When Google launched its Nexus One smartphone Jan. 5, it did so via its new retail channel Webstore, in a strategic shift experts said would give Google more control over how it sells Android devices and make buying them a leap of faith for consumers. Some who bought the mobile device for $529 unlocked or $179 from Nexus One service provider T-Mobile are now complaining about everything from poor 3G coverage from T-Mobile to miscommunications about the properties of or pricing plans for the smartphone. A Google spokesperson tells eWEEK Google is aware that users are reporting 3G coverage problems and the company is investigating these reports.
Google faced its first stiff test in selling its Nexus One smartphone when
the company's mobile help forum lit up with complaints about 3G service and
other concerns late last week.
When Google launched the smartphone Jan. 5, it did so via its new retail
channel Nexus One Webstore,
marking a strategic shift experts
claimed would give Google more control
over how it sells Android
devices and make buying them a leap of faith for consumers. Google alone provides the Nexus One
through its Webstore and
issues are addressed within two days in a triage-like fashion through Google's
online support forum.
Consumers who bought the device for $529 unlocked or for $179 from Nexus One
service provider T-Mobile are now complaining about everything from poor 3G coverage
to miscommunication about the smartphone's properties or pricing plans.
A college student from St. Louis
with the handle of Spherical Puma lodged the first complaint Jan. 6:
"Has anyone been getting spotty
to no 3g coverage? I switched from a moto cliq [Motorola Cliq, another Android
phone], where I had 3-4 bars of 3g in my house constantly, to a Nexus One. I
now either get 1 or no bars of 3g. I made sure that always use 2g was disabled,
and I can't seem to figure out what the problem is."
Mark Baird, a software developer from Knoxville,
Tenn., chimed in Jan. 7:
"My [Android-based T-Mobile] G1
has 3G with full strength, but sitting right next to it my Nexus has 1 bar of
3G and keeps switching to Edge [Enhanced Data for Global Evolution]. If I let
it sit for a while it may go up to 3 bars of signal strength but as soon as I
start trying to use it the signal strength drops back down to one bar. I called
T-mobile to make sure that I didn't need to activate the phone or something to
get 3G service.
They said my account looked fine and
that they couldn't give me any more support since I had a Nexus One, that I had
to call HTC. So I called HTC and they said that your 3G service is a
T-mobile issue and they couldn't help me. The fact that my G1 works perfectly
sitting right next to the Nexus though makes me think it really is a problem
with the phone. I'm at the point where I'm about to send this thing back. It
ruins the whole experience if I can't ever stay on 3G for more than a few
Google is responsible for servicing the device, or at least directing users
with 3G service complaints to T-Mobile if they chose the two-year T-Mobile
A Google spokesperson told eWEEK Google is aware that users are reporting problems
with 3G coverage "and we're investigating these reports."
The spokesperson also pointed users to this support Website,
points users to Google's help center, where there is a lot of troubleshooting
information. A trip to T-Mobile's help forums showed this notice:
"Google and T-Mobile are investigating this issue and hope to have more
information for you soon. We understand your concern and appreciate your
The Google spokesperson also added this explanation of which company will
"HTC will provide telephone support for device
troubleshooting and warranty, repairs, and returns. Google will also offer
self-help through our help center, user-to-user help through forums, and e-mail
support to customers who are unable to find answers to their questions online.
We promise to answer e-mail inquiries within 48 hours. T-Mobile USA will of course field calls regarding their
service (including service billing inquiries)."
Google's redirection of complaints and pledge to answer e-mail inquiries
within two days aren't sitting well with customers accustomed to simply walking
into an AT&T store to get help with their Apple iPhones, or owners of the
Motorola Droid, who can waltz into a Verizon Wireless outpost and seek aid.
Google must work its way through the painful grind of helping customers resolve
their problems with the device, or at least pointing users to HTC