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Limited stock of Google’s hugely exciting Nexus 4 went on sale in the US over the weekend and once again sold out within hours.

The device remains unavailable SIM-free, undoubtedly the best way to buy the device seeing as it costs a paltry £239.

Three will start selling the smartphone on December 13th, but with such a low SIM-free price, it seems almost churlish to snag the device on a two-year contract, even if the monthly fees are low.

What’s more, some who have ordered the Nexus 4 are now staring down the barrel of a nine-week wait, with additional stock not expected for ten weeks.

That means that three months after the phone went on sale, many of those desperate to lay their mitts on one will have failed to do so. Google apologised for putting the phone on back order just two days after releasing it.

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And while it has offered money back, it seems that both the search giant and the phone’s manufacturer LG have made catastrophic errors in ensuring supply and demand matched up.

Android’s popularity is hardly news and when a device costing so little is revealed, is it really so surprising that thousands clamour to get hold of it?

Not only are Google and LG set to miss out on the lucrative Christmas market, they’re also looking at their device being lost among the headlines surrounding new smartphones due for release in early 2013.

As well as myriad handsets landing at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung is primed to reveal the Galaxy S4 at its own event in the same month, before Sony, HTC and Nokia all pile in with competitors at Mobile World Congress in February.

These new phones may not be up for grabs immediately, but you can bet they’ll be every bit as good as the Nexus 4 and possibly just as cheap. That means that any big hopes Google had for stealing the limelight with the Nexus 4 will have passed.

Not getting a decent supply together prior to release has done for any chances the Nexus 4 had. It remains a stunning effort and a game-changer, just one that consumers cannot lay their hands on.

Is there anything Google and LG can do to prevent their phone being outdone? Short of a miraculous turnaround in stock, not really.

What should have been 2012’s biggest smartphone success story has become a warning to rivals across the smartphone industry.

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