Google Sued For Nexus One Suckiness

from the people-sue-for-anything dept

Eric Goldman points us to the news that Google has been sued, in a class action lawsuit, over problems with the Nexus One, the Android phone (made by HTC) that Google released directly, in an attempt to get others to release better Android-powered phones. As with many new products, there were some bugs, and Google (and T-Mobile, on which the Nexus One worked) didn’t quite know how to handle customer support for the device — a pretty massive mistake. However, is it really against the law to sell a product with a few bugs and to to have really dismally crappy customer service? It seems like a stretch. You can make the argument that the product didn’t do what was promised, but, like so many class action lawsuits, this one seems like a case of “gee, can we squeeze a bunch of money out of this company?”

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Companies: google, t-mobile

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Comments on “Google Sued For Nexus One Suckiness”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Market works how?

Telecommunications Companies advertising product with throughput of X and uptime of Y who deliver less than X and Y: BAD
Google advertising product with throughput of X and uptime of Y but delivering less than X and Y: GOOD?

Misleading practices, like failure to disclose bugs and serious software flaws, is withholding information from the market. This makes the market less efficient by preventing consumers from making informed decisions.

How is this in any way acceptable? It’s market inefficiency.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Market works how?

… and the wireless market, if that’s really what we’re talking about, solves that when sales of a buggy/flawed product plummet, causing its withdrawal from said market. But if the market we’re alluding to is the legal services market, a nonsensical class-action suit is an equally natural outcome.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Market works how?

Well, yes, I’m sure all the victims will receive is a $5 coupon off the next Google phone, while the lawyers laugh their way to the bank.

I’m not calling for consumer protection. I just want full disclosure. Of course the class-action lawsuit is pointless. But maybe (just maybe) it will convince Google to disclaim their flaws (or better yet, release a stable product).

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Market works how?

First, find me a wireless product that delivers the advertised throughput and uptime?

Now, since we do not actually have products that meet the advertised specs, another player in the market is competition – and that is the only thing that can fix the market at this point.

The only real consumer protection is their ability to go elsewhere when a product is terrible. Enabling more competition is very consumer-friendly. If class action lawsuits can lay waste to companies that produce inferior products, all they will do is reduce the number of companies that are willing to risk producing a new product in the market.

I say: “bring on the poor quality phones” because it is likely to produce lower price points on better phones as they try to compete. It is also likely to help build a strong young competitor (perhaps KIA can get into the phone business?).

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Market works how?

Now, since we do not actually have products that meet the advertised specs, another player in the market is competition – and that is the only thing that can fix the market at this point.

suing a mobile phone maker or carrier for not delivering what they promised is like handing out speeding tickets at the indy 500.

Matthew McIntyre says:

Re: Market works how?

I agree. Google and T-Mobile should have done a better job. But an informed decision is not a right. If we as consumers don’t make the effort to learn all there is about something before we buy it, well it’s on us not the businesses. It shames me to know my fellow Americans want all the power, benefits, and money without wanting to work for it.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Market works how?

Do you see a difference between a measurable metric like throughput, and a unknown metric like “number of bugs”?

I hate crappy products, but if I joined a class action for every crappy tech product I bought, I’d be full-time managing my legal hobby, and I’d get hundreds of $5 coupons!

The way to handle crappy products is to let the tech journalists chime in first. Which they did, as Google send them Nexus Ones before market release. Then bloggers like engadget or phonescoop get one and do tear-downs, detailed reviews. Then their comments fill with feedback from early adopters. Then bloggers do unboxings, early impressions, and evaluations. Then the dev communities push it to the limit, like

Bottom line, there is no need to buy a device like the Nexus One blind. If there were serious flaws, it would be identified as a dud long before the process above plays out. The market would react to the bad product. Um…Motorola Kin, anyone?

If you want to make a list of Pros and Cons for a product, you probably shouldn’t count on the seller to provide you the list of Cons.

How about a little personal responsibility, a little caveat emptor, and a requirement to do a tiny bit of research before dropping $500 on a phone? Or should we just be able to rush in blind and let the legal system fix it if there are bugs?

And, FWIW, I have an N1, and it is awesome. Of course, I never expected Google to answer the phone if I called, so I never did. If there was a 3G problem on T-Mo, which is a serious flaw, did Google fix it? How quickly?

Ima Fish (profile) says:

However, is it really against the law to sell a product with a few bugs and to to have really dismally crappy customer service? It seems like a stretch.

Ummm…. yes and then no. Selling a product that does not work as promised is against the law. Not criminal law of course, but civil law. And failing to get the product working as promised also is against the law.

Let me ask you this, when you spend a lot of money on something and it doesn’t work. Do you just shrug your shoulders or do you take it back to either get your money or get it working right?

