Congratulations Google: you’ve botched the Nexus 4 launch and should feel embarassed

There are many things in life for which to be embarrassed. Like Steve Ballmer’s first Windows OS commercial. Or Christina Aguilera forgetting the words to the National Anthem. Or Apple’s latest Maps release. Embarrassment comes to those who deserve it, and after yesterday’s debacle, I think Google deserves to feel awfully embarrassed. In my eyes, yesterday’s product launch of the company’s new Nexus line-up was a complete and utter failure, if not for the company itself, then at least for its reputation in the eyes of loyal customers. Would-be buyers were plagued with non-stop server errors, buggy shopping carts, flawed payment methods, and jammed phone support lines. What should have been an exciting and fulfilling moment ultimately left thousands of would-be buyers frustrated, angry and worst of all, empty handed.

Almost immediately after the launch of Google’s new Nexus line, reports began pouring in from all across the globe. Would-be buyers were experiencing major technical difficulties while trying to purchase their shiny new Nexus devices. The list of issues is long and troubling, starting with the fact that most users did not even receive their email notification from Google letting them know that the products were now available to purchase. Thankfully, trusty blogs like Talk Android were there to let users know that Google had flipped the switch and that the products were now live.

Once users headed over to the Play Store they were greeted by difficulties adding items to their cart. Many reported having items in their cart mysteriously disappear several times. After adding them back, they would disappear yet again. If the items did stay in the cart, then users were not able to check out. Server-error after server-error kept users staring at the devices in their cart, but with no way to actually purchase them. On the seemingly rare occasion that a buyer was able to get from the cart to the purchase window, many users had issues with Google Wallet  declining the charges (both my brother and I experienced this first hand).

On top of all of this, Google’s supply was extremely limited and sold out almost immediately. Because of all the bugs, many users actually ended up purchasing two or three more phones than they intended, depleting precious stock that could have been sold to other anxious buyers. Needless to say, Google’s Nexus phone support lines were jammed and were actually rejecting callers from even being allowed to talk with anyone. All of these things add up to one of the most botched and embarrassing product launches in recent memory.

It seems that everything that could have possibly gone wrong during a product launch did go wrong. One would think that the biggest and best technology company in the world would have handled the entire situation better, making sure transactions were painless and that supply matched demand. I for one am extremely disappointed with Google and I know that there are several thousand (if not hundreds of thousands) of others who had a similar experience and share my sentiment.

Yesterday was supposed to be an exciting and joyful day, but Google turned it into a massive let down. Google, you should be embarrassed of yourself.

What about you? Did you experience a similar situation while trying to buy a new Nexus product? Do you think I’m overreacting? How should Google make it up to its users?

About the Author: Alexon Enfiedjian

Alex Enfiedjian is an Android enthusiast and tech journalist from Central California.

  • Mike

    I think this happens when you have an awesome product. I am no Apple fan but it happens to them a lot. Apple has issues with this and Google is now having issues. Not really a problem I would say, just luck of the draw with a few hiccups.

  • Omega192

    I had errors and issues, but I was still able to purchase a phone even after waiting an hour to transfer funds into my account. I was pleasantly surprised.

    • Mike


  • Bianca

    After trying to buy a Nexus 4 for like 20 times and failing every single time I bought an Xperia T instead. I told myself it was a sign that CM10 stable came out yesterday for several devices including the Xperia T. If I bought the Nexus 4 during the next sale I would still support Google with my money, and obviously they don’t want it …

    • jajay

      So because u couldn’t get the nexus the second u wanted it u went with the xperia? Lol wow.. Cause that’s so muchbetter than waiting a day or two…

    • Mike

      heh, you’re saying they don’t want your money because of demand? I suppose you have a choice and you made it, love choice!

    • Seb

      I’m unhappy (even angry a little bit) but I would not go as far as to buy a Sony phone (unless it’s a Nexus)…LOL!!!!!

  • ruudv10

    To be honest, i really dont care. Right now i am short on money to buy one… and in a month when i have the funds these issues will be long gone :-)

  • André Boilard

    That was my case. I planned buying both a 16 GB Nexus 4 and a 32 GB Nexus 10. I began checking on the site around 11:45 AM, Eastern Time. When I checked, the 16 GB Nexus 4 was not available, so I tried getting a 8 GB Nexus 4 instead, though I was disappointed of the absence of the 16 GB version. I added an 8 GB Nexus 4 and a 32 GB Nexus 10 to my cart, but then was not able to go to checkout, a cryptic message telling me that an error occured. After a lot of retries, suddenly the Nexus 4 disappeared from my cart and was marked as unavailable. I finally was able to checkout the Nexus 10, but no Nexus 4 for me. I agree that Google should have planned ahead for the demand for both these items, after all the hype surrounding both the phone and the tablet. That’s embarrassing for Google not being able to handle properly the demand for them, with all the numerous crashes of its checkout system. I have yet to receive a confirmation of the shipment of the Nexus 10.

