| | Telecon with RIM & Cingular Execs 12/6/05
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I had a telecon with senior executives at RIM and Cingular today to discuss the product launch and other issues. The conversation was candid and cordial with both RIM and Cingular taking action items and a promise to communicate back to me so that I could pass on the information to users and forum members.
First, the issues of the product launch. They screwed up the entire logistics process when they decided at the last minute to upgrade the frimware prior to making the product available. They also learned that despite numerous emails to empolyees on the product, becasue of the holiday many employees did not read their emails and were not knowledgeable about the product, it planned availability or how to take an order. I will go into more of these issues later but first let me get to the questions some of you have been raising.
1. Dust under the screen - They were not aware of this problem but are aware of it now and will put an engineering team to find a resolution. They believe that the product is made to the same high quality standards they have always had and are very concerned that the reputation be maintained. They are anxious to get back some units to evaluate what is going wrong. They promissed that this issue will be fixed and they will keep me informed so that I can keep you informed.
2. MMS - Both RIM and Cingular decided to delay the roll out of MMS until they can complete further testing and get their billing system working to support it. They could not give me a date but said they were working as quickly as possible to get the technical issues and billing issues resolved so they could get it out.
3. Voice Dialing - They are not aware of any 3rd party developers working on a solution. I mentioned that they should consider Fonix and Voice Signals as both have products that can be integrated into their OS. They indicated that the APIs needed to support this do not yet exist but there has been very high demand for the capability and their engineers are working on it. They indicated they would look into the companies I mentioned.
4. New BIS - Cingular has plans to roll out the new BIS. They could not give me a time line however, they indicated that they did not want to roll out a new BIS during the holiday season and that it would be after the new year. How far into the new year they could not tell me.
5. Receipt of Units for Launch Attendess - As I stated earlier, they acknowledge that they really goofed in the roll out and goofed in their failure to communicate. They promissed that all attendess will get the promissed units and asked that anyone having questions or problems PM me with their company info and they will take the data from me and work to expidite a resolution. The Cingular representatives were supposed to be contacting their respecttive customers or potential customers and keeping them informed.
6. PTT- no promises on PTT for the 8700 and I could not get much information on whether the hardware would support the required functionality.
7. UMTS/HSDPA - They acknowledged that the hardware will support it but no promises on if or whether it will be made available on the 8700. They did say that their focus right now was to get EDGE working well first.
8. Use as a Modem - They acknowledge that it is not as easy as they have plans to make it and that now it takes technical knowledge to get it to work. They will be rolling out new software that will make it easy along with a new billing plan for tethering.
9. Auto Bluetooth Issues - They have fully tested on the BMW, Mercedes and Audi Bluetooth systems. They now realize that they need to test on a variety of vehicles and to post compatibility information so that prospective buyers will know whether it works with their vehicle or not. I suggested that they post make, model and year tested data. They agreed that it was a good idea and said they would proceed to implement it. They did acknowledge that there were issues to be addressed and fixed and that they would be expanding the list of compatible vehicles.
10. Ringer Volume Controlled by Last Speakerphone Setting - They new about this problem from Jeff and it was in the hopper to be fixed with the next release of the software. No date could be given.
11. Defective Holsters/magnets - They were not aware of the issue of the holsters that did not put the units into sleep mode and would look into the problem.
Cingular acknowledged that they need to improve their sales organization and getting the information to their sales people. I explained that I had called several sales people before I found anyone that new what the product was or how to take an order. They acknowledged that it was an unacceptable business practice and one they inteded to fix. Both companies expressed a sincere desire to provide a quality product and service. They also promissed to do a better job of communicating in the future and invited me to relay problems or concerns to them and that they would provide me the best answers they could so that I could keep you all informed. Having said that, I don't want to be buried with every nit or problem that users find. Continue as in the past starting a thread and if I see a pattern I will take to RIM and Cingular and try and get a resolution. Don't forget, this is a part-time hobby for me and I work a busy job as an executive that has very high demands on my time. Thanks to all of you for the input and the opportunity to be your voice.