The T-Mobile G1 & James Whatley: What a fooking annoyance

Here we are trying to get James Whatley, one of the most influential Nokia-fans on the planet, to play with and understand the new T-Mobile G1.

I was tickled pink on Friday to be able to give him the test one we were sent over by T-Mobile. This is the first ever handset we’ve received as a trial from T-Mobile.

Ben and I went and bought one each ourselves so that we had one to play with and experience. Dan Lane, on holiday in the North of England had exactly the same problem I had on Saturday morning in Central London: He couldn’t find a T-Mobile shop nearby. I was in London watching Josh Harnett fluff his lines in the new Rainman stage play. My other half is potentially interested in getting a new G1 so I wanted to swing by a T-Mobile shop. Unfortunately you can’t do that in the West End. Whilst there are bucketloads of Orange and Vodafone shops on every sodding street corner, the only T-Mobile shops nearby were in Clapham or Oxford Street. Not quite round the corner and far enough away to put my other half off the idea of walking too far amongst annoying crowds.

I cursed T-Mobile silently as I sat surrounded by fawning drooling women as Josh began to undress on the Rainman stage.

Dan Lane was going nuts in the North West of Yorkshire. I did a look-up to see where his nearest T-Mobile store was. I wanted to text him an address as I could feel his must-have-a-G1 quotient reaching breaking point from the IMs and emails being swapped between the team on Saturday. Alas, T-Mobile don’t have any stores within something like 100 miles of the North West of England.

I cursed T-Mobile again.

Meanwhile I began receiving IMs, emails and texts from Mr Whatley. As you no doubt saw on Monday’s MIR Show, he is taken with the G1.

He made quite a lot of comments about the actual handset but I asked him to focus his upcoming review on the concept of the device — the openness, the possibilities, the unified nature and the fact that ANYTHING he didn’t like on the actual G1 could more or less be fixed by a caffeinated teenager with an Android SDK.

For example, he lamented the lack of ShoZu on the device. Try PixePipe, I suggested.

I didn’t want James getting put off his review, or diverted, by silly stuff that actually can become very annoying.

There are a lot of people – Nokia fascists, in particular, still stroking their Nokia N82s and N95 8GBs who are hanging on every communique from Whatley. (See last week’s assassination of the Nokia N96).

They read my piece. They saw our video and they’re waiting for the Whatley view. They’re looking for Ben and Dan to weigh in — but Whatley is the first.

They’re expecting a few words from him on the fact that, yeah, the G1 camera doesn’t compare to an N82 and that, yeah, there’s not that much in the Android UK marketplace yet. They’re expecting some degree of experiential account from James.

And, er, he’s got to send his handset back.

Nixon McInnes, social representatives of T-Mobile, called to ask for the G1 back on Monday but I was out most of the day. On Tuesday I told James he needed to give it back and James promised to mail it when I got the delivery address. This morning I’ve asked them for the delivery address. Whatley will send it back this afternoon.

It really does wind me up when folk think that you just need a day or so to ‘review’ a device.

We’re not writing some piece of shite ‘it’s got this much RAM on it’ or ‘it’s got a whatever megapixel camera’. We’re not doing a mainstream media piece of puffery. Our readers don’t give a toss about that. They want to know what we THINK about it before deciding whether or not to acquire one themselves. And a big component of our coverage is being able to let Whatley sit and play with it and deliver a balanced view. Getting him to put down his array of Nokias for more than 5 minutes is a real challenge. I wanted James to sit and play with the thing and really use it.

So imagine my fooking annoyance when T-Mobile switched it off the G1 connection this morning. Disconnected!

What the hell do I have to do to get the guy to be able to focus on experiencing the handset?

I think I have to spunk just under 500 quid to buy him one on an 18 month contract.

Ergo what use is the public relations department at T-Mobile?

Gahhh.

Next time I’ll just buy the sodding thing for him so we can get some decent editorial. My mistake.

