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Old 12-06-2005, 06:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 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.

John
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Excellent review. I wish other carriers would take the responsibility to get things right!
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for taking your personal time to represent the users out here. We greatly appreciate it.

Scott
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Excellent Work John. I'm sure all of us here appreciate your efforts in letting RIM and Cingular know these important issues that really need to be addressed. It's only going to result in a better product for them and for us.
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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John, this is great news. I know that our company values customers like yourself as the best tool to stay ahead of the market, and differentiate. I'm glad to see that RIM and Cingular are interested in the community's input, and assume that our (your) letter might have had something to do with sparking their interest! Keep up the good work.

PS - I'll PM you my details since I haven't received my NYC launch event unit yet!
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes, they did contact me becasue of my letter and while it initially was very embarrasing to them they were glad that they got the communications.

Moderator, can you make this thread a sticky so that I can post responses I get from RIM & Cingular on this one thread. Especially since I am receiving PMs with other requests and I would like to address the requests and responses in one thread rather than all over the place. I will continue posting my own help and opinions in the appropriate threads but this will allow one place to see what RIM and Cingular senior management is saying to our concerns.

Thanks
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sure, I think this deserves a sticky...any other mods think so aswell?
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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EXCELLENT work! It's a nice feeling to know that they actually have humans in this company and that they care. I am most anxious to get the new BIS up and running, as well as UMTS (I am a little concerned that they are unsre whether the 8700 will be able tu utilize this. That is unless they have plans for a newer device around that time that is even better! 8800c?)
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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They indicated that the hardware is capable of supporting UMTS. The main concern seemed to be that they wanted to first have a successful EDGE roll out before they jumped into a newer technology (this was RIM speaking). As you know RIM has been a little late to the 3G game and I got the impression they want to work through the issues of EDGE and EV-DO before they tackle another technology that is still in its early roll out stages. (My impression from tone of conversation)
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barjohn
They indicated that the hardware is capable of supporting UMTS. The main concern seemed to be that they wanted to first have a successful EDGE roll out before they jumped into a newer technology (this was RIM speaking). As you know RIM has been a little late to the 3G game and I got the impression they want to work through the issues of EDGE and EV-DO before they tackle another technology that is still in its early roll out stages. (My impression from tone of conversation)
So you think it "feels" like late next year? Year after? Also, when you were discussing dust under glass, build quality, did you specifically speak about the open gaps on the lower sides of the device, where you can see light leak out in a dark room? That definitely needs to be sealed up better. Thanks again!
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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On the first part of your question, I would be purely guessing and I really don't know. My guess is as follows: if Cingular has a successful roll out of UMTS and demand is high to have it on the 8700 both RIM and Cingular will want to add it sooner rather than later, after all they are in the business to make money. Fi not it is anybodies guess. On the second part of your question, I did not go into that level of detail but rather expalined that it was hurting the quality image that RIM devices are known for and that was of great concern to them. My impression is that they will find the problem and get it fixed quickly. BoyGenius has taken the unit appart and says there is a rubber seal around the window so the gap really has nothing to do with the problem. Let's face it, there are many ways for dust to get into the unit such as when you open the battery cover, through the earphone jack, and around the trackwheel.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Very very good work barjohn. RIM needs to interact with their non-business customers and you are the link to them for all of us. Thank you.

Did they specifically acknowledge that the bluetooth was dysfunctional in any way? Can you tell us exactly what they said on this?
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:00 PM   #13 (permalink)
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What they acknowledged on Bluetooth was that it has not been tested with every vehicle or headset and that given the idiocyncracies of these devices they could not guarantee compatability but they intended to fix as many as reasonably possible.
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I wonder if they will get more people complaining about cracked screens and work out a resolution for that....
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:15 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I have not heard of anyone having a cracked screen issue with the 8700, have you?
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:20 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barjohn
I have not heard of anyone having a cracked screen issue with the 8700, have you?
I was sitting down during class after responding to an email on the 8700.. I went to put my phone in its holster and missed.. it dropped from 2 to 2 1/2 feet on thin carpet.. picked it up and CRACKED SCREEN :(.. cingular doesn't want to replace the unit unless I fork over $225 which is silly when I bought it for $199. had it less than a week..
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:41 AM   #17 (permalink)
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John thanks for the hard work, we all appreciate you being the bridge to RIM.
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:29 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Barjohn,

Excellent thread. Thank you for taking the time to do all of this!
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Old 12-07-2005, 06:17 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romerom
I was sitting down during class after responding to an email on the 8700.. I went to put my phone in its holster and missed.. it dropped from 2 to 2 1/2 feet on thin carpet.. picked it up and CRACKED SCREEN :(.. cingular doesn't want to replace the unit unless I fork over $225 which is silly when I bought it for $199. had it less than a week..
That sucks. Dropped mine trying re-live my Skateboarding past (dumb I know), bounced 3 times and slid across the floor (2' - 3' drop), no damage at all, I guess I was REALLY lucky.

John: How about asking Cingular about insurance for smartphones? It seems these are the only devices that it makes sense to insure, other carriers do it. I was told by a rep when I bought my 7100 a few months back it was "On the way" - I was offered it when I bought my 8700, when I pressed the issue to make sure it would actually cover the 8700 the rep realized his mistake and retracted the offer.
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Old 12-07-2005, 10:29 AM   #20 (permalink)
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hey john, will you also get a timetable of when we will be able to sync with bluetooth? As well as when desktop availability for Mac users. i am in the recording business, and we are all mac users and all have blackberry's and are very frustrated that we cant drag and drop our apps. Thanks man.
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