Apple vs Samsung; why Samsung loses by a knockout.
I bought my first iphone at 2007.
I didn't mean to, seriously I have a bad allergy to anything mac: the computers, the ipods, the whatever.
But when I walked into the 5th ave apple store, while visiting NY, I was just completely and totally blown away.
I was of mind (and still am), that that phone is the most revolutionary piece of technology I've ever used. I was so deeply impressed, that I bought it right there, being fully aware that I won't even be able to use it: I don't live in the US, and never have had the then mandatory AT&T account.
I didn't care.
It was months before the incredible George Hotz finally came up with the coveted unlock (for you veteran unlockers, it was the infamous 1.1.2 OOB), but to this day I consider getting my first Iphone a game changer.
So what's the point I'm trying to make by telling you this ?
Simply that: I am no fanboy !
Though I used Nokia for years prior to my first iphone, I had 0 sentiments/ issues bailing, and when a good friend told me his N95 has way better specs than my iphone, I just laughed in his face telling him he just didn't get it.
For me, it's never about a brand, or "specs on paper"', it's the actual capabilities of the device and quality of the experience.
Similarly, when Apple released the oh so boring 4S, I still got it (though being very disappointed with the 4S, my trusty 3GS was dying on me and I needed a phone), but only 3 weeks after, sold it to get the Galaxy Nexus.
And now finally getting to the main point of this post :
2 weeks ago, I arrived in the US for the duration of a month. one of the first thing I did, was to get a local sim card, and while replacing the sims, I was probably careless because one of the connectors in the sim tray of my Gnex broke off.
"Bummer" I thought "but no big deal", within 5 minutes I was on the phone with a Samsung US representative reading her the phone's IMEI, and expecting instructions of how I could get my phone fixed.
When she said, that the IMEI wasn't coming up on her computer, I told her its an International Galaxy Nexus, which I bought off contract, for full price, in Canada.
To my complete shock, she told me that they don't support phones purchased out of the US, and that I should try and contact Samsung Canada.
I've asked to speak to a manager and explained, that calling Canada isn't a valid option as I am here for a month and rely on my phone, but to no avail.
To sum up a very long (1:32:47), and very frustrating conversation - Samsung will not honor an international warranty.
None of my contends of the Gnex being a MOBILE, INTERNATIONAL (please read the two words separately) phone helped.
When I asked what happens to a person on vacation with a phone problem, and if they are basically screwed until they go back to their own country, I got only silence as an answer.
I think I was mostly shocked, because being an iphone user for so long, I got used to just entering the nearest Apple store, and after 10-30 minutes later, walking out with a working device. Regardless of where I was on the globe. Regardless of where I bought my phone.
That is the service level I have become used to, and that is the level of service I naturally expect from "contender to the smartphone throne" Samsung.
So here is my conclusion of the whole experience - you could have the most amazing, greatest device the world has ever seen, and it wouldn't make any difference from A BRICK if it doesn't work. in fact, you might even prefer the brick, as it can be used for self defense or something..
Seriously now, I travel often, and If the manufacturer of my mobile phone, tells me I have no coverage abroad; that is the biggest deal breaker there is.
After all, why pay full price for an international phone, if it's not covered internationally !?
Samsung goes and spends in the hundreds of millions marketing it's phones, in the hopes of dethroning Apple, while totally neglecting an essential aspect like this.
That is why, In the (practical, non-legal) case of Apple vs. Samsung, the latter losses by a painful knockout !
Problem is, that most of that pain is to it's consumers.
So there you have it, I hope my situation helps someone else to not get stuck while abroad - just don't travel with your Samsung phone.
PS - I've sent 3 emails to Samsung following my conversation with them, asking if this is indeed their formal stand, and wanting to make a formal complaint about this sub-par policy. It's been almost 2 weeks and not a word back. I intend to ask the guys at The Verge to maybe pull their strings and hopefully get some answers.