    • ddpacino

      How exactly were they supposed to predict the extremely high demand? Show me one site that has a major release that handles crazy traffic like that without any issues at all…

      • Seb

        come on mate…how could they be that far off, 22mins on the play-store UK before it sold out???…this is Google we are talking about not toys R us, even the I phone sold out after the first week end, I doubt Google even had 1 million devices on sale worldwide!!!…I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

    • Mike

      Yes, it is very hard to know the demand, they will learn

      • skygolf

        Hum… Genius! # of ppl signed up for “Notify Me” should be a clue.

  • Gabor

    Nexus 10 buying: no problem occured

  • jay

    It was far from from embarrassment and no where near apples map blunder.. This author is complety over reacting and should be ashamed of himself.. This article actually made me angry.. I can assure you no one bought three phones on accident.. Do me a favor and stick with your iPhone.. Leave the real tech for the big boys.

    • Mike

      actually Jay some did buy a few phones on accident, the page refreshed, however these issues got taken care of

  • Aimee

    Oh just shut it already. One (or a few) hiccup(s) out of many, many other awesome updates. Big deal.

    • Mike

      thanks, what I am trying to say to some

  • Mike

    if you miss out of course you will be angry. Lots of people missed out and they are mad. Blaming the wrong people I think, the issues that are had with multiple orders got taken care of.

  • wwsiralexd

    You yourself should be embarrassed. You overreacted like a girl.

  • Seb

    I can’t believe so many of you are so forgiving, Google HAS botched up this launch BIG TIME. Please do not for one second compare this launch to the I Phone, Apple has stores everywhere and takes pre-orders on-line facilities we did/ do not have, we won’t know how successful the launch really was to Google until we know how man devices they had for sale in the first place (I doubt it was in the millions). The play store crashed several times and there was no way to get to a customer adviser on the phone, now I pissed off having sold my Galaxy Nexus to buy the Nexus 4, I’m left with no phone and a £40.00 contract to pay monthly until Google decides to put the device back on sale again “In a few weeks”.
    Now I’m sure that if I did manage to buy the device my comment would not read the same but I took a day off for this and wish I didn’t, I actually believe this whole launch was a publicity stunt…DAMN YOU GOOGLE!!!!

    • Alex Enfiedjian

      Seb, I’m also stuck with no phone. Wondering how long I’ll be left out in the cold. Hopefully Google will restock soon (and restock with enough supply!)

      • Bryce Barrand

        Um. Ever heard the phrase “counting your chickens before they hatch”? Not a good idea to sell your phone before getting the new one.

    • Mark Mckenney

      You are correct Apple does much better job…

  • Aaron Burke

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say the product release was run by the same team and system as the Google I/O registration.

  • lagnis

    They botched the Nexus 7 launch so why is anyone surprised about this? It is curious that a tech giant such as Google can’t get online shopping right. It was inane. Practically no time to think. You had to buy what was in your cart or risk losing out. Even clicking unlink phone from Google account forced a refresh wasting precious seconds. I wanted two nexus 4 16 GB models, and got them in two separate transactions and thus paid double the shipping. I wanted two bumper cases but of course they were sold out.

  • lagnis

    What about using a lottery system to allocate available units to willing buyers, different than the usual preorder. it would avoid the madness…

  • Andrew Scorgie

    I nearly had 3 Nexus 10’s ordered, was able to cancel the order before it got to the processing page, I never ordered one in the end.

  • Tenkely

    Get this dude some cheese for his whine…

  • Andy J

    No, you are not overreacting. The only people who say you are either didn’t want one or managed to get one, for every person that managed to get one I can guarantee at least 100 did not. What is worse is that not only has there not been any sort of apology, they say stock (for the UK at least) is another few weeks away, and unless they open a pre order system, there could be another 3 events like this one, before the demand starts to die down. They claim they weren’t ready for the demand, which pardon my French is complete bollocks! Every tech blog under the sun has been on about the nexus line for the last month. But ignoring the obvious for just a moment, with no pre order system in place, how exactly are the mighty Google planning on ensuring stock equals demand? Various points have been raised all over the internet about this shambles one of which is that there should of been a limit to the number of devices each individual could order because now we have the situation where people bought them specifically to eBay, and there is no reason to think they wouldn’t simply do exactly the same when the next batch of stock is made available.

  • gadgetgurl2012

    Unfortunately yes it was an epic failure. I had been on the look out for this device for about a month, adding myself to the email list, reading every blog and review, and waiting anxiously for the moment to purchase. When the day came I Never received the promised email and by 8:30 a.m. play store had the “coming soon” still showing to later in the day change it to “sold out”. I even went as far as to call Google just to hear yes they were out
    and yes they did not know by when they would have more. I was so ready to jump the carrier ship. Meanwhile those that bought more then one phone where already selling them at inflated prices via eBay. A total disappoinment.

