When we talk about how popular a device is, there are different levels of popularity. For instance, the popularity of the Galaxy S III - a user-facing device with a massive marketing machine behind it - is going to be more popular than a stock Android device, with little to no marketing. November of last year gave us the Nexus 4 and we all knew it was going to popular with Android fans and those looking to cut ties with their carrier, thanks in large part to its excellent price tag. Starting at just $299 there's no denying the price of the phone is more than attractive.
With problems keeping the device stocked in Play Stores across the globe, it began to look like the Nexus 4 was a very popular device indeed. And while the blame was shifted from Google to LG and back again, it started to seem the Nexus 4's popularity was fueled by poor stocking and poor forecasting. Regardless of who is to blame for the shortages surrounding the bone-stock device, there has been a group of users that have been trying their best to estimate sales of the Nexus 4 through serial numbers. Whether or not these estimates are even close to being correct, they make for interesting reading and suggest that around 1 Million Nexus 4s could now have been sold. The way that users have been calculating these numbers is as follows:
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
What does a million devices tell us? Well, for a device that has been on sale since November, it doesn't sound that great but, what we need to remember here is that most of the people buying these devices are enthusiasts. So, the figure should tell us that there are a lot more Android enthusiasts, looking for a solid stock experience than we all first thought. I've still not picked up a Nexus 4, mostly due to the stocking issues but, would I replace my One X for a stock experience? Probably, considering all I run on my One X is in fact, stock Android.
Going forward, we hope that Google can get the manufacturing and distribution issues sorted out once and for all, the more stock devices sold, the better.