Google’s hardware revisions aren’t fair


Revisions are common, and it’s really the way things should be. If a product needs to improve, there’s no better way to delight a customer, then to address their needs through a fix to the problem in their product. Now, notice I’m being very specific about saying “their product”, and yes, I am referring to the product that the customer already has. If the customer’s product didn’t get fixed, can we really call this a revision that benefits the customer who complained?

According to the dictionary, the word “revision” means – a change or a set of changes that corrects or improves something. In a way, to correct and to improve something, it would require for this product to already exist. We see it all the time with software updates, where whatever bugs were discovered from real world use are then fixed through whatever updates developers or OEMs find necessary to fix the problems that customers are facing. Now, that said, can we really consider future hardware product fixes to be revisions? I’d consider these to be more enhancements than revisions if you ask me.

When the Google Nexus 4 was launched, so many customers complained about how easy it was to shatter the glass at the back, that Google corrected the design of the product in order to avoid this in future phones. This certainly fixed the problem for new customers, but old customers were left out on the cold, right?

nexus4-newRecently the news are that Google has also done the same thing with the new Nexus 5. Customers have complained about the speaker quality of this device so much that the newer Nexus 5 smartphones that are being manufactured are bringing bigger speaker holes to fix the problem. Again, the question is, did Google really fix the problem, or is the company just preventing newer customers from complaining?

I don’t know about you, but I find this sort of practice to be unfair. I’m not saying that companies can’t make mistakes, and I’m also not saying that companies shouldn’t fix their mistakes either. This is mainly why I’m disappointed:

Whatever happened to testing a product?

In a famous quote that Steve Jobs made in the presentation of the first iPhone, he explained why he was against hardware buttons: “What happens if you come-up with a great idea six months from now? You can’t just add a button to these devices, they’re already shipped”.

Obviously in the case of something like the speaker, or the glass that came in the design, the scenario is different. Still we wonder how much is Google investing in actually testing these products before launch. Surely we do understand that nobody sells flagship phones as inexpensively as Google does, but that doesn’t give them a right to ship a product without testing it well.

What’s most disappointing is that those most loyal to a product, that stayed up all night to pre-order, and that detected these problems, won’t be able to enjoy this. I’m sure that for them, this is nothing close to a revision.

Never underestimate a feature

nexus5nexus4_camerasI’m sure that a lot of you may think that I’m being too harsh on Google for calling this unfair. You might be right. I’m sure that for some of you, the quality of a speaker is irrelevant. The same can be said about the photo quality of a camera, which I know is not that important to many of you. Hey, I even know a lot of you don’t mind cheap build quality if the price is right.

Sadly, smartphones aren’t really targeted at people that don’t care about everything. Regardless of what the feature is, or what the price tag is, smartphone customers expect a lot from their investment. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather pay a couple of extra bucks for a better product on day one, than to have to put-up with any customer service representative over selling me something they didn’t deliver on.

If Google needed to go cheap on a couple of features to make the phone inexpensive, I wonder if their executives ever sat down to ask their Nexus 4 customer base if they would rather pay a little more for better, or a little less for mediocre.

The bottom line

I’ve always had this saying – “If I go to buy a hamburger that costs me $5.00, I don’t want excuses, I just want the damn hamburger as sold in the menu”. I’ve had cases where airlines cancel a flight and offer me my money back, and I wonder if these companies truly understand the nature of why I wanted to travel that date in the first place. If I wanted my money back, I would’ve never purchased the ticket, right?

It’s not about the money, it’s about the reasons why you purchased something. If you bought a smartphone that offers the best Google experience, the last thing that I want is excuses over why the device isn’t perfect. I do hope that Google remembers this while testing the Nexus 6, before reaching a retail store.

What do you think? Do you feel that Google’s hardware revision tactics are fair to all their customers or not? Leave us a comment.


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About The Author
Jaime Rivera
Jaime has been a fan of technology since he got his first computer when he was 12, and has followed the evolution of mobile technology from the PDA to everything we see today. As our Multimedia Manger, he’s been in-charge of growing our YouTube hobby into one of the biggest video channels in the industry. When he’s not building one of our videos, or filming our Pocketnow Daily, he can be found in his second biggest passion, which is running and fitness. Read more about Jaime Rivera!