When that happens on a massive scale it’s leads to a lawsuit. This is all really basic stuff. You should seriously consider law school, Mike.

MAtt says:


If the result of the class action lawsuit was Google pays reasonable legal fees to plaintiffs lawyers and monetary award goes to handling individual claims then I would agree. But when the initial defendant gets a significantly larger share than the rest, and the lawyers get 30% of the total settlement, all I see is motivation for attorneys and would-be plaintiffs to file more class action lawsuits.

Auditrix (profile) says:

Nexus One

My beloved Nexus One is my favorite phone ever. The “engraving” I paid for turned out to be thermographic printing, not engraving, but that is my only complaint.

I guess if my phone didn’t work and there was nobody to call for help maybe I wouldn’t feel the same way, but the Nexus one is a spectacular device and I don’t plan to opt into this suit.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Nexus One

I only have two problems with my N1. The first is my own damn fault, I rooted it and installed a bad mod. I’m fixing that now. The second is a connection issue, but only when I’m on the AT&T network, and that’s not Google’s fault.

I have no other issues with the phone. I could see people having issues with T-Mobil’s network if they don’t live in a big city, it does kinda suck.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have a Nexus One and had little issues with the phone. In fact I probably wouldn’t even trade it for newer phones coming out and hope that Google will release another phone.

Google should have marketed differently and should have targeted the geek/techie audience better. As a technophile and I find this to be the best phone out there… but I would direct more mainstream consumers elsewhere.

Money Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m glad you N1 owners are all chiming in with stories about how you like the phone because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I’ve never seen one in person, but I have a Droid. Even though it’s not the same thing, it is pretty similar and I’ve read tons of posts from N1 owners who love bragging about their phone. I think the only reason I didn’t upgrade to it is because I won’t downgrade from Verizon to T-Mobile (or any other carrier).

Daniel (profile) says:


Ok, ok, ok, let me get this straight. Google is being sued because the Nexus One, equipped with the first mass release of Android, had bugs? Holy Crap!!!!! What about Microsoft?! They’ve been at this for years and they still have bugs! Or Apple, although those get swept under the rug. Linux. Car manufacturers. Everyone, really. Besides, the Nexus One was the first one of many to have Android. Now, try this. Get a new phone?

Money Mike (profile) says:

Re: Huh?

I don’t disagree with your view at all, but I have to point out that the Nexus One was definitely not the first phone with Android. I had my Droid for many months before it was released and I know that wasn’t even the first one with it (just the first Android phone available on Verizon).

I believe the G1 on T-Mobile was the first phone with Android. I’m pretty sure that was referred to – or marketed as – the Google phone, so I can understand the confusion.

Money Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Huh?

Thanks for confirming.

I think you’re right about the N1 being the first with it, but I don’t think it was released with Froyo. I only mention that because I doubt that would have anything to do with the reason there’s a lawsuit.

As someone who just got Froyo myself, I know how big of an update it was, but technically speaking, it was only a jump from 2.1 to 2.2. For any other OS, I doubt we would consider that such a significant update.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Huh?

Correct. The N1 was the first Android phone with OS 2.1. There was no release of 2.0, so it is was the first 2.x.

The main value of the N1 is that is has NO carrier affiliation, and therefore, NO crapware. Every carrier loves to stick in their programs, their icons, their partner’s icons (ex: Blockbuster on Droid X). And you can’t delete those unwanted apps. Also, carriers will often choose to DISable useful apps, like laptop tethering, which is an integrated part of Android 2.2, but is removed or hidden by some carriers (same for iPhone). Nexus One is Android the way the Android developers intended it to be.

Next advantage, whenever an updated version of Android is released, with new features and functions, it is released to the Open software community, to carriers, to handset developers. It is then, fairly promptly, pushed out to Nexus one phones. We get the updates and features right away. After months (3-9mos), owners of phones like G1s, Evos, Droids will get the updates – or maybe not at all!

You see, for every new rev of the OS, the handset vendors (Motorola, HTC) need to put their UI enhancements (Motoblur, Sense) on it and to test it with the older handsets. That takes time and resource scheduling, and really they are more concerned with getting out their newer phones. Then, the carrier gets the update from the OEM, but then they have to put their “enhancements”, removals, and customizations into the OS ROM. That takes time and resource scheduling, and really they are more concerned with selling newer phones to new subscribers. How important is it to update the phone of someone who is locked into a 2 year subsidy? Not so much. They’ll focus on the new subs, and the people coming out of their 2-year contract, and want the best model phones to offer those customers.

As a Verizon or other carrier subscriber with an Android phone, your best bet of getting an update is if your phone is still a featured seller at their stores. In that case, they want the updated OS to sell the new units, and you will get the update as an afterthought. Once your phone is off the shelves, it drops a long way in priority.

