Nexus 6 Play Store stock shortages a consequence of carrier involvement?
Yesterday we saw Google begin accepting pre-orders for the Nexus 6 through the Play Store – or, at least, we assume that’s what happened, because as soon as we had the chance to check things out, Google was already reporting that all configurations of Nexus 6 hardware were out of inventory, no longer available for pre-order. Just how could Google have such very, very low stocks at its disposal that the pre-orders couldn’t even last through half a day? As it turns out, there might be a very good reason why the Nexus 6 has proven so difficult to order through the Play Store, and it could be all because of the carrier involvement with this year’s Nexus release.
Much more than in previous years, Google’s drawn carrier partners into its launch plans for this new Nexus model, and while they haven’t opened just yet, all the big US networks will soon be taking Nexus 6 orders of their own. And the thing is: this is how Google expects to sell the vast majority of Nexus 6 phones – through direct carrier sales, rather than via the Play Store.
Nexus project manager Robert Hamilton explains that this is just Google acknowledging the reality of the situation, and despite very public Play Store sales of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, even those phones ended up attracting far more sales through carriers. So with the Nexus 6, Google is making a conscious effort to limit sales through the Play Store, reportedly setting aside only a tiny fraction of overall inventory for that channel.
Even with that in mind, yesterday’s sell-out felt particularly speedy, but maybe Google’s trying to pace itself; if Nexus 6 stock reserved for the Play Store really is extremely limited, it might make sense to space out availability, and hold back some for future pre-orders. Or maybe it’s even an effort to help push more sales in the direction of those carriers. Whatever’s going on, it sure feels like Google’s very much on top of this, and these apparent inventory “problems” may be more strategic than anything.