Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The lies from Verizon just keep on coming (regarding LTE and the Motorola Xoom)

The only reason I'm writing this post is to help others realize that Verizon has been and continues to outright LIE about the Xoom being a 4G/LTE tablet. Even when they say that it's "upgradable", they are at the very least, being misleading. Since March they've been saying that it's "LTE Upgradable", but that's not true because they still aren't providing upgrades. If they said "someday we might provide an LTE upgrade but by then this will be a sub-par tablet", then I'd say they're being more honest. By placing ports on the bottom, you're forced to buy another expensive accessory to use it in some of the more fundamental ways a 10" tablet should be used. Newer tablets (like my Toshiba Thrive [I also own a Samsung Galaxy tab 10.1 and have owned an Acer Iconia]) place the ports on one of the short ends so that you can prop the tablet up any way you like while doing anything it allows.

This isn't a bad tablet, but I made the mistake of paying the full $800 because I didn't want to use an upgrade and I did so under the impression that I'd soon be able to active it on the LTE network. I've since purchased an HTC thunderbolt which I can tether off of (cheaper than the LTE plan would be if my Xoom was LTE ready right now, and it's not). Now the xoom retails for $500 and is still sub-par compared my my $579 Samsung Thrive except for the fact that the Xoom has dual-band WiFi. That is LITERALLY the own objective benefit the Xoom has over the thrive.

Why bother giving VZW your money when you can do better elsewhere?

Today (2011-08-03) I spoke with @VZWSupport on Twitter and here are some of the replies I received:

 1/2: I hear your frustration. The Xoom LTE upgrade will be released soon. Here's a link for further details:.
 2/2: Enter your email address to be contacted. We offer a trade in program to buy back the Xoom device  ^EW
 I'm sorry there's was an issue with the link being sent about the LTE upgrade on the Xoom. The link is: . ^EW
 The Xoom is 4G "upgradeable." The upgrade is coming soon to the device, and you will receive info on how to update. ^MSF
 The Xoom has always been marketed as a 4G upgradeable device. Do you not like your Xoom, because I absolutely love mine! ^MSF

I think anyone who's been following the release of the Xoom would agree that it has NOT "always been marketed as a 4G upgradable device" and the image above is CURRENT proof. It doesn't say "will have 4G LTE network capability" or "upgradable [eventually we claim] to 4G LTE network capability". Also, if you look at the displays in-store, or watch the current commercials, you'll find that it is included in those collections which implies that it IS (not WILL BE) 4G/LTE capable.

Let's for a moment assume that Verizon has been completely honest about it not being 4G/LTE ready (wording I'm sure they've avoided because it is even more guilty of the point I'm making). When Verizon says "4G upgradable", I think we'd all agree that to mean we could go upgrade it to 4G. In the English language, that's a pretty clear message and there aren't many ways to misinterpret it. Really though, it's like someone telling a 10 year old boy here in the US that he can "run for president." In fact, he cannot because the point in time where that possibility exists hasn't occurred. EVENTUALLY, the Xoom will be 4G upgradable but right now a 4G upgrade is not available so to say that the Xoom is "4G upgradable" is not true and thus a lie.

It seems to me that this should be addressed by the FTC or perhaps a class-action suit could be filed to compensate those of us who have suffered a loss as a result of the lies Verizon has spread.

Fact: I purchased a Xoom under the impression (based on what I read from Verizon and what I was told by more than one representative in a Verizon store) that a 4G upgrade would be made available in the near future (notice "upgrade will be available" vs. "upgradeable").

Fact: I would not have purchased the Xoom if I had known that 5 months later an upgrade would still not be available.

Fact: I paid $800 for the tablet being reasonably sure that I was paying a premium because the 4G capability the device would have.

Fact: The EXACT same device is now selling for $600 from Verizon and the upgrade is STILL not available.

Fact: I now have an LTE capable phone I can tether with (a service cheaper than direct LTE service on the Xoom will be) and I have already purchased another tablet with more features and a better design for $579. While tethered to my phone, I have everything and more than I should have had for the $800 tablet I purchased 5 months ago.

Fact: Consumer technology like this has a very short life-cycle and the value my $800 Xoom has dropped by something like %50 (a loss of ~$400) and I still haven't seen the functionality for which I paid the premium.

Conclusion: Either Verizon KNEW they weren't going to provide the upgrade in a timely manner and they intentionally mislead people like myself so they could sell the hell out of the product (other Android tablets WERE available, some with better specs aside from the so called "4G upgradable" feature) or they didn't know it would take so long in which case they were negligent for advertising the Xoom as they continue to do even today, as a "4G" device.

I think there are a couple fair ways for Verizon to compensate me for this situation.

  • Buy the device back with a reasonable decrease in value based on its condition/use (which is very little since I rarely used it while waiting for the upgrade and even less since I found a nicer tablet which is my primary), perhaps the full current retail of $600. 
  • Let me keep my Xoom, give me the upgrade but then give me unlimited LTE service for a period of time that is equal to the time that elapses between my purchase date, and the date I have my Xoom fully working ON THE LTE NETWORK (roughly 5 months as of right now). 
  • Give me at least $500 in additional device upgrade credits. 
  • Something of value along those lines. 

"4G LTE network capability" says that the Xoom is capable of using the 4G LTE network which it WILL NOT be UNTIL the upgrade is available and HAS BEEN installed. The English language relies heavily on a concept called "tense" (quick read here). Either Verizon marketing "professionals" have something less than a 3rd grade reading level, Verizon is ignoring the significance of tense in their materials, or they're intentionally being misleading.

Not quite on-topic for the 4G/LTE issue, but along the same lines where "misleading marketing" is concerned, another item to take note of on this ad is the "3D holographic user experience". There is nothing 3D or holographic about this device. It has a standard 2D LCD display which renders application that regularly use a well known technique called "3D Projection" to communicate the impression of a 3D scene/object on a 2D surface. By adding "holographic" to their marketing, they are implying that this device differentiates itself in the context of 3D displays and in a market where "autostereoscopic" displays exist. This marketing is also very misleading.

Apparently Verizon is finds it perfectly acceptable to misrepresent their products to improve their bottom line.


rainabba said...

UPDATE: The LTE upgrade has begun and Verizon links to instructions on how to "backup your data" but the instructions don't actually do anything to "backup your data" (per se). They DO explain how to copy files from internal storage (not to include /data which has ALL your app data). The lies never cease and I feel for all the people who are going to be caught off guard when they get their upgraded Xoom back only to find out that their data wasn't upgraded and is gone forever.

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