Does Verizon care at all about the blundered launch of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus?

Published: December 1, 2011

Let’s run through a couple of scenarios this morning. All of them are going to deal with the way that Verizon has handled the launch of the first Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich device in the United States, and, to be honest, I don’t think any of them are going to come out all that bright and glorious. However, it’s good to try and give the benefit of the doubt, so that’s what these scenarios will ultimately try to do. Because I don’t think Verizon even cares that they have completely blundered the release of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

You also know that I’m not the only one who thinks that Verizon and Google haven’t managed the release of this particular device well at all. At least not here in the United States. The phone is available in the UK right now, and you can ship the device here locally if you’re willing to pay quite the sum to get your hands on one. But if you’re one of the many people waiting to get your hands on the 4G LTE-based version for Verizon Wireless, then you know it’s just been a waiting game. A waiting game made worse by the fact that Verizon is sticking to their “quiet mode,” and not saying much of anything about this phone.

Now, yesterday the company did manage to release a general tweet about the phone. They admitted they’re excited that people are excited about the phone and that you should follow a link to register for more information. Seriously? It’s even the same link we’ve been looking at now for almost a month – nothing new, and nothing even worthwhile. That’s about as general a tweet as it gets, and it’s just good enough to show that Verizon knows the phone exists, and that’s about it. Yep, it’s coming – someday.

As Taylor has pointed out a few times last month, that’s just not good enough. We aren’t just talking about some random Android phone here; we aren’t even talking about an Android phone that will be completely forgotten about a month from now. No, we’re talking about the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0. Sure, the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t boast the best specifications in the world, and yes, the phone will be outmatched by other high-end phones come early 2012, but this is the Nexus device that launched Android 4.0. It won’t be forgotten. The sheer fact that people are willing to pay upwards of $800 to get their hands on the unlocked GSM version shows that.

But Verizon, please listen: you’re messing this up. No, scratch that – you’ve already messed it up. I mentioned above that the Big Red carrier had tweeted a general tweet regarding the Galaxy Nexus, but that was well into the afternoon – that was after the person in charge of the Twitter account had to reply directly to more than a few folks regarding the phone and when it would launch. They kept reassuring folks that when they found something out, they would tweet about it. Great. Just another, “Keep on waiting, something will happen someday,” message that means absolutely nothing.

Scenario one, and this seems to be the most common: Verizon delayed the launch of the Galaxy Nexus because they didn’t want to cannibalize sales of the HTC Rezound or Motorola DROID RAZR. This would seem plausible, but you know what? I don’t think Verizon cares about that. The HTC DROID RAZR has good specs, but the HTC Rezound beats it in just about every category, save for thinness, and Verizon launched the Rezound three days after the launch of their “holiday hero,” (yes, that’s a real thing) the DROID RAZR. So, no, I don’t buy that Verizon gives a single iota of thought to “cannibalizing sales” of a phone. They know people will buy a phone on its merits, so releasing the Galaxy Nexus in line with those other two means that people would have bought the RAZR, the Rezound or the Nexus for specific reasons.

Scenario two: Samsung and Google and Verizon all had extra testing to do and it could even be possibly linked to that volume bug that plagued the GSM version. Yep, this one is possible, but the likelihood of it being related to the volume bug seems thin. However, testing is a huge part of launching a phone tied to a carrier, so I can believe the testing thing. But, here’s the kicker: Verizon, you should be communicating this to your consumer base. People are waiting for the Galaxy Nexus! It would not kill you to say, “Hey, folks, sorry for the delay. The phone is scheduled (!) to launch on December 8th, so stay tuned for more info!” See? That’s not hard at all. And, the fact that you included the word scheduled means that you admit things can change! So, if there is a delay, you communicate what is going on, and you don’t let your loyal subscribers sit in the dark twiddling their thumbs, allowing them to get angry with you!

Verizon has always been a carrier that loves to keep their subscribers in the dark, like it’s a game or something. Like we get super excited when a phone is released, all because the carrier managed to cut off contact with customers in the process. Nope. All people do is get mad, as we’ve seen evidenced in plenty of stories since the announcement of the Galaxy Nexus, and since it became brutally clear that Verizon had a lock on its release here in the States. People are just angry and frustrated, and that’s never a good business practice.

So, fix it. Give us a launch schedule. Just one date. That’s it! Thanks.

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