Owners of Google's Nexus One phone may be early adopters, but some of them are also getting an early share of problems with phone and customer service, according to complaints being posted on various forums.
Initial problems with a new device are not unusual. What is different is that Google is handling all sales of the $529 phone online. Customers who want to use the Nexus One with T-Mobile's service can buy the phone for $179 with a two-year service contract. But Google is the seller, unlike previous Google-related phones that have been sold through wireless carriers.
"Google is trying an entirely new distribution model: the operating system vendor as the retailer, and an online-only retailer at that," said Avi Greengart, Current Analysis' research director for mobile devices. "There were bound to be support questions."
And questions have abounded about being able to receive the speedier 3G, or third-generation, wireless coverage of the phone, which is needed to deal with more intensive uses such as Web surfing, e-mail and video. Many users have posted comments and complaints on Google's Mobile Help Forum site, as well as other sites.
Some users say they have tried getting answers from T-Mobile if they are using the carrier's service; others from HTC, maker of the Nexus One. In many cases, users are being sent to Google, which is handling some responses on the mobile help site. The perceived run-around is not helping buyers' moods.
Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering and mobile chief, told the Wall Street Journal that the company realizes there is no phone support right now and needs to "get better at customer service."
That seems to be what's irritating most users since the phone went on sale Jan. 5.
"Upgraded from a BlackBerry Pearl to the Nexus One," wrote dpaulson326 on Google's mobile forum. "I cannot get any 3G service as of yet. Don't know what the problem is. T-Mobile and HTC support weren't able to help."
Another, mbaird, posted this: "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 (a T-Mobile phone that uses the same Android operating system as the Nexus One) 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 seconds."
Google did respond to the 3G complaints on the site by saying: "We are investigating this issue and hope to have more information for you soon. We understand your concern and appreciate your patience."
Other customers were complaining about the lack of response once they place their orders for the Nexus One.
"There is only one status" showing on the order, and it has remained the same, saying "Your order has been sent to Google Phone Webstore," posted alfred5191. "Can anyone mind to enlighten me what is happening? This isn't a good online purchasing experience. E-mail sent and no personalised response by human received."