Why Google shouldn't sell hardware

Don't be evil. That's the informal motto of Google. Unfortunately, they can't seem to keep themselves from doing wrong, even if it's not intentional.

The Nexus 7 tablet is one of the most anticipated gadgets of the year. Google has been tight-lipped about how many were pre-ordered when the tablet was officially announced on June 27, but I was among those who decided to bite.

A couple of weeks passed and rumours of shipping dates started to pop up. Then pictures started popping up of retail stores with boxes of the tablets that apparently couldn't be sold until some unknown date.

"Surely Google won't let those get sold unless they've already shipped my pre-order, right?"

The first rumblings began as those who pre-ordered did not get any update on their order, even as it became more and more clear that retail stores really did have stock ready to sell.

Then, last Friday, the retail stores were clearly given the green light by Google, and anyone was able to walk into several retail chains (including GameStop!) and just buy a Nexus 7 right off the shelf. Those who had pre-ordered still hadn't been given any update on their order. No credit card charge. No tracking number. Nothing. To add insult to injury, Google levied a hefty shipping charge for those that pre-ordered ($20 CDN, $15 US, and £10 in the UK). Essentially, if you pre-ordered through Google Play, you were paying extra to wait until others already had the device.

Some contacted Google to cancel their order and were told their only recourse was to refuse the delivery, and after a few weeks would get their money refunded (no word on if that includes getting the shipping charge refunded).

Needless to say, Google screwed up. Throughout this entire process they have not said a word, outside of the not-so-cute tweet/post, "Locked and loaded, ready to play: we’ve started shipping +Nexus 7 pre-orders today!" I think it's safe to say that many, myself included, will not be pre-ordering anything from Google until they have demonstrated that they know how to handle it properly.

As for my own order, I do have a tracking number now. Sadly, I won't have it until a week after I could have just walked into a GameStop and bought one.

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