Are Google and LG Already Abandoning the Nexus 4?

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The Nexus 4, a product of the partnership between Google and LG, only debuted in November. In the ensuing weeks, the phone has been a very difficult one to acquire. First, there were issues with Google’s e-commerce storefront crashing after the phone went on sale, due to heavy demand for the device. Then it came to light that LG was struggling to fulfill the orders of the thousands of customers hungry for a stock Android experience.

Today, there’s a rumor that LG is preparing to halt production on the Nexus 4 entirely. Seriously. Just two months after the phone was unveiled, it might be dead.

It’s been said that product cycles in the world of mobile phones are shortening, but (if true) that’s just ridiculous.

The source of the report is the International Business Times, which has been somewhat accurate in reporting news from the mobile world, but has also been known to exaggerate a story or two for attention.

IBT reports that the Nexus 4 has “fallen down LG’s priority list amid rumours that the company seized the production of the smartphone to focus on the development of its future offerings.”

What phone would be so important to LG’s future that it would risk permanently damaging its relationship with customers (and with almightly Google, which chose LG as the sole manufacturer of this generation of Nexus devices)? IBT says that LG wants to focus on making the next Nexus. Specifically, it reports that we could see a Nexus phone with a quad-core, 2GHz processor running the next version of Android, Key Lime Pie, as early as next month.

That would certainly qualify as a stunner if it’s true.

So, what does all of this mean? Some have speculated that this situation may not be all that different from how Google and hardware partner Asus handled the Nexus 7 tablet. Several months after its initial launch, the Nexus 7 was refreshed with more internal  storage and the option of HSPA+ 3G connectivity. Perhaps Google is intentionally accelerating its product cycles in an attempt to stay well ahead of its competition.

Still, the Nexus 7 refresh didn’t happen only two months after the device went on sale — and it didn’t happen amid a swell of demand that Asus failed to meet.

At CES, LG senior vice president James Fisher said this of the Nexus 4: “This is the first of many devices to come from our growing partnership with this very selective company.”

Does this mean that LG is halting production at the behest of Google? Perhaps. Either way, LG and Google have some ‘splaining to do.

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