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The Nexus 4 is the reference Android handset for the next year or so. It is the only handset sold that will run a naked version of Google's Android operating system. The device itself is a re-work of the LG Optimus G, with a somewhat more elegant hardware design. It has a 4.8-inch HD display, an 8-megapixel camera and a quad-core processor.
The Nexus devices have long been popular (put on a pedestal, perhaps?) for their plain version of Android. Nearly all other Android phones sold are maligned with manufacturer and carrier applications, services and user interface customizations. The Nexus devices are free of these intrusions. They are pure Android, as Google intended. They are also the first to be updated and gain new features when Google updates the Android operating system.
[ Samsung has been very successful with its Android smartphones. See Samsung: 100M Galaxy S Phones In Channel. ]
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Nexus 4 is the low price. Google is selling it for $299/$349 without a contract. That's a good deal for such a phone, especially one that is unlocked and can be used on pretty much any GSM-based carrier the owner might wish.
Mix together the hardware, software and price, and you have a popular device -- one so popular that it isn't available. The Google Play Store has been "sold out" of the Nexus 4 since late November. The device was also briefly available at T-Mobile stores, but sold out there, too. Reports suggest that the Nexus 4 will return to T-Mobile stores this month, but so far it hasn't happened.
Many believe that LG woefully underestimated the number of Nexus 4's it would need to satisfy demand. Perhaps it did. Other reports suggest that LG's run of Nexus 4 devices has already been finalized ahead of the Nexus 5's debut. LG denies all of this.
"Our domestic Pyeongtaek manufacturing plant has been producing the Nexus 4 without a hitch," a company representative said to Korean news outlet Chosun Ilbo Tuesday. "There is no problem in supplying. [Nexus 5 rumors] are unfounded. The Nexus 4 by LG is significant in that it's becoming more successful than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and [Mobile World Congress 2013 products] have not been finalized."
The only problem is, LG's comments don't really mesh well with reality when it comes to availability of the Nexus 4.