Tuesday, January 25, 2005

"Bleeding Edge" isn't painless

This blog is for the whiners on the HP iPAQ forum linked above.

Let me preface this posting with the fact that I don't work for HP or for T-Mobile. I have been a T-Mobile customer for 7+ years, and I have personally owned several HP Palmtops and Pocket PCs since my first 95lx. This means that I have had several opportunities to see both companies at their best and worst. I am also a happy HP iPAQ 6315 user.

The 6315 is neither! Sure it has glitches. Sure it rides more like a truck than a sedan. It needs some work to make it ready for the masses. If you didn't expect this when you purchased the first product to integrate WiFi, Bluetooth and GPRS, consider this a lesson learned. If you didn't expect a few bumps in the road for HP's first Pocket PC Phone Edition, wake up and smell the coffee. If you expected either company to market this product as anything less than a terrific marriage of technology and a terrific personal productivity tool, you're fools.

I have 3 points I want to make to all of the whiners in this string.

1) If this is the first time you have purchased a "technological first" product. I'm sorry to say you have just learned a lesson that will be repeated as often as you continue to purchase first generation products.

2) If this is not your first time riding the bleeding edge, get out the band-aids and get over it. You have choices you seem to dismiss too easily. If the company over-promises on features and stability, and you discover this with the product, RETURN IT while you can. Why should you believe the company's claims that they will fix it for you, when they couldn't deliver on their claims that it worked right the first time. If you think that you know more than the company (as many of you seem to) and you think that you can fix these problems when they can't, then do it.

3) I don't think the term "bleeding edge" technology comes from a lab incident, or a company's slow hemorrhage of funds on an unproven product. I think "bleeding edge" is defined in this string. You all have your nicks and cuts. I do too. I've seen many of the issues you have articulated. I've also worked through most of them. My iPAQ ain't perfect, mind you, but it is better in it's current state than any other product on the market. The reason I'm not bemoaning the unfortunate demise of marketing or customer service ethics is because I EXPECTED IT. I knew this would happen. I knew my product wouldn't be perfect. I knew that the corporate marketing machine would paint a pretty picture, kiss our little ouchie, and tuck us in for a little nap. It happens every time a first to market product is launched. It's called product development. I have shelves and shelves of first release products. I've not only been through this battle before, I seek it out and jump in knowing full well that I will not get to sleep some nights because my router and my PDA are incompatible and no one told me. Or that I will have wasted time with an accessory (or many in my case) that isn't compatible with my specific model, although it wasn't printed on the box. You know what I did with those accessories? I returned them!

If you want your technical world to be comfy and cozy, there are many, many great HP iPAQs that will fill your needs. T-Mobile has phones that are in their umpteenth generation, and they will work wonders for you. If you want to live life on the technological edge, put on your body armor, put on a large pot of coffee (or a 12 pack of cold caffeine in my case) and be ready to do battle with your product, your patience and the company’s customer care team.

By the way. I don't want to discredit the legitimate product claims that many of you have. They need to be aired out here. What I do despise is the arrogance of those who think that companies aren't aware of the spoils of first product releases. Or those with the audacity to think that there is some level of malicious intent to releasing a less that stellar product. Worst of all, is those of you who have been here before, and have not yet learned the lessons. The fact of the matter is, the best place to test new technology is in YOUR hands, not the limited hands they employ. No matter how it is spun, version 1 of any product is always a wide release beta, and most of you should know that by now. If you don't want to test, don't buy rev. 1, or at least return it within the allotted time. 30 days is plenty to calculate how many sleepless nights it will take to make the product tolerable

HP and T-Mobile do read these strings. Do you want to know how I know? See what version 2 of the product brings, then tell me they didn't pay attention.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I have a TMobile internet account. Do you know where I can find info on using HP iPAQ 6315 as a Wireless Modem?

Tim Gade