Galaxy Nexus launch a disaster? I’m genuinely curious, as I watched most of it from the sidelines. I ordered my Galaxy Nexus from an importer the first day they were available in November 2011 and had no problems receiving it. Is your reference solely to the PlayStore’s launch of the Galaxy Nexus?

      • drzfr3shboialex

        The release date and it was only available on VZW for a while, unless you wanted to spend $800 to import it.

  • Zach Mauch

    If the Nexus 4 isn’t selling at a loss, that suggests to me that we are being absolutly gouged with Smartphone retail prices of $599. I wouldn’t be surprised by that as they don’t have the open competition tablets do to properly drive that price down. Hopefully T-Mobile’s new business model of no subsidies will stick (and spread) so we can get proper market competition.

    • Enzowned

      You do realize they cost like $200 to make. Even the iPhone 5’s.

      • Bratty

        That is just raw materials, not total cost.

        • archerian

          even adding Labor, R&D, Marketing, IP/Licensing Fees, Shipping/Import Duties, the total cost of most high end devices won’t exceed $300. If it did, Apple wouldn’t be making the money they post each Quarter, with a 50-60%+ margin per device.

        • Zach Mauch

          This is for everyone who commented on my post.

          Just keep in mind that Apple and Samsung are are almost the only ones making profit in the smartphone industry right now. If costs were so insanely low, that wouldn’t be an issue. When it comes to the Nexus, I think it is helped because so few organizations are grabbing a piece of the pie.

      • Spanky

        Not even $200. However, that’s just the cost of the parts. Don’t forget labor, shipping, marketing, etc.

        • Enzowned

          Sure, but that’s trivial by comparison when you’re dealing with large volumes.

        • Zach Mauch

          you’ve never been through a managerial accounting course have you? those costs are definitly not trivial.

        • Enzowned

          Unless you want to go into every single detail and effort it goes to sell it, then it’s safe to say a large chunk is pure profit. Even a worst case scenario would not increase the price to more than double the parts cost, still netting a huge profit margin. This is the state of the Smartphone market.

        • Zach Mauch

          I can’t tell you any exact numbers for smartphones. I don’t know what they are. However, you’d be shocked to know how small a percentage of costs hardware can sometimes be. The reason is because of the value chain. There are SOOOO many people taking money out of the it in every step along the process. Assembly, packaging, distribution to the warehouse, storing in the warehouse, shipping to the retailer, retailer profits, credit care transactions fees, shipping to the purchaser.

          All these things are legitimate costs and are often handled by completely different companies along the chain. Suddenly, a device with $2 in hardware and an MSRP of $49 can end up netting the manufacture only $3 in profit. This may sound wrong, but it isn’t. The book publishers are going broke right now because of this. It can be REALLY HARD to make money in a free economy like the US.

          As for the Nexus, I suspect that a big component of this is it’s online and direct sales. That is HUGE for reducing costs.

        • Enzowned

          I understand that there’s hidden cost. I was only alluding to the fact that in regards to the Smartphone space, it is an exception that there’s significantly higher margins than in most other markets. I believe this is well documented. Many say a race to the bottom is inevitable. $600+ Smartphones don’t sound all that sustainable to me. Not when you have people willing to disrupt the ecosystem.

        • Thank you for pointing out all those processes that cost this. I have been trying to slickly tell customers this for year. But lets take it a step further… The parts for the phone is $50(for the sake of example). All those steps you mention just made the price jump to $631(in bulk $231). Now, I don’t know about know about every school, but most colleges are expensive. Graduating as an engineer is costly, time consuming, and people expect to get paid well for what they do after all this school. That being said, the parts didn’t make themselves. Someone had to sketch a rough draft, build and test out some prototypes(which cost money to build), build a few beta models for people to use as a daily driver for testing(which they are paid to do and the cost of the phone cost as well), and boom you finally have a final product. So now that Ive spent all this time and money to go to school, time and enegry to plan and build this phone(hardware), time and energy to make sure software and hardware marry well… oh you gone pay me brother! Cost just went up to $245.73. Adversiting??? Forget about it $289.99. Google profits $10 per phone. $58.13 for 16GB model. Spends $20 of that profit refunding express shipping to customer for not getting the phone until 36 months after they ordered it.

          Enzowned you should read this too! Especially you.

        • philyew

          In the end it’s whatever the market will sustain.

          It’s a matter of public record that the US carriers have been paying well over $400 per unit for Samsung’s leading devices for the last three years. See the accounts revealed by Samsung in their lawsuit with Apple.

          That can mean only one of two things, by my reckoning: either the carriers believe that the cost and margin are reasonable, or they don’t care because they know that the customer will pay sufficient to cover all costs and their margin as well.

          Either way, the price Google are charging for the N4 doesn’t fit that model at all. Either LG have achieved a paradigm shift in their production costs (a top-quality device produced at bargain price), or someone is taking a hit, regardless of what is being claimed.

          I tend to think that LG are taking a hit as the cost of being able to do front-line business in the Android market. As such, it is a one-off. Look at the prices they are charging other distributors for the N4 as testimony to that.

        • Enzowned

          I think it’s safe to say it’s the latter, that they don’t care, because they make it up in their contracts. As far as LG taking a hit, I think the consensus is that it’s Google fitting the bill. No doubt they have a deal set up, but Google is selling them at cost, this is their business model with all things Android really.

        • philyew

          The thing is, if it’s Google selling at cost, without LG having reduced their price to Google, then Google are still paying at least $100 per unit less than the carriers have been paying for devices from Samsung. How has LG managed to do that while still taking the normal manufacturer’s margin?

          We also know from reports of European distributors’ disputes with LG that they have been asked to pay more for the N4 than Google is charging to the customer. We can see that ourselves in the TM pricing, which reflects how they too have been paying LG more than Google for the device.

          I think those elements together lead to the inescapable conclusion that LG has given Google a special price which has seriously driven down the manufacturer’s margin.

        • Enzowned

          No doubt. That’s why I said I’m sure they have a good deal set up between them, on top of Google not trying to make a profit on them. The 16GB is another story. The extra flash costs them almost nothing, so the price difference is probably profit…

    • 21stNow

      I think that the key phrase in that was “the agreement with Google”. LG isn’t taking a loss on the phone, because (I think) that Google pays LG for each phone that is sold, in addition to the normal price that is passed through from what the customer pays.

  • bcbbc2202

    Frenchie realizes google owns Motorolla AND LG is nothing without android, right?

  • jazz

    The thing with phones like this is that these are the prices phones should really sell for. Phones unsubsidized are one of the only things out there that people pay LIST price for. Who goes and pays full list price for a TV? I’m sure phones don’t cost more than tablets to make..but compare the prices of the two..and tablets don’t even sell for list! B.s.

  • JTrip

    Nexus 5 rumor?

    I still wouldn’t get one if the storage isn’t expandable at it comes with a non removable battery which is most likely, but people thinking about the Nexus 4 may want to wait a little bit.

  • kev2684

    what if google just doesn’t want to subsidize too much for the Nexus 4? i mean they are making profit obviously, but if they continue to make a very affordable high-end smartphone, eventually it will hurt android as a whole. that means lower sales for other high-end androids and they will be forced to lower profit margin in order to compete with the Nexus. if android manufacturers start seeing decline on their profit they might want to move on another OS. as it is now, you can see consumers taking a better look at nexus mainly because it is priced half of One X/OneX+, DNA, Galaxy S III/Note II, Optimus G, etc. this is still about making money after all.

  • philyew

    The 375K will be much less than the actual sales figure in part because LG is selling to other distributors than just Google.

    While anticipated sales based on previous Google experiences may have underestimated demand, LG should have known that Google’s plan to sell at such a “very attractive price” would boost demand considerably.

    Unless they had zero faith in their product, they should have been adding probable demand from other distributors to the numbers projected by Google in order to determine their production requirements.

    Considering how many units their rival Samsung sells, the production numbers that have been described so far are laughable for a device which is apparently right up there with the best Android devices so far to hit the market.

    In the end, it still looks like LG need to carry some of the blame themselves.

  • superg05

    the only question i have is LG’s nexus twin having any shortages?

  • nexus1981

    I just picked up a 16 gig at my local tmo store for 250.00 with a 50 dollar mail in rebate….so at the end I would have only paid 200.00. That’s the price of a 8 gig on the play store. Of course I did sign a new two yr agreement but I think it was worth it an I don’t think I’m going anywhere no time soon anyway. If u have an upgrade check out your local tmo store u might be in luck….oh an if your wondering if there is tmo blotware on it I’ll be the first to tell u no, straight up pure android……

    • kresk

      I used my discount on the Nexus 4 as well. I’ve been with T-Mobile since 04 so for me to sign a contract is a non-issue. Also, assuming future Nexus phones follow the same low price business model. It’s not unrealistic for me to purchase the next Nexus at full price. In the end it’s like getting two phones for the price of one.

    • robert martinez

      congrats on getting the phone but quick question, so was that the total cost or is that a down payment with monthly payments of $20 for 20 months? Just curious

      • nexus 1981

        That was the total cost of the phone, I made sure I asked cause I didn’t want to do the 20/a month thing, but I think that just depends on the plan u have I know I have a classic plan so if u have the value plan then u might have to pay the 20/month.

        • robert martinez

          yeah well you got lucky then since i’m on a family value plan haha, once i saw your post i literally called a nearby t-mobile store the next day and found out they had some in stock, i rushed there and got it, and even though i have to do the 20 payments it’s all good with my luck whenever the google play store comes back in stock i probably would’ve missed out on it again anyways.

        • nexus1981

          Cool man glade u were able to get one, I too was trying to wait on the play store but didn’t want to miss out however for the future though u can sign up an have Google send u a email letting u know when they are in stock, but how do u like it so far? Were u able to get any accessories like a bumper or case. I can’t find them for shit….I did order one off amazon though

        • robert martinez

          thanks and good to know about google being abe to send emails about it. Yeah I’m loving the phone and finding out some cool stuff about it here and there, and oh yeah couldn’t find a bumper and t-mobile wasn’t selling accessories but the guy said it’d be cheaper to go online anyways, so i just went to ebay and ordered regular case for about $10 and a really cheap one for $4 on newegg since amazon started raising the prices on some accessories.

        • nexus1981

          Yea I bought a ringke ultra slim case for it, it should actually be here in the next couple days, I really don’t like cases as they take away from the elegance of the phone, however I don’t want to take any chances of it falling or something. I was trying to get a bumper but they too are sold out, I mean I can understand the phone being sold out but the bumper…..I’m just glad I got mine.

        • robert martinez

          yeah my rugged hybrid case came in about a day ago (shipped super fast) and it’s pretty secure and i wouldn’t be too worried if i were to drop it now and the only problem is that it has that new stinky silicone smell so after that smell is gone it’ll be fine, yeah sux the bumper is still sold out but oh well like you said it’s better to have the phone than just the bumper

  • Less blame game, more making our damn phones. Get the paid for product out and then say who’s fault it is, for Christ’s sake it’s almost outdated! Lol just kidding, I’ve been going to my local tmo store and the past week messing around with the nexus 4. I feel like Wayne in Wayne’s World, waiting for the day my little public broadcast show hits big and I can walk in the store cash in hand.

  • Lawrence

    Got one, Phone is excellent.