Google’s HTC ‘Nexus One’ phone sparks deluge of complaints; Enderle: ‘Epic failure for Google’

New Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac. $15 discount!“Google thought it could sell phones in a new way — without retail stores or customer-service reps to hold shoppers’ hands through the experience,” Jefferson Graham reports for USA Today.

“Think again: Just eight days after Google opened its online store to sell the new Nexus One smartphone directly to customers, its support forums have been overloaded with complaints on a variety of issues,” Graham reports. “They stem from coverage and delivery problems, network compatibility, dropped calls and operation woes.”

“Issues are posted on a support forum, where Google promises an e-mail response within 48 hours. Based on the volume on Google’s message forums (as of Tuesday evening more than 650 people had written about ‘spotty’ 3G coverage alone), Google has a lot of e-mail to reply to,” Graham reports. “‘This is an epic failure for Google,’ says Rob Enderle, an independent analyst at the Enderle Group. ‘It tried to create an Apple-like experience, but it’s so far off from the Apple experience, it’s not even on the same planet.'”

MacDailyNews Take: If even Enderle can see it, Google’s rebadged HTC “Nexus One” is in big trouble.

Full article here.

Olga Kharif reports for BusinessWeek, “Google, HTC, and T-Mobile USA will have to work fast to resolve the ordering-process, technical, and support issues raised by the first crop of buyers of their new device. ‘I’m a big Google fan but I’m really regretting my impulse buy,’ a commenter called Midgetall posted on Jan. 11 on Google’s Mobile site. ‘With the hassle, hidden costs and complete lack of support I’m really regretting it. Is it just me or do you feel like you have been let down?'”

Kharif reports, “Research In Motion saw complaints dent Storm sales. ‘I don’t think it got the traction it might have otherwise had because the brand got tarnished,’ says Matt Thornton, senior research analyst at Avian Securities. Problems ‘can take the shine off a hot new product,’ he says.”

“The search giant may not be able to afford to stay on the sidelines and not provide phone support to aggrieved customers for long,” Kharif reports. “‘It’s branded the Google phone,’ says Will Stofega, a program manager at consultant IDC. ‘Your name is on the front [of the device], who do you expect customers will go to? That’s not a good response to have.’ Google may need to beef up its own call-center support to be able to, in the future, sell a massive volume of phones to corporations that demand plenty of attention. ‘They should step up to the plate,’ says Stofega.

Full article here.

Jenna Wortham and Miguel Helft report for The New York Times, “Google’s celebrated algorithms may power the Web’s most popular search engine, but they have not yet been programmed to answer a call when a customer has a problem.”

“New owners of the Nexus One, the latest touch-screen smartphone to run on Android, Google’s mobile operating system, have found themselves at a loss when it comes to resolving problems with the handset,” Wortham and Helft report. “They cannot call Google for help, and the company warns that it may take up to 48 hours to respond to e-mail messages.”

Wortham and Helft report, “Ever since the phone went on sale Jan. 5, customer forums have been filled with a cacophony of gripes about the Nexus One. And Google, more accustomed to providing minimal support for its free services, has been unprepared to deal with the higher service expectations of customers who are paying as much as $529 for its high-end smartphone.”

“‘Selling someone a piece of consumer electronics is a very different ballgame,’ said Soumen Ganguly, a principal at Altman Vilandrie & Company, a Boston consulting firm that specializes in the communications industry,” Wortham and Helft report. “‘If you’re a cellphone user and this is your primary phone, waiting one to two days for a response is a long time, Mr. Ganguly said.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: LG Voyager, HTC Touch, BlackBerry Bold, Samsung Omnia, Sony Ericsson Xperia, BlackBerry Storm, Palm Pre, BlackBerry Storm 2, Motorola Droid, Google’s rebadged HTC Nexus One

Having created a phone its a lot harder than it looks. We’ll see how good their software is and we’ll see how consumers like it and how quickly it is adopted. I actually think Google has achieved their goal without Android, and I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them. It’s just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.Apple CEO Steve Jobs, January 15, 2008

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dale E.,” “Assad,” and “ironeyelid” for the heads up.]

32 Comments

  1. Enderle talking of failure should be accurate, he has a personal and direct link to knowledge on what it is to be a failure.

    However, just because he says something is a failure does not make it it so.

    There is still hope (remote) for Google in that their me too, rebranded and over-hyped phone might actually make it given Enderle’s consistent ability to get the obvious wrong.

  2. Google has never offered the “high touch/first contact” customer service that folks expect when buying retail service or devices….if it can’t be done via the web or email, then it doesn’t fit their paradigm.

    It will be interesting to see how they change and if they put in all that profit sucking customer service infrastructure and standards that Apple folks have long taken for granted

  3. I read the list of iPhone wannabes and notice that the very first one isn’t mentioned – the Samsung Instinct. It is a forgettable phone, but it should be listed. For extra credit, you could consider including the LG Prada.

  4. “The search giant may not be able to afford to stay on the sidelines and not provide phone support to aggrieved customers for long”

    Well that’s how Google does everything: “We make something we think is cool. We hope you’ll use it. We don’t really care if it works properly. And you’re on your own if you have issues.”

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