Moving to a Nexus S, Part 1

Today only, the Nexus S is free from Best Buy with a two-year contract agreement on any of the carriers who support it, i.e. Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T.

I’ve been pondering the jump to a new phone for a while, since my EVO running CyanogenMod 7 (@cyanogen) starting having weird issues with calls and GPS. While I love Android and the modding community, the lure of iOS was strong because I just don’t have the time to muck around with a modded phone.

I modded the phone in the first place to get as close to stock Android as possible. Well, the Nexus One and its successor, the Nexus S, run stock Android out-of-the-book. The Nexus phones are Google’s flagship reference implementation phones for Android. In other words, it’s what the carriers get before they add their bloatware and disable fesupport it, i.e. Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T.

So, I jumped at the chance to get a Nexus S for free, which I’ve been admiring from afar since it was a rumor. I think they normally retail for somewhere between $100 and $200, depending on the carrier and your account status.

I’ve done nothing with the phone so far, but the experience so far warrants a post. I’ll follow up with some real thoughts later.

Shortly after I read about the one-day freebie, I headed out to a Best Buy Mobile store. I was expecting the whole process to take about 30 minutes and debating what carrier I should choose. I settled on Sprint because a) I have Sprint with the EVO I got from Google at IO 2010, b) it seemed easier than jumping to T-Mobile or AT&T, and c) the Nexus S has a WiMAX receiver so it gets 4G, like the EVO.

The fun began immediately. My number has been with me for nearly a decade, but only recently, did I move it to Oracle’s centrally-billed account, managed by a third party. That changed my number to a business account, which made it impossible for the Best Buy dude to access.

We only found out it was impossible after 90 minutes of me talking to the third party who manages our wireless, the Best Buy dude talking to that same person, the Best Buy dude talking to his manager and coworkers, and the Best Buy dude talking to Sprint directly.

That last bit was the cherry on top.

In order to release my account, the Sprint representative wanted to speak to the CEO of my company and me at the same time.

So, she wanted to talk to Larry Ellison to authorize the release of my account.

Not. Even. Joking.

I asked if she would get Dan Hesse on the phone on her end.

Anyway, the end result of this mess was that I opened a new account, which isn’t so bad. I suppose I should have a local phone number, like that even matters anymore.

The moral of the story here is that carriers make the rules here in the US, and they make the rules hard on purpose.

One interesting anecdote, I had a lot of down time to chat up the Best Buy dude, so I asked him about tablet sales.  Best Buy Mobile stores sell all manner of smartphones and tablets.

He told me Android tablets (they had at least ten options from various manufacturers) outsold the iPad 2 by a large margin. When pressed, he estimated 5-1, citing the usual decision factor as price, which makes sense for Android phone buyers. This is the first time I’ve heard that price is making such a difference in tablets. Also interesting was that the 10″ tablets were best sellers, so the people buying Android tablets, at least at this one Best Buy Mobile store, were looking for an iPad experience, i.e. not a smaller tablet, but a cheaper one with the same form factor.

Yeah, it’s only one store, but I’m stunned.

Thoughts? Find the comments.




  1. Yeah, David Haimes made a key point on Twitter though. Most people buy Apple products from the Apple Stores, not from Best Buy. Plus, this is very anecdotal.

    So, no reason to get too excited, but I was pretty stunned. Will be interesting to see how the rest of the year goes for Android tabs.

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