The phone apparently sold out at some point during that day, but potential buyers couldn't tell because Google's servers kept crashing under the load of people continuing to try to buy it.
As if that was not embarrassing enough, when Google was finally able to get another supply of stock from the phone's manufacturer, LG on December 17, the same thing happened again! One would have thought that the poster child for scalable computing would have been able to ramp up their ecommerce systems to meet a now known demand in that one-month period since the initial fiasco.
But they weren't. Why is that? We have our suspicions, but let's tell a little bit more of the Nexus 4 story first. It will probably become clear.
Almost immediately after folks started receiving their new Nexus 4 phones, trouble reports began cropping up in places like this, and this. Oh, and this, as well. And this. And this. And this. And this. And finally, this.
If you have caught the gist of where we are going with the article, it will come as no great surprise to hear that it took forever to get Google's attention regarding broken wifi network behavior with the Nexus 4. As the problem reports contained in the links above demonstrate, the Google Device Support team appears to be a bit autistic. Or, communication between the Google Device Support team and the Google Nexus 4 developers simply does not exist. If you read all of the bug reports listed in the links above, you now know that it took nearly two months before the Nexus 4 developers even became aware that there was a problem with the wifi drivers for the Nexus 4 that was severe enough to warrant assigning the problem to a developer.
So there we are. Google oversaw the development of a potentially game-changing Android phone, but couldn't stand up an ecommerce system that would allow people to buy it. Then they stood up a Google Device Support team that is seemingly completely tone-deaf. With apologies to Douglas Adams, we have met the Vogons, and they are the Google.
UPDATE: 9:15 am 1/14/2013. The Google device developer assigned to the Nexus 4 wifi issue just posted in the code.google.com thread dedicated to this problem indicating that there is a "known problem" with the Qualcomm wifi driver used by the Nexus 4 that is causing most, if not all of the problems that folks are complaining about. See the next blog post for more info.