The estimate, which was first publicized on Wednesday, is that LG and Google have shipped about 400,000 of the hot handsets as of December of last year.
That's hardly in the range of the iPhone 5 or even the Galaxy S III, which means that Google and LG were pretty conservative with their sales estimates, which is why the device seems sold out all the time.
To figure out the numbers, the cagey enthusiasts used the IMEI numbers of their phones and an LG link that’s is usually reserved for finding new firmware to get a full device serial that can be used to estimate the number of handsets manufactured, as well as to determine where the device was sold, the production date and even the device's color.
LG users can take this link and their IMEI number, and the site will return the IMEI along with by a string of characters that resembles the following: “LGE960 AUSGBK 212KPHG228345 20121206 GLOBAL/GLOBAL N N”
LGE960 = the Nexus 4
A = unknown
US = Country of sale (values include ‘US’ for the U.S., ‘HK’ for Hong Kong, ‘AU’ for Australia, etc.)
G = Storage (G = 16GB, 8 = 8GB)
BK = Color
2 = ?
12 = Production Month (November)
K = Production Country (Korea)
PHG = ?
188745 = The line or production number, showing that phone was the 228,345th Nexus 4 manufactured.
20121206 = The production date in YYYYMMDD format.
Naturally this is just an estimate, but according to the production numbers, LG manufactured about 70,000 Nexus 4 devices in October, 90,000 in November, and 210,000 in December. It seems that both Google and LG realized they had a pretty good hit on their hands, and that they could increase their production and still sell every device.
Showing how conservative the companies were in terms of their forecasts, some end users discovered their devices were manufactured after they ordered them.
A new report issued on Wednesday said that T-Mobile USA will begin selling the devices in its retail stores later this month.