That’s the subject of the email I got last night from reader, Kai. It wasn’t all sweetness and light with the G1 launch yesterday, then.
I know four people who got one yesterday without a hitch. But Kai was definitely not having a good day — he went on to list out his experiences yesterday on his blog:
* Though I signed up and pre-registered T-mobile’s newsletter did not provide any information how to purchase the G1
* I called up my local T-mobile branch in Woking and they said they’ll only get the device in late in November
* I surprisingly found out today you could buy a G1 from SMStextNews.
* I call the Oxford circus store, but I can’t get through. I even call T-mobile customer services, who can’t tell what their stock levels are and they can’t reach the store either. Arf.
* So in London I rushed to the Oxford street store to see if I could purchase a G1.
* T-mobile store had about 20 staff. Pity most of them could only demonstrate the phone and they couldn’t actually sell the device. Retarded.
* After asking for a black G1, the manager says she has to check in the back room. WTF? You’re almost out? I don’t believe this. Anyway I have a meeting over at OMTP and I’ll come back in a couple of hours after reserving one.
* I return to Oxford street and entered the wrong store at 393 Oxford street, they say don’t worry I can buy the phone here.
* I go through a tiresome credit check where they ask too much information. Feck, I could afford to buy it outright!
* So I’ve signed up for 40GBP for 18months. Deep breath.
* Shop assistant can’t figure out how to open the battery cover. Four staff are taking turns trying to open it.
* Eventually back cover flies off. I am thinking its damaged. No visible damage though. Phew.
* SIM card in, firing upÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ takes a bit of timeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ sign in and can’t connect! There is a problem communicating with the Google servers !!
* Shop assistant says I need to wait up to 24hours until my phone is registered on the Web. Eh? I want to use the phone now!
* I ask the assistant if they can disable voicebox/answering service. He says he can’t do that. I need to call customer services myself. Argh, crap service.
* I ask how many phones were sold. This is 6pm btw. 5 in this store and about 40 in the Oxford circus launch store. GULP. No fucking way. What a disasterÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
* I notice the London paper running a T-mobile advertisement for phones under 50GBP a month. No mention of the Android G1. What?
* No one seems to know the G1 launched today. Nothing in BBC news about the launch. Even the geeks at the Ubuntu Intrepid launch party didn’t know it came out today. Honestly, what a PR FAIL.
Some of Kai’s experience can be put down to the big-cumbersome-giant syndrome — the fact that launching a handset isn’t as easy as one might expect. Teething troubles are bound to occur.
Indeed, our very own Ben Smith was pressure-sold insurance in the Fleet Street store (if memory serves). He was given so much bollocks he thought he was in a Government press briefing. Words to the effect of ‘You MUST buy this with insurance’ and ‘If you don’t insure it, and you lose it, well, we won’t have many in stock and…’ as well as ‘If you lose it, there isn’t a proper system for getting you a new one.. so’.
I’ll let Ben go into more detail.
However one point in Ka i’s experience that is highly, highly inexcusable is the fact that he had to wait a whole sodding day for his handset to ‘activate’. It was only until 1030am today that the 3G icon appeared and he got data services.
Anyway, he’s, ‘enjoying this little sucker now’ so I look forward to more of Kai’s experiences.
And to address the ‘are you paid to talk up the G1 launch’ point Kai, if only. If only T-Mobile and the other mobile operators recognised the value of Mobile Industry Review and the value of each of our readers. The site isn’t run by a series of arses sat in their underpants. But it will be a good few years until the majority of marketing chaps even take a look at independent online media such as us, I’m pretty confident of that.
I tell you what I would have liked to do though, Kai — but we’d have needed extra resource in the form of some kind of sponsorship or cash from the likes of T-Mobile to do this — I’d have liked to have run G1 Day.
I’d have liked to have painted the site pink for a day and run an all day live blogging session, detailing reactions from those who had already bought the device, showing off pictures and video from delighted readers and crucially, enabling T-Mobile to SWIFTLY react to issues such as yours. I’d have liked to have published some cool videos featuring interviews with T-Mobile executives (they’d have needed to have been recorded a few days beforehand) and I’d have liked to have done a normob walkabout on the queues of people outside the main Oxford Street store.
Further, I’d have liked to have put on an Unlimited Drinks G1 party last night where, if you come along, you can get the device there-and-then on an exclusive £35 a month tariff (or something like that). I’d have liked to have been publishing interviews with lots of developers in the run up to the launch all discussing their views about the device. And I’d have liked to have given away 10 devices yesterday to developers at 9am in the morning. We’d have couriered the devices to them to arrive by 10am — with the express purpose of the developers coming along to the Unlimited Drinks party to show the applications they’d created THAT DAY.
It would have been ace.
But you need a bit of cash and resource to organise that kind of thing. And you need the buy-in of a mainstream-media-obsessed mobile operator marketing team.
So I paid for all the coverage Kai. I paid for the fuel, the fooking annoying parking fees (24 quid!), the congestion charge and the other sundry expenses. If it was T-Mobile supported coverage, I’d have made it ultra clear.