We’re going to get this out of the way in the beginning of the story this time: Chamillionaire was invited to attend his second TechCrunch CrunchUp event yesterday. Why? Not because he is rap star but because he is a tech entrepreneur. His credits include investing in Y-Combinator start-ups including Disqus (which we use for blog commenting) and starting a tech competition at Stanford University.
During a panel with Android’s top UI guy, Matius Duarte, Chamillionaire expressed his frustration with Android saying that every Android phone he used sucked compared to the iPhone. He’s apparently owned 4 or more different Android devices. So obviously he wanted to give Android a good run for it’s money.
After some blogs took his question out of context and others dismissed him as just some rapper who doesn’t know any better Chamillionaire wrote in a blog post that he doesn’t think Android sucks, but he thinks that a lot of devices running Android aren’t that great compared to the iPhone.
more after the break
Chamillionaire goes onto express some frustration with the different employees he’s purchased Android phones from, writing:
“Every time I go to a store and buy an Android phone I take the advice of some employee who doesn’t really know any better. They always seem so sure that the phone that they are referring is the truth. Thats never really the case. Now im hoping that im gonna be a believer.”
I’m sure you realize that Chamillionaire is not alone in this frustration. Education at the store level has been a problem in the wireless industry since the first Cellular One store opened. Understaffed stores, rapid-fire online training pods and even Android fragmentation can be blamed for “green” wireless store employee who can’t correctly assess the needs of the customer. Sales goals, long waits and timed interactions to earn a JD Power & Associates award can also be blamed for lack of customer education.
Even though T-Mobile stores are like a ghost town now, prior to the merger T-Mobile was consistently the winner of the JD Power award, one of the reasons was that engaged employees who really “got” T-Mobile’s customer initiatives would use the “as long as it takes, with a customer” mantra instilled at T-Mobile store level employees. T-Mobile would have rather taken up extra time at purchase to make sure that customers left the stores with their questions answered rather than generating customer frustration, more calls to customer service and churn.
Of course as a celebrity Chamillionaire creates a different kind of customer experience. Perhaps he’s made some wireless sales associates nervous or they just wanted to reiterate Chamillionaire’s decision even if it’s the wrong phone. Obviously from trying 4 different Android devices he wants the right device and wants to use Android.
Google has told Chamillionaire that they will give him a phone that they think he will love. According to his twitter that phone is the Nexus S, the same phone that Duarte uses. Chamillionaire seems to be looking forward to giving Android another shot.
I personally think condemning anyone for saying that the Android devices he used have sucked, after trying Android on four different devices, and is now open to trying another one, is a bit over the top. I also think immediately disqualifying his opinion because he is a rapper is baseless (see above), would you discount Kevin Liles, Russell Simmons, Bob Johnson or even Magic Johnson’s opinion?
Chamillionaire adds at the bottom of his posting:
“Im [sic] don’t even think im picky when it comes to phones. Yall know I used to carry 4 phones that I liked at once. I liked them all for different reasons. Blackberrry and the sidekick. Some of these Android phones are the only ones I can say I just haven’t liked. Maybe I have just been getting pointed in the wrong direction.”