Google experienced some technical issues when the Nexus 4 went on sale earlier today, yet the company still managed to burn through its initial supply in short order. But if you're among the many that missed out on the first wave and were hoping for a second chance at your nearest T-Mobile store tomorrow, we've got some bad news. Yes, the carrier will indeed be selling the 16GB Nexus 4 for $199 — about $150 less than the unsubsidized model — but that's only if you commit to a two-year contract. Factoring in monthly data costs, you'll quickly be paying back any money saved at the outset.
Avoiding a contract will cost you
For anyone not looking to become a T-Mobile customer, the Nexus 4 will be priced much higher at $499. Again, this is the same 16GB model that retails for $349.99 at Google Play. So whereas signing up for a two-year wireless contract will "save" you $150, you'll need to pay the same amount if you want to walk away with the flagship Android handset free of any obligations. In the grand scheme of things, that's still less than the full retail cost of other Android devices in T-Mobile's lineup. Samsung's 16GB Galaxy S III still runs $579.99 off-contract, for example, and the newly-released Galaxy Note II demands $699.99. Such a significant price disparity also hints Google is sacrificing some profit as part of its strategy to sell directly to consumers via Play.
It's the same exact device regardless of where you buy it
There's some good news though: The Verge has confirmed that the Nexus 4 sold by T-Mobile is identical to the model offered by Google. T-Mobile hasn't modified the device with any custom software or other changes that would prevent you from receiving timely Android updates. "It’s the same device that consumers can buy in the Google Play store," said a T-Mobile spokesman.
If you do decide to lay down a bit extra for Google's latest hardware, or if the return of unlimited data has convinced you to become a T-Mobile subscriber, the Nexus 4 will be available in "select" stores starting tomorrow. T-Mobile wouldn't reveal specifics as to which locations those are, so it'd be a good idea to pick up the phone and make some calls tonight to avoid another case of heartbreak tomorrow.