Google, T-Mobile respond to Nexus One customer complaints
Google called unprepared to handle consumer problems
Computerworld - Google and T-Mobile USA today reacted to hundreds of online complaints about the Nexus One smartphone and confusing customer support for the device, with a Google spokesperson characterizing the complaints as having come from a "small group of customers."
In general, the Google spokesperson said via e-mail, the search company has worked quickly to "fix" problems with Nexus One customers who had their calls rerouted, sometimes repeatedly, between phone support at T-Mobile USA and HTC, the phone's maker.
Google is also working with T-Mobile and HTC on a specific problem causing the Nexus One to fail to connect reliably at fast 3G speeds.
A week after launching the new Android device, Google's response to customer complaints was described as slow and almost inept by industry analysts, who noted that Google has never sold hardware and may not be prepared to handle customers' problems.
"Customer support is a huge effort even for a company of Google's size because they have never really had hardware support inside Google," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "It's puzzling why they went this route when the carriers already have infrastructure to do this. ... Google needs to reveal more here so that buyers don't think they are naive."
Added Will Stofega, an analyst at IDC, "It's almost inconceivable these problems weren't anticipated." He predicted that the problems will die down but said he hopes they will serve as a lesson for Google.
A key concern for many online customers is that they had to turn to HTC or T-Mobile for phone support because Google was only answering complaints via e-mail, with response times of one or two days.
"It's ironic and unacceptable that you have to e-mail a complaint, especially since it's a phone they are selling," said Kevin Burden, an analyst at ABI Research Inc. "You basically have to go on a PC to e-mail a question."
A T-Mobile spokeswoman said that T-Mobile is providing support for phone service, including billing, while Google supports device sales and software and HTC supports the hardware, including device troubleshooting, warranties, repairs and returns.
Regarding 3G issues, the Google spokesperson added via e-mail that Google is "working quickly to fix any problems" involving complaints that the phone was not staying on T-Mobile's faster 3G network and was reverting to its slower EDGE network.
A T-Mobile online forum included 168 complaints and a few praises regarding the 3G issue as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern Tuesday, several days after comments were first added on the topic under the heading "No 3G or fluctuating between 3G and EDGE." The Google spokesperson reiterated a statement posted Saturday on the T-Mobile forum that said, "Google and T-Mobile are investigating this issue and hope to have more information for you soon. We understand your concern and appreciate your patience."
Most of the more than 200 comments on a Google support forum were about the 3G connection problem.
Analysts said it doesn't appear that Google sorted out which entity -- Google, HTC or T-Mobile -- would handle certain support complaints.
Burden said Google might have planned to issue a "mostly ready" Nexus One, on the premise that the company would wait and see what kinds of complaints arose. "That seems to the emerging industry model, to fix problems as they arise," he said. "Did Google really think they could release a phone and it would be smooth sailing?"
In response to a smaller number of complaints about early-termination fees, T-Mobile confirmed that Nexus Ones that use T-Mobile's network under a two-year contract will also be subject to its standard early-termination fee, in addition to Google's own equipment recovery fee. The Engadget Web site noted that the total of the two fees could well be $550, with $350 for Google's recovery fee and $200 from T-Mobile if a user decides to end the service after the 14-day trial period and before the four-month early-termination period ends. The cost of the Nexus One from T-Mobile is $179 subsidized, and $529 unsubsidized.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, send e-mail to email@example.com or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed .
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts