Last night, I received an email telling me that my long-awaited Nexus 4 would be shipping this week. This morning, my bank account was a few hundred dollars smaller (suggesting that the phone had shipped, although the promised confirmation email was nowhere to be found and my Google Wallet account still showed the phone as a pending transaction). Another email told me that the Nexus 4 would be back on sale at noon Pacific today. So the question is, has Google learned anything from its Nexus launch debacle?
So far, Google's lack of transparency with its customers or the media has hardly inspired much in the way of confidence. It seems likely that demand will still be pretty extraordinary for a well-reviewed, unlocked, $300 superphone. So will the Play Store be crushed again by demand? And will those backordered phones actually make it out the door? After all, despite the debit from my bank account overnight, I don't yet have a tracking number in hand. Frankly, given the experience so far with Google's Play Store, I'm not holding my breath.
I'll attempt to buy a phone at 3:00pm my time today and see if I have any more luck. I'll post live updates here; post your own experiences in the talk backs below. One would hope that a few thousand brilliant minds at Google have been working tirelessly to ensure a much smoother experience for their second round of Nexus 4 sales here in the States (sorry, international readers...I'm afraid you're still out of luck for now). Whether their presumed hard work pays off remains to be seen.
Update - 2:08pm EST
Thank you, Google, for making a liar out of me. Moments after I published the post above, I received that elusive shipping confirmation for my phone. I bet a lot of other folks did too.
Update - 3:30pm EST
I gave it every benefit of the doubt. I tried several times and at different periods over the last 30 minutes. And here's the shocker of the day: The Google Play Store isn't handling demand even for a phone that is supposedly shipping in 4-5 weeks!
Here's the teaser (what some companies might call a "pre-order"):
And here's the result:
When you do finally get a pre-ordered device in your cart, watch out for the double and triple orders that users experienced the last time around.
Update - 4:10pm EST
So the general consensus on Twitter and via the spate of emails I've received from frustrated would-be buyers is that Google learned absolutely nothing from their prior launch two weeks ago. Buyers are reporting the same haphazard status updates in the Play Store ("Shipping Soon", "Sold Out", "Add to cart", etc.) and the same unreliable buying process that they did on the 13th. Some folks have obviously been able to order a phone, but they're not the ones making noise on Twitter.
Wouldn't it have made more sense to wait an additional week before releasing new pre-order stock and really nail this, once and for all? The really miserable ecommerce experience getting repeated here is an absolute mystery to me.
Signing off in disillusionment for now.