  • Mark Mckenney

    Google should have planned better. Always same excuses in the tech world for not being prepared. I doubt they actually had that many in inventory of the Nexus 4.. Now they have no clue when be back in stock kinda sad…very poor planning.

  • Jeff

    I agree. I waited a long time for this launch…was online with Google Play from 7:00 am until late afternoon (including phone calls to Google) with no luck, no notification and when I complained via email, no response. I suppose when you are weighed down by all that cash, no accountability is required.

  • oli72

    Stop bitching about nexus 4 and get an iPhone 5. I’m waiting just like the rest with the next stock.

  • DopeStick

    [quote]Yesterday was supposed to be an exciting and joyful day, but Google turned it into a massive let down. Google, you should be embarrassed of yourself.[/quote]

    Really? Listen to yourself…”joyful day”…? It is just a phone. So Google made a full people sore, but to be at the end of your flipping tether over a phone launch?

  • oli72

    Google isn’t the problem it’s people that start bitching about supply and article please.

  • martin clinton

    I somehow managed to order two N10’s even though only one of my many attempts actually succeeded. Luckily I was able to cancel one of them (I’m not bothered about fleecing people on ebay).
    As for ‘how could they know?’, how about pre-ordering as Amazon do with kindles? With that, as the demand gets bigger, the estimated ship date slips back, so at least you have some idea, and it prevents an 8.00am feeding frenzy that is always likely to crash the servers!

  • Nudo

    Reminds me of when a new mmo launches. Same thing.

    • Nudo

      Just much more expensive hehe

  • Nudo

    I hope they allow preorders next year.

  • wwsiralexd

    I wanted one, but couldn’t get it. I’ll wait until it’s available again. It’s just a damn phone.

  • 1huckabuck

    I would think so. Google needs to freakin’ work and makes PRODUCTION team across all of its different departments to work flawlessly. Be possibly the first company to…Strive for PERFECTION Google. Don’t make excuses Google, Fix the problems and move.

  • 1huckabuck

    There is no excuse for Google or any company for that matter to have screw ups. Your company should run the way you direct it by being in there getting your hands dirty, by actually knowing the state of affairs of your own company, or hell, have contingency plans drawn up in case one or a hundred different things that could go wrong. Its a cop out to say some things will go bad no matter what. Your company should be in YOUR control, and not be some Company that is unmanageable.

  • tb

    it’s not just that the roll out had some problems. At $500 each when they sell you 2 instead of 1 that hurts. Then when you call to cancel and they say you can’t and that you can refuse the delvery that hurts also because now instead of spending $500 you’ve been charged $1000 plus double tax and double shipping.

  • Ronald Geiken

    Google recreated the Titanic!!!! They are handling what should have been a spectacular product launch like Woolworth or the Dollar Store. They should have had millions of these products stockpiled in cities all over the Globe. They could probably have surpassed the latest Apple launch, but they end up looking like a bunch of high schoolers pulling Hi-Jinks. Now you see it now you don’t !!! How can anybody have any respect for Google considering the way they, or correction, the way they didn’t handle this. They were Missing in Action when the whole world was looking for them to pull off the Sale of the Century. Are they a Foremost Technology leader, or just a flash in the pan. We will anxiously be waiting to see how they recover from this Debacle. Heads should be rolling in the Aisles in Google Land!!!!

  • Googlefail

    massive fail by google – in australia they released the device at a random time without any notice, and sold out within 20 minutes. i had been checking the page about 3 times an hour, and then without any notice when i checked it again – sold out.

    turns out when i went to lunch, after checking it at 12.02pm, with no success, they released it at 12.08pm, and it was sold out by 12.30pm..

    perhaps google were trying to teach me a lesson that i shouldnt have gone to lunch and should have refreshed their page every minute like some kind of madman in order to “guess” when it the launch would occur and not miss out.

    i also didnt receive an email notification, which would have been useful because i would have seen that on my phone and logged in to buy at that time…

    i dont think there could have been a worse launch than this. ever.

    actually no, its possible, google took our money, and then murdered us without giving us a phone.. that would be the only way this launch could have been worse.

  • frustrated too

    This story was written November 12, 2012, but it still holds true February 18, 2013 and could be written now with the exactly same words.

    Google should be very embarrassed about the Nexus 4 launch – even 3-months later – I’ve been trying every day, using three different computers, in case cookies were an issue, for the past 10 days and get the “transaction cannot be completed” screen; while at the same time on a side bar it says it will be shipped in one week.

    I also use an app that’s supposed to tell me when it’s available, and each time i get an email from them saying it’s in stock I apply within 10 seconds – only to another disappointment.

    If Google can’t supply them why not issue a press release – but the silence from Google only makes it more frustrating – I’m slowly building up an internal feeling of “Anything but Google”.