Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Google Phone Hits Problems

Google’s new phone, the Nexus One, has started to turn up some problems. It’s their first mobile phone, and probably also their first real hardware they’re selling on their own (apart from appliances like the Google Search appliance). I thought it was somewhat too soon for the company to jump into something so new without much preparation. Customers are now facing a myriad of problems, problems that are not difficult to address even before they start.

First of all, Google sold the phones themselves through their own Google Checkout. Google Checkout is not new, and I guess it probably works well. But has Google themselves sold any consumer good on a big scale on their own? Well, I hear some people complaining about their order being “received” by Google only like two days after they place their order. Even a few hours is too long for an online store. Shouldn’t an order by instantly received the moment a customer places the order? It’s not as if a postman needs to send a paper purchase order from the Google Checkout building to the Google Phone building (and it wouldn’t even take two days if that were the case).

I suppose Google should have tried selling something else first, before risking tarnishing their image goofing up the ordering of the Nexus One.

Then, there are the 3G connectivity problems that are being complained about all over the Internet now. Possibly, the Nexus One wasn’t actually tested in the various telco networks of the countries where they are sold to. I don’t know how widespread this problem is, but seeing it being reported by numerous reliable new services suggests to me that they should have been reasonably well researched before the story is published. I think this 3G connectivity problem, if it is real, is probably the most disappointing.

Customer support is also a problem. I suppose Google is new to this, the support infrastructure has not yet been properly built up. Phone customers used to contact their telcos because they bought phones from the telco. But they must now contact Google (or HTC) because they are sold directly by Google. But there is no phone support. Google appears to be accepting only email queries, to which they are promising a response time of 1 or 2 days.

So, for people who want to buy the Nexus One, but haven’t placed your order yet… what will you do now?

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