Google Nexus 4 shipping in the US, UK still out of luck

Google is shipping small batches of its Nexus 4 phone to customers in the US, but UK shelves are still empty.

Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
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Google has confirmed that batches of its wildly popular Nexus 4 smart phone are shipping to some of its pre-order customers in the US. But it isn't able to shed any light on when more models will be available to buy here in the UK.

In emails sent out to certain customers west of the Azores, Google explains, "Your Nexus 4 order is scheduled to ship this week. We'll send you a notification, including tracking information, when it's on the way."

Great news if you're one of the lucky bunch who received the email, but there's no word on exactly how many of the orders are being fulfilled, or indeed when stock would become generally available across the pond.

The UK Google Play Store page for the Nexus 4 currently shows the phone in both 8GB and 16GB variants as "out of stock", with no option to buy or pre-order. I caught up with one of Google's UK spokespeople, who wasn't able to give any indication as to when more stock would be available.

If you hoped to have the bargain beast in your pocket in time for Christmas, you're probably going to be out of luck.

Google says it was taken by surprise by the popularity of the phone and as such didn't have enough stock ready. Our good friend Rupert Goodwins at ZDNet speculates 4G might be to blame, however. The Nexus 4 handsets shipping now contain the physical radios to use 4G networks, but they aren't connected, so can't be activated later with a software update.

The reason for this is that phone shares the same manufacturing process as LG's Optimus G, saving money by not having to set up another production line. It "utilised the same powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset as can be found in [the] Optimus G", an LG spokesperson explained to Techradar. It's possible that LG is changing this manufacturing process to help keep its overall costs for the budget phone down.

Have you tried to buy the Nexus 4? Are you desperate to get your hands on it or are you tempted to buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 to avoid waiting? Let me know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.