The N1 is a testament to consumer freedom. And they don’t sell them to consumers anymore. Too bad that era lasted so briefly.

todaysbest says:

Re: Re: Re: N1

I’m a N1 owner as well, and previous employer of Tyrone Mobile. The Nexus was the first android phone released with “eclair.” The G1 was the first android phone all together, released on 1.5 or what we call “Donut.” The MyTouch 3G was the first to get 1.6 or “Cupcake.” I got my N1 the day it released, and was excited to see 2.0 (Eclair) on the device. It is hands down the best phone out there and with the exception of the OLED screen washing out in sunlight or that you have to pull the battery to get to the sdcard, this phone is better than those coming out today. I’m running CM6.1, 2.2.1 Froyo, and just rooted and Rom’d my girlfriends G2. The Nexus S doesn’t even have anything on the N1 aside from minor differences which at the end of the day a user could take or leave. Viva Los Nexus Uno!!

Daniel (profile) says:

Re: Re: Huh?

Odd, I’d heard rumors of the Google Phone, but never the name of it or anything, until it was headed out as the Nexus. Being on Voice, I was trying to stay on top of things, but I haven’t exactly been on top of everything like I try to be. Only so many feeds can be kept up with after all. I’ll have to look up the G1, interesting…

Money Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Huh?

It’s completely understandable. I’m almost positive they referred to both of them as “the Google phone” – the G1 because it was the first Android-powered phone, and the N1 because it was the first phone released by Google themselves. You’d either have to have one of them or follow that stuff pretty closely to know.

GTMoogle says:

Not just bugs

The specific complaint is that there is supposedly a bug that the Nexus One won’t stay connected to 3G networks and will revert to edge, even if the 3G signal is pretty strong (I guess?)

There’s a bug logged but it was marked as ‘will not fix’, which was either correctly or erroneously taken for “We know it’s a problem but we won’t/can’t do anything about it.” The lawsuit seems to be either a sense of entitlement, or pressure to get them to actually fix it by people who don’t want a different phone.

I love my Nexus One. I do end up on edge w/ t-mobile a lot, but I don’t know if that’s the network or the phone. I’ve never been bothered by the speed, or lack thereof.

jimbobalu (profile) says:


I have to chime in here about my N1. I love it, it is so open and customizable. No other phone comes without the bloatware, crappy UI and carrier lockdown that is thankfully missing from my N1.

Google really fell down on marketing this phone, it could have been the greatest phone on all 4 US carriers but I think it was killed because the carriers just couldn’t stand having such an open phone on their networks. Oh, and google didn’t do crap for marketing.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

Any new product...

Any new product, especially one that has no antecedent, will have “teething” problems in the tech support department. I have 2 N1 phones, one for T-Mobile, and one for AT&T. They both work well, as designed, and I won’t give them up for anything. I did have an issue or two, and when I contacted Google N1 tech support via email, they DID get back to me, and provided the information I needed to resolve my problem. Generally, my experiences with AT&T with regard to my old Nokia “dumb” (as opposed to “smart”) phone weren’t as successful. Final analysis? I think this suit should go nowhere fast, and I hope it does.

darryl says:

"BUGS" = "engineering design failures" seeing them is not fixing them.

There is just one problem, Android is open source all the bugs are open to anyone to look at.

Maybe you are talking about the hardware.

That is true, that is possible, but that is not really happening, and sure there are specific reason why you cannot 100% test code, but that is NO EXCUSE for not fixing bugs once you have found them.

Yes, many eyes can find bugs, but if those bugs are not fixed, and systems put in place to stop those ERRORS from being released than Open Source will continue to struggle.

Many eyes have found many bugs, but look at what happens then ! usually NOTHING, that is the problem apart from the vast number of UNKNOWN and undiscovered bugs (Design ERRORS). There is a huge pool of bugs that are known but never fixed. Check out the 60,000+ faults, errors, screwups in Ubuntu, that is only the KNOWN ones, so what does the many eyes do.. Diddly Squat…

However, is it really against the law to sell a product with a few bugs and to to have really dismally crappy customer service?

It most certainly **IS** against the law, several laws, and statutes infact.
Quite simple, its fraudulent, and possibly criminal, for example check out the case of the paraolympic games, an engineering company designed and built a “walking bridge” for the athlets, well they created the bride, (with just a few bugs), and the bridge collapsed, and many people DIED, the engineer who allowed “a few bugs” through is still in prison.

If you say a product is capable of performing specific functions, and it does not, its not ‘fit for use’ and that is illegal.

so fix the screwups in the design, and accept that just because its “open source” or “software” it has the right to not perform as advertised.

Mike, if this has of been against Microsoft, Im sure the direction of this article would have been completely different.

After all, its Google who pays you right !!

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