Last month, Google officially announced their new Nexus phone. The Google Nexus device offers a pure Android experience with any interface tweaks or apps added by manufacturers such as Touchwiz from Samsung or Sense from HTC. While these added UIs add a bit of flare to Android, they also add some bloat which can slow the device down. Another advantage for Nexus devices is that they’re the first to receive an Android update from Google. Thus many consumers, myself included, prefer the Nexus as their preferred choice of phone.
The new Nexus 4 has been pretty well received in the media and the number of end-users anticipating the product has been higher than any previous Nexus device. You can see this by visiting popular Android forums such as xda-developers. Considering the resources that Google has, you would think that they would have had a smooth launch for the Nexus 4. Sadly, it was anything but that.
The device was announced by Google on the 29th of October and was put on sale on the 13th of November. The first mistake Google made was not making the device available for pre-order. This would have allowed Google to measure the demand for Nexus 4 and accordingly allocate and inform their consumers on the availability status. As a result of no pre-orders, the traffic on the Play Store on the 13th of November was extremely high causing the website to fail when consumers wanted to order the device. I tried ordering as well as for the first few times, the product would automatically disappear from my shopping cart when proceeding to checkout.
When I finally managed to get my order in, I was left in a state of guessing as to what happened. While my order was acknowledged as received by Google and the amount of my order was blocked from my bank account, I received no communication from Google for days. Eventually I had to email them and got a response that my device would be shipped within a day or two. The next morning, I got an email saying that I might not receive my device for another three weeks. Radio silence after that.
The ordering of the Nexus 4 left a bad impression of Google on myself. This is a complete opposite of an order process from Apple where the buyer is informed every step of the way. Take the iPad mini for example. During the pre-ordering phase, I could see the shipping dates change and when I was ready to order, I knew that it will be about two weeks before I get one shipped. After I placed the order I was once again reminded by Apple on the shipping dates.
While Google didn’t disclose the number of Nexus devices they sold on the first weekend, I’m pretty sure that it would be less than 3 million- the amount of orders Apple received when they started taking orders for the iPad mini and iPad 4. Apple has the consumer experience nailed. From the moment you place the order to the one your product is delivered, you are always informed and about your purchase. Google needs to learn from Apple on how to treat eager consumers as they’re the ones that are most vocal about their product.