The Nexus 4 came out last year to rave reviews from critics and consumers. The latest smartphone from Google and LG was a victim of its own popularity, however, and has been consistently sold out for the past month. A new report out of CES may shed some light on why that has been the case.
IBTimes UK reports that a rumor is currently circulating that says LG has stopped production of its popular Nexus 4. It would definitely explain why the device has been sold out, but why would LG, a relatively minor player in the smartphone market, stop making such a popular device. The answer might have slipped out during LG's CES press conference.
IBTimes UK reports that James Fisher, LG Electronics SVP, said that the Nexus 4 was just "the first of many" Nexus devices it was working on with Google. He also teased that the company would be revealing some new devices during the Mobile World Congress in February. One of those new devices may be a new Nexus smartphone meant to replace the Nexus 4.
At the moment, this is just a rumor, but it's a particularly interesting one. Why would LG so quickly replace the Nexus 4 with a newer model? Does Google think the Nexus line needs a refresh so soon after the Nexus 4 proved to be a critical and commercial success? There doesn't seem to anything fundamentally wrong with the hardware so it makes little sense to replace it with hardware that's only marginally better so soon.
If it did get replaced though, what would a new Nexus smartphone from LG look like? Rumors from IBTimes say that the next Nexus could sport a 2GHz quad-core processor and the next version of Android - Key Lime Pie or Kandy Kane. If it sports the next version of Android, however, the phone wouldn't be available until Google I/O which takes place in May. I don't think LG or Google want to hold off on having a Nexus smartphone for that long.
In short, I don't think there's much credence to this rumor. Is LG making a new Nexus smartphone? Probably. Are they going to phase out the Nexus 4 so soon to make room for it? Probably not. It's already been well reported that LG has "scarce and erratic" distribution, so we might just have to wait a bit before the Nexus 4 returns to the Google Play store.
In any case, we've reached out to Google for comment. We'll let you know if and when they get back to us.