A Little Sleuthing Leads Nexus 4 Enthusiasts To Estimate About 400K In Sales Of The Device

Google and LG’s Nexus 4 has been such a coveted item this past holiday season, that it’s been in and out of stock since its release in mid-November. Because Google doesn’t publicly comment on device sales, it’s been hard to understand exactly how much OEM partner LG produced for the device’s initial launch.

However, a little sleuthing by some Android enthusiasts and Nexus 4 owners suggests that LG produced about 400,000 devices going into the end of last year.

How did they do it? They’ve taken the IMEI numbers of their phones and backtracked the production number of their devices using an LG mobile link that’s usually used for finding new firmware. An IMEI number, or International Mobile Station Equipment Identity number, is usually printed on the battery compartment of the inside of the phone. It can be used to prevent stolen phones from accessing a network.

If you take this link and put your IMEI number at the very end, this LG site will spit back out the IMEI followed by a long string of characters that looks something like this: “LGE960 ACAGBK 212KPHG188745 20121206 GLOBAL/GLOBAL N N”

If you break this string apart, you get:
LGE960 = phone model
A = ?
CA = Country where the device was sold. (Others include ‘US’ for the U.S., ‘HK’ for Hong Kong, ‘AU’ for Australia and so on.)
G = Storage (G = 16GB, 8 = 8GB)
BK = Color
2 = ?
12 = Production Month (November)
K = Production Country (Korea)
PHG = ?
188745 = The line or production number, showing that phone was the 188,745th device made.
2012121206 = The production date in YYYYMMDD format

A number of Nexus 4 owners have been sharing and compiling the production numbers day by day (see below). It suggests that LG made about 70,000 devices in October, 90,000 in November and 210,000 in December. Google declined to comment on these numbers.

Still, they’re interesting for a couple reasons. It appears that Google and LG have been conservative with the Nexus 4 launch. LG has previously said that the Nexus 4 “had proven extremely popular, and as such retailers have been met with huge demand.” Google’s U.K. and Ireland managing director Dan Cobley likewise has said there have been communication problems on both ends with managing supply for the Nexus 4.

Keeping supplies tight have made the Nexus 4 debut a world apart from the launch of the original HTC-manufactured Nexus One back in 2010.

265133 14-th ADEUBK GERMANY
266133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
267133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
268133 15-th ADEUBK GERMANY
269133 15-th ADEUBK GERMANY
270133 15-th ASWSBK SWS Switzerland (looks like around 500 units)
271133 16-th AISRBK Israel
272133 15-th ADEUBK Germany
273133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
274133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
275133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
277133 17-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
278133 17-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
279133 16-th AMYSBK
280123 17-th AMYSBK
289000 18-th UK
300123 19-th ADEGBK
305112 19-th ACA8BK
306000 28-Oct (?) AUSGBK, 211KPPB306000 “csn” is also very different from the “surroundings”
306001 8-Oct AUSGBK 211KPHG306001 esnoutgodate=null >>Never shipped?
306009 4-th Dec AUSGBK 212KPHG306009 esnoutgodate=null
306010 19-th AUS8BK 212KPYR306010 esnoutgodate=null
306020 19-th AUS8BK esnoutgodate=null
314001 19-th AFRGBK
314002 19-th ADEGBK
314050 19-th ADEGBK
314123 19-th ADEGBK
315112 19-th ADE8BK
319123 20-th ADEGBK
320123 20-th ADEGBK
321123 20-th AAUGBK
325112 20-th AUSGBK
330123 20-th AUSGBK
340123 21-th ACAGBK
350123 22-th AUS8BK
360123 26-th AUSGBK
365123 27-th AUS8BK
370123 27-th AUSGBK
374110 28-th AUSGBK