Motorola – how to screw with your customers

As you know I’m a Droid user, and for the most part am happy with my device.  Since the announcement of Android 2.1, us Droid users have been anxiously awaiting an update to our devices.  Google’s anointed phone, the Nexus One received the update back in February, and the Droid users have been anxiously awaiting news on when we will be updated.

2010-03-15 12.17.04

Out of the gate, Motorola said all the right things, issuing a post on their Facebook page on February 9th that the update was coming “this week”.  That was then met with refuting news a few days later on their forum.  After that. silence.  Motorola remained completely mum on the issue, both of their Facebook page, on the forum, through news sources – there was no word about when the update would happen. Motorola customers, including myself, have been complaining on their Facebook page about the lack of details.  I actually uploaded my own subtle protest on their “Motopic Monday” feature on Facebook. Finally Motorola shares the news: the upgrade will be rolled out on Thursday to a few test users, then will be going out to all customers over the new few days.

Thursday comes. and goes. It turns out that Motorola delayed pushing out the update again, reported by Engadget. Of course, Motorola’s own Facebook page has been indirect and mum on the issue. Motorola never actually comes out and says the update has been delayed, yet they allude to it with their last two posts:

Thanks for your continued patience. We aim to answer each and every question; if your post isn’t answered immediately, please know that we’re looking into your question so that we can provide the most up-to-date information as possible.
Hi Everyone – We are looking into this new update and will definitely share with you what we find. Please patient with us! Thank you!

Rightfully so, Motorola’s customers have been hammering their Facebook page non-stop with complaints and comments.  Motorola has just continued to botch this situation up – I can’t imagine how else they can screw this up from a PR front.

Motorola, I understand these technical these technical issues come up and it’s completely fine – but be direct and transparent when you’re communicating this!  This business of putting out a statement, then letting weeks go by without any word – is completely unacceptable.  It’s great they’re using Facebook as a platform to put out this information, but by not following it up with any direct announcement or posts about the problems is only confusing people more.  Also when they try to be coy with the mistake with “How embarrassing! We jumped the gun” but then offer no additional information is only infuriating.  I’d much rather appreciate “We apologize, but we mistakenly communicated the wrong date. Please look for an announcement early next week” – then actually follow up like you promised!

We’ll see how long it takes for the Motorola & Verizon to finally get their stuff together and actually be direct with their customers – it’s the least they could do.

We’ve Droid’ed Up!

A few days overdue, but relevant anyway:


Last weekend Bethany and I went out upgraded our smart phones over to Motorola Droids.  We didn’t stand in line or anything crazy, but as it turns out we were able to get pretty good discounts and buy them on Saturday.  A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was drooling about the Droid, and the opportunity to have a good smart phone experience on the Verizon Network.  After 5 days of using the device, I can saw that device definitely lives up to the hype and offers everything I was looking for.

My first entry in to the SmartPhone world was using the Treo 600.  The Palm had a really nice OS that I enjoyed using, but the 600 was a 2G device.  I upgraded to the Treo 700w, which was probably the single-worst phone that I had ever owned. It was a Windows Mobile phone that was packed into hardware that was too underpowered to run it.  That phone drove me nuts and as soon as I had a chance to upgrade, I did – to the HTC Mogel (or Verizon xv6800).  Windows Mobile didn’t really bother me at the time, but it served my needs.

Now, nearly two years after getting that phone, after the iPhone 3G and the application ecosystem, I grew increasingly frustrated with Microsoft’s lack of drive in the mobile space.  Windows Mobile was quickly becoming stale, and while there was a historically large application offering, there was nothing new and dynamic coming about.  You could tell that all of the great developers have moved onto bigger and better things.

Enter: the Droid.  This phone may not *yet* have the application offering, but it delivers a sleek, colorful mobile experience on a fantastic network.  This phone does everything that I want it to do, and does it very well.  It gives me the ability to use a keyboard, to multi-task, and to be able to tether if I’d like to.

Back to “5 Days in” and I am exceedingly happy with the device. I’ve discovered that most of the big apps (like Shazam and Pandora) have ported to Android and have a good offering there.  I love the phone’s performance and some of the little thing things that Android does to make an awesome experience.  For example, I really like my “Contacts” interface, which combines my Google contacts with my Exchange contacts that I use on Outlook, without any duplication or redundancy.  To make things better, Facebook has imposed pictures onto all of my contacts, without screwing anything up on the Google or Exchange side.

The touch is definitely sensitive on the Droid, and coming from an older touch platform like Windows Mobile (that really never adapted from the stylus to the finger), it’s taken a little bit of getting used to.  One of the things that I’ve missed from my Windows Mobile phones (and a feature that Blackberry has) is the scroll wheel on the side of the phone. The “flicking” motion is nice, but something that I will need to adjust to when it comes to scrolling content.

There are a few things that I don’t like about the phone, but they are relatively minor things like not being able to accept/reject Exchange calendar invites in my email.  The keyboard is a little flatter than even my XV6800 and does take a little getting used to.  I remember switching from the Tero (which had one of the best keyboards ever) over to the XV6800, and I expect a similar adjustment time over to the Droid’s keyboard.  The on-screen keyboard works really well when I’m looking to do a search or enter in my password.

The camera is really nice as well.  I took a picture of our house using the Droid, then took the same picture with on Sony DSC-W290 12Mp Camera:



The first picture was taken with the Droid, the second being the camera.  You can definitely see the clarity in the camera, but the Droid seems to hold it’s own for a quick picture.

Bottom line: I believe the Droid is a big win for Verizon and their users.  I love having my phone on Verizon, and while the iPhone may still be the sexier device, the Droid – combined with the Verizon network – delivers a better experience that ultimately satisfies me as a Verizon customer.

A drooling Droid video

The news came out today that the Droid is set for a release on November 6.  I have to admit that I am twitterpated about this phone.  While I won’t be lining up to get it right away, I’m happy that my device renewal discount date is on November 19, which should be enough time to see if the phone is as good as advertised.

Verizon released their first hands-on demo of the phone, which has resulted in drool being cleaned off my keyboard.

From what I can tell, the fact that they’re touting the Google Maps features tells me that Verizon isn’t crippling the phone’s GPS, which is a major annoyance I Have with my XV6800.

Anyone else excited about the Droid?