Success: Google's Nexus One shipping support line takes tech support questions

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11:35 am EST Tuesday, February 9, 2010 · In a test of Google's willingness to take customer concerns this morning, Betanews Editor-in-Chief Nathan Mook -- a new Nexus One owner himself who has not experienced either the 3G connectivity problem or the touchscreen tracking problem -- contacted the Nexus One shipping support line with a technical concern. After getting off the phone with a live Google support staffer in San Francisco, Nate reported very positive results.

The problem Nate was having, he says, is minor: The phone's automatic brightness isn't working well, remaining too dark when auto-brightness is turned on. Plus, the phone's touch-sensitive panel buttons at the bottom appear non-sensitive if you touch too close to the bottom.

Nate tells us Google's representative very kindly put his concern into the system, and offered to set up an exchange of phones with him; he responded it was not necessary.

"She was really quite nice," Nate reports. "She put my concerns into the system. Best customer support experience I've ever had from a big company. Better than Apple. I had zero wait time." His previous phone was an iPhone 3G S.

10:46 am EST · With hopes of being able to talk to a real, live person for the first time, to address not only 3G connectivity issues but an emerging, separate problem with poorly tracking touchscreens, Google Nexus One phone users had hopes today of being able to dial a toll-free phone number and speak with a Google representative. But despite headlines blazing through the blog-O-square this morning, that number is only "for questions about your existing order," as Google's support page clearly states.

Immediately below the newly posted instructions for shipping questions, the "Technical Support" section now directs customers with problems with the phone to HTC, the phone's manufacturer: "For technical support, please contact HTC customer care at 1-888-216-4736. For additional details and international support, please visit HTC's website."

This despite Google executives having told analysts during the phone's premiere event last month that Google was the "vendor of record," implying that it would be responsible for managing customer concerns.

"I knew it was too good to be true," writes Nexus One customer xsyclubs to Google's support forum early this morning. "However, I am still going to call daily."

That may be just a symbolic act for now, as xsyclubs and others may end up being transferred to HTC. Over on HTC's support forums, a bold message appears to have declared the 3G connectivity issue resolved. But an unusual message from Google employee Ry Guy yesterday told Nexus One customers that HTC was, in fact, declaring a different issue resolved: "The message...on HTC's website concerns a previous temporary data outage, not the 3G connectivity issues that some users have been experiencing," he wrote.

As 3G connectivity issues continue for many customers even after the distribution of an over-the-air software update, a growing number of owners are experiencing trouble with their touchscreens. In fact, defective touchscreens appears to be becoming a popular subject of YouTube videos, where owners everywhere are letting Google and the rest of the world see these symptoms for themselves.

The video above shows the touchscreen failing to respond to browser functions, but responding nominally to the home menu. Another YouTube video from a different customer shows the drawing program registering repeated taps on the screen as vertical lines starting the same distance (about an inch) below the fingertip, and ending at the fingertip location.

In the wake of scrutiny not only from Nexus One customers but Congress as well, Google decided yesterday to reduce its "equipment recovery fee" from as high as $350, as stated in its original Terms of Sale, to a maximum $150. However, that fee is in addition to whatever T-Mobile (for now, Nexus One's exclusive carrier) may charge; and as Google's revised terms state, the customer must agree that $150 is necessary to compensate for a kind of depreciation Google only describes as "market changes."

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