We’ll bring you a slightly shortened piece from Mr Whatley later today.

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  • http://blog.willmcinnes.co.uk/blog willmcinnes

    I don't think we were aware that Mr Whatley was going to have a play with it, AFAIK we weren't told that – and in the absence of that info we felt there was an opportunity to share the G1 with other similarly knowledgeable and smart mobile-heads (I think we're hoping to lend our one loan handset to Tom Hume, Future Platforms, next). That's our goal – it may come across as stingyness or boring logistics, but we want to share the experiences around.
    I accept that a few days only isn't ideal for you guys though – perhaps you could suggest the ideal timeframe for us to be aware of in future?
    And I'll give you a call to work out a plan for the other MIR hombres.

  • http://mostlythis.com Mac Morrison aka mostlythis

    though oddly t-mobile have a store in inverness – but no signal.

  • edcave

    Am i understanding correctly that you only have ONE G1 handset you are sending out to 'smart mobile-heads'?

    Surely you need more than that? By the time it has got round everyone to voice their opinions their will be something new out……

  • http://www.kcjhdesign.co.uk Kip Hakes

    I'd maybe suggest having a couple of review handsets to pass around…. ;)

  • http://blog.willmcinnes.co.uk/blog willmcinnes

    Yep! To be fair, it was super hard to get any devices before launch, such was the demand across the business and the initial scarcity of devices in the UK before launch. And also, these are baby steps – these are the first tentative steps into engaging online for T-Mobile, and from my perspective one handset is better than none, and we can build from here. We are building relationships with a small number of people (we hope) and I reckon the last few weeks will be really important when we look back in a year or twos time. I am talking 'for' T-Mobile here but it's important to recognise that I am an agency guy, telling it honestly how I see it.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    It's insufficient support from T-Mobile that I have the issue with, Will — not your agency.

  • Mike42

    bet you expect it back still assembled, unprodded and unexposed by Mr Lane…

  • South77

    Will, credit the guy for the tone of your response. Bloggers, eh?

  • MarkW

    Whoops – that's the ball dropped again by T-Mobile and their agencies. Some people never learn. One demo handset. I despair.

  • http://www.smstextnews.com/author/Ben.Smith Ben Smith

    Will kudos for the good-humoured response.

    I think the key thing here is always to arrange a loan with an explicit return date stated at the outset. We may not like it, but if we know you only have one device and we're mega privileged to be first we'll plan accordingly.

  • http://blog.willmcinnes.co.uk/blog willmcinnes

    Nothing like hiding and sniping. How very 2007.

  • http://mostlythis.com Mac Morrison aka mostlythis

    stepping in to wills defence – i don't know will from adam – but I know how hard it is for agencies to get hold of hardware and sample products – I used to share an office with a pr agency and its was comical the lengths they had to go to, to get samples to send out – and get back again.
    including going down the shops and just buying product at times.

    which was kind of counter productive.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    Yes this is my issue Mr Morrison. The support that big companies give to these kind of trials and demos is generally appalling. One exception is Nokia.

  • MarkW

    What? If you're the representative of T-Mobile, is that any way to interact with potential customers? Your concern is not me apparently 'hiding and sniping' it's the overall impression you're creating. I don't need to impress you. You, on the other hand are the ambassador for your client.

    Very professional. Well done.

  • http://blog.willmcinnes.co.uk/blog willmcinnes

    My comment was truly idiotic, and I agree with you Mark – belatedly I see that you contribute lots to MIR, my first impression was that it was a 'hit and run' jibe of a comment from an anonymous competitor. Should've checked first, for that I'm sorry.
    But I feel that your comment is not accurate – I don't feel that we've dropped the ball (until my comment). Since we were given the go-ahead by T-Mobile we've been giving MIR the same access and level of support that has been given to the FT, The Guardian and all the other 'traditional' media during this launch. There are limited resources to go around. I'm going to step out of this conversation now because I'm not really helping things.

