Nexus 4 Owners Estimate One Million Handsets Have Shipped Since November 2012 Launch

Last month we reported how Android enthusiasts on the XDA Developer forum had worked out a method to estimate the smartphone’s production run based on each device’s IMEI number. Going into the end of 2012 the estimate suggested LG had produced about 400,000 devices in total. Now, according to a post on the same forum by member draugaz, Nexus 4 production has passed the millionth device.

Google declined to comment on Nexus 4 sales figures when contacted by TechCrunch but a source close to the company indicated that Mountain View is very happy with the take up so far.

The XDA post, put up on the forum late yesterday, indicates that the 999,998th Nexus 4, a black device apparently sold in Turkey (although Google Play does not currently offer the device in that market), was produced on February 5th. The post notes:

Ladies and gentleman, we just reached the millionth device!

(of course just judging by serial number, i.e. minus gaps)

ATURBK 302KPSL999998 20130205 TURKEY

Which means, IMEI prefix 35391805* is now officially complete and the next one will be started.

Google’s LG manufactured Nexus 4 smartphone has been in and out of stock since going on sale in November. The two companies have continually declined to comment on the quantity of available units so it’s been hard to quantify the level of demand for what is a high-end 3G device made all the more attractive by its mid-range pricing (£240 for the 8GB version direct from Google Play in the UK; $199 from T-Mobile US, for example).

The quad-core (Snapdragon S4) smartphone which, being a Nexus device, runs the latest flavour of Google’s mobile platform (Android 4.2 Jelly Bean), packs in a 4.7 inch display with a resolution of 320ppi, has 2GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel rear camera plus a front-facing lens, along with NFC, wireless charging and a 2,100 mAh battery.

If correct, one million Nexus 4 units sold in a little over two months is not bad for a device that targets Android’s enthusiast, power user fringe, especially considering limited stock levels have meant it has been frequently listed as out of stock and — crucially — the fact that in most markets it is only being sold direct from Google, rather than being stocked and marketed by carriers in their retail stores.

Google Play currently offers the Nexus 4 in seven markets:  Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.

Using the production estimates in the XDA developer forum thread, members have also estimated Nexus 4 production run totals by month — which appear to show production ramping up considerably in January. The estimates break down as follows:

  • October: 70,000
  • November: 90,000
  • Dec: 210,000
  • January: 550,000+

Here’s how Nexus 4 owners are crowdsourcing their IMEI numbers to generate the estimate:

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 = Production year (2012)
12 = Production Month (December)
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