Surprise...Google Play Store selling Nexus 4 and crushed by US demand

Surprise...Google Play Store selling Nexus 4 and crushed by US demand

Summary: I had hoped that Google would have scaled its US Play Store to meet demand. It didn't.

TOPICS: Google

I'll be updating this shortly, but just wanted to let folks know that the Nexus 4 and 7 are up for sale on the Play Store now. However, good luck getting past the server errors. I'm still trying to actually buy the items in my cart.


Update: 12:24pm EST

At least from here, the 8 and 16GB phones are now showing as "Coming soon" again. If you can even get the play store to load. It's slow, buggy, and links often redirect to the home page. The Nexus 10 appears to be in stock, but that's not on my wish list for the day. This appears to be an even bigger e-commerce fail than usual for Google.

Update: 12:33pm EST

The Play Store is such a disaster that it actually seems to be crashing Chrome. Could be coincidence, but I don't think so. Users are reporting repeated boots of items from their carts and are unable to buy phones or accessories.

Update: 12:38pm EST

The Play Store seems to be stablizing, but still no luck on buying a phone. I don't want to be notified. I want to buy something. If Apple can make this work for much higher demand, shouldn't Google, of all companies, be able to scale an online store?

Here are some images from the initial shopping cart failures when the Nexus 4 briefly went on sale (you can follow the link or navigate the iframe below):

Update: 12:50pm EST

Wait, what was that?! In stock again! No, wait, the Nexus was just booted from my cart and is back to "Coming Soon." Nice.

And 2 minutes later, in stock again, clicked Purchase, and another error.

Update: 1:06pm EST

While the Nexus 10 tablet is showing In Stock, attempts to add it a shopping cart end in a server error. Looks like I could buy a Chromebook if I wanted another one, but reports are coming in of failures for the new Chromebooks at the end of the purchase process (thanks for @SJVN for that update).

Update: 1:47pm EST

Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Zippo. A few moments of hope when the Nexus 4 showed as available for purchase, only to be dashed against the rocks when the transaction failed. And now, many refreshes and several cache clearings later, it's still coming soon. I'm no longer holding my breath. For those of you who managed to snag a phone today, share your experiences in the talkbacks. I'll update again if anything changes.

Update: 1:54pm EST

CNET is reporting that most of this refreshing was for naught. The Nexus 4 sold out within moments of going live in the US Play Store. Thank you, Google, for your clear messages and transparency. And for doing such an awesome job of keeping the Play Store running smoothly under heavy load. Glad I didn't cancel my Verizon service just yet.

Topic: Google

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • My Nexus 10 purchase finally went through

    Be patient. Keep trying. I was able to finally purchase a Nexus 10. Clearing the cache seemed to help. Is the Nexus 4 really sold out? It says Notify Me again.

    - Rick
    • I don't think it's sold out

      In the UK, it actually showed Sold Out - here it just keeps bouncing back and forth between Add to Cart and Coming Soon.

      Thanks for the update!
      • Now it's sold out :)

        Had the same problem this morning 9am my time. Store crashed all the time but I eventually got to order my Nexus 4.

        Doing a hard reload of the page (not just refresh) helped and otherwise a lot of patience. I think it took me about 30 minutes. Will be shipped on 15th.
    • contract??

      Is that price with contract??? if it's open and no contract then OMG! TY Google! I would buy 3 right now and dump my awesome iPhone 5... it does not say with contract agreement.
      • free as a bird

        The Nexus 4 is unlocked and without contract. Pick whatever you like :)
        • ty

          FINALLY!!! Never made sense why tables were cheaper than unlocked smart phones.
  • Nexus 10

    Stuck on "Your purchase will complete momentarily" for 10 minutes now.....
    • Finally!

      Took a half hour of trying, but finally got my Nexus 10 ordered.
  • I went through, but now Google wallet showed this "Pending"... Am I in yet?

    Google Inc. - Nexus 4 (16GB)
    Online purchase

    Order Date: November 13, 2012 10:50AM UTC-6
    Order Number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Nexus 4 (16GB) - The next generation phone. Thin, light, and designed for Google Play.
    Shipping (Two Day):

    Shipping is a bit of the kill, there's no other option to choose though. I hesitated at first since initially expected free shipping like Apple store.
    Also receive Order Receipt in the email.
    • I hope so.

      All products we order stay at pending until shipped.
      Juan Sifuentes
  • Got mine

    I got one. It’s not sold out…See picture here: You must keep refreshing the cart until you see an ADD TO CART. Sometimes, when you add, it shows empty cart. But I kept trying for about 5 minutes and then… it worked and I was able to order at 12:08 pm Central time USA. I plan on using this phone with the Solavei network, which will allow it to have 4G speeds on the HSPA+ Network. Solavei allows for unlimited talk, text and data for only $49 a month – all you can eat, no gimmicks. Heard about it?
  • Don't give up!

    My Nexus 4 order just went through.
  • Epic Fail!

    This was the most confusing purchase (or in my case non purchase) in history. First they said it would be on sale the 13th. I check at 9am, 10am then finally read an article that says it will be on sale at noon. Ok. I start checking at 11:00, and at 11:35 I get "add to my cart" I add it and get the error shown in the article. Then I try and "Proceed" with no luck for the next 20 minutes. Finally, I start again at noon, and I get "Notitfy Me". Sold out. Who bought the phone? Just a bunch of people who then sell it on Ebay for $150 over Google's price? How did they get it? It went on sale a half hour before it was supposed to go on sale and sold out before noon? How can anyone get this phone?
    Google gives zero information, and zero notification (yes I asked them to notify me 2 weeks ago, no notification). No information on when it will be available again. Just "Notify Me". I'm really dissapointed in Google at this point.

    I had been checking the Google Play Store since midnight EST. When it finally started selling I had everything set up and ready to go to buy the Nexus 4 16GB and the Nexus 10 32GB. I added them to my cart, clicked on checkout and got an error. After I refreshed and retried once more I got a confirmation!!! A big THANK YOU from Google play and an order # just 5 minutes into the buying time. I was thrilled!!!
    About half an hour later I got an email, again confirming my purchase, payment method, address, etc. However, half an hour after that Google Play sends me an order cancellation because my address was "invalid". It asked me to not use a PO box and try again.
    I DID NOT USE A PO BOX, I used the same address I've used for all my online purchases. I also checked with USPS and the way I wrote my address is completely valid.

    I don't understand. :'(