  • MarkW

    Fair enough Will. Continuing the love-in, I can see how I would have annoyed you and no, I'm not with a competitor. I represent one of the UK's top-ten brands – but it's a long way from being a comms biz! I think keeping MIR on a par with the rest of the media is a good move on your part. So let's leave it there.

  • http://blog.willmcinnes.co.uk/blog willmcinnes

    @MarkW Nothing like hiding and sniping. How very 2007.

  • http://mostlythis.com Mac Morrison aka mostlythis

    stepping in to wills defence – i don't know will from adam – but I know how hard it is for agencies to get hold of hardware and sample products – I used to share an office with a pr agency and its was comical the lengths they had to go to, to get samples to send out – and get back again.
    including going down the shops and just buying product at times.

    which was kind of counter productive.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan @ MIR

    Yes this is my issue Mr Morrison. The support that big companies give to these kind of trials and demos is generally appalling. One exception is Nokia.

  • MarkW

    What? If you're the representative of T-Mobile, is that any way to interact with potential customers? Your concern is not me apparently 'hiding and sniping' it's the overall impression you're creating. I don't need to impress you. You, on the other hand are the ambassador for your client.

    Very professional. Well done.

  • http://blog.willmcinnes.co.uk/blog willmcinnes

    My comment was truly idiotic, and I agree with you Mark – belatedly I see that you contribute lots to MIR, my first impression was that it was a 'hit and run' jibe of a comment from an anonymous competitor. Should've checked first, for that I'm sorry.
    But I feel that your comment is not accurate – I don't feel that we've dropped the ball (until my comment). Since we were given the go-ahead by T-Mobile we've been giving MIR the same access and level of support that has been given to the FT, The Guardian and all the other 'traditional' media during this launch. There are limited resources to go around. I'm going to step out of this conversation now because I'm not really helping things.

  • MarkW

    Fair enough Will. Continuing the love-in, I can see how I would have annoyed you and no, I'm not with a competitor. I represent one of the UK's top-ten brands – but it's a long way from being a comms biz! I think keeping MIR on a par with the rest of the media is a good move on your part. So let's leave it there.

  • http://blog.willmcinnes.co.uk/blog willmcinnes

    @MarkW Nothing like hiding and sniping. How very 2007.

  • http://mostlythis.com Mac Morrison

    stepping in to wills defence – i don't know will from adam – but I know how hard it is for agencies to get hold of hardware and sample products – I used to share an office with a pr agency and its was comical the lengths they had to go to, to get samples to send out – and get back again.
    including going down the shops and just buying product at times.

    which was kind of counter productive.

  • http://www.mobileindustryreview.com Ewan

    Yes this is my issue Mr Morrison. The support that big companies give to these kind of trials and demos is generally appalling. One exception is Nokia.

  • MarkW

    What? If you're the representative of T-Mobile, is that any way to interact with potential customers? Your concern is not me apparently 'hiding and sniping' it's the overall impression you're creating. I don't need to impress you. You, on the other hand are the ambassador for your client.

    Very professional. Well done.

  • http://blog.willmcinnes.co.uk/blog willmcinnes

    My comment was truly idiotic, and I agree with you Mark – belatedly I see that you contribute lots to MIR, my first impression was that it was a 'hit and run' jibe of a comment from an anonymous competitor. Should've checked first, for that I'm sorry.
    But I feel that your comment is not accurate – I don't feel that we've dropped the ball (until my comment). Since we were given the go-ahead by T-Mobile we've been giving MIR the same access and level of support that has been given to the FT, The Guardian and all the other 'traditional' media during this launch. There are limited resources to go around. I'm going to step out of this conversation now because I'm not really helping things.

  • MarkW

    Fair enough Will. Continuing the love-in, I can see how I would have annoyed you and no, I'm not with a competitor. I represent one of the UK's top-ten brands – but it's a long way from being a comms biz! I think keeping MIR on a par with the rest of the media is a good move on your part. So let's leave it there.

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