I tried to buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab … but failed


This article is by Darryl Adams, a government worker and internet tragic. A former IT worker, he still pines for the days of IBM keyboards that go CRUNCH and the glow of green screens. He can be found on on Twitter or on Facebook. Check out his site oz-e-books.com for more articles about e-book readers, retailers, formats and news (or will have when Darryl can be drawn away from reading Delimiter). The views expressed here do not reflect the views of his employer, the ATO.

tale of woe Dateline: Friday 12 November, 2010. The scene: Deep in the dungeon of a Federal Government agency. Our protagonist, a mild mannered government worker by day, intrepid reporter at night, sees the Delimiter article on Vodafone releasing the Samsung Galaxy Tab on this date! Hallelujah!

So our hero boldly swings into action (during his rostered break times), getting information so he too can get one of these shiny new devices and consign his iPhone 3G to the deep dark hell it belongs to.

Now our hero is on Vodafone, so he quickly rushes to the Vodafone “webpage” (also known as “the internets”) — but there is not one skerrick of details on the site . A call to the customer care line is also blocked by the cunning plan of the company not providing information for phone staff. Tricky!

Undeterred, our hero tries Optus. There are details on the company’s webpage! Alas, phone staff advise that the device will be available Monday, which makes a purchase on Friday a forlorn hope. So our dashing hero (during his lunch break) rushes to that den of vile villainy, Westfield Parramatta. Armed in the knowledge that there are more phone stores than baked dinners in that huge complex, he was certain to achieve tech nirvana!

The rebranded 3 store (carrying both 3 and Vodafone livery) has stock! However, it has no information on associated plans, preventing the intrepid reporter from purchasing the desired device. Other potential customers mill around while the sales staff are deep in computer screens looking for details.

Pressing on, our reporter rushes to The Crazy John store (a Vodafone retailer) in the hope of achieving satisfaction. The staff brush him aside with the cunning comment of “no idea”. The Optus stores (and two are checked in a mad rush around the evil Westfield maze of shopping death) both shrug and reply that they too had no information. Virgin, alas, knows about the Galaxy Tab, but is not getting the device (despite being solely owned by Optus).

Curses! Foiled Again!

Dateline: Monday 12 November, 2010 Bruised, battered but undeterred, our hero focuses on Vodafone. The fact the company’s stores had stock of the Galaxy Tab on hand was a bonus, but the fact that our hero is a Vodafone customer should mean a simple walk in, sign a new contract, and walk out.

The forces of evil had other plans. Part of the issue is that our intrepid hero generally finds the 3 shop staff to be helpful and knowledgeable. It is their call centre and back office that he finds to be the spawn of evil. And Vodafone seems to have used the 3 call centre and jettisoned its own excellent call care staff, to our hero’s dismay.

So when the protagonist arrives during his lunch break on Monday, he is yet again disappointed to find that while the Galaxy Tab is in stock, plans are still not on the sales staff computers. So while the poor sales person battles the computer system, and then the support call centre, with a line forming behind our hero, the hero waits. For over an hour and a half.

Afraid that the hero might face the wrath of the government department that he dares not mention by name, he finally leaves, vowing to return.

And yet, returning later after his magnificent work for the government was completed, more woe was to be discovered. The 10GB plan that VHA announced has still not been implemented. It appears that it is made up of 2 bonus allocations of download capacity of 7GB added to the normal plan allocation of 3GB. And the zero dollar upfront fee has morphed into a $129 payment. Woe!

Now, the hero has and most likely will spend more in one hit for a tech device. However, based on the information he was working on, he does not have $129 available on hand right now, because all the media he has seen stated a zero dollar upfront cost. The fact that the monthly repayment of the device was going to be lower is not the issue, as the hero is willing to pay the original $26 a month each month for the device.

There was something about a $500 limit, but our protagonist by this time is trying to stop his brains leaking out of his ears caused by the explanation. Defeated, dejected, our hero leaves the store a broken man.

In all seriousness, this is one of the reasons why Apple owns this space. The company’s tight control of every aspect of the device, from design to release dates, and the hype field generated by Apple means that a person knows what day the device is released, what the plans are and where to buy the device. Samsung has no such benefit of market control and has to leave the release and plans to the carriers.

The iPad is not carried by the carriers and they only offer data plans for it. The Galaxy Tab offered the carriers a chance to compete with a device that is more open than the competition and tap into a new and vibrant market segment.

But the haphazard release of the Galaxy Tab by Optus and Vodafone shows that as a iPad Killer ™, Samsung has a lot more work to put in in terms getting the day 1 experience right.

Image credits: Samsung


  1. On a related point, I agree that Apple’s micro-management offers strengths they can use against their competitors in distribution and support.
    The control they have over what can and can’t be done with the work iPhone I use is incredibly frustrating except when it comes to firmware updates and similar.

    When I updated my wife’s HTC Desire with FroYo earlier this month (I wasn’t aware of the over-the-air update until after I had done the PC-based ROM method), I lost all SMSes, had to restore contacts from sim, lost apps, essentially had a factory default (but better) phone.

    Apple’s updates are a breeze in comparison.

  2. My experience with the Froyo update for HTC Desire is exactly like yours.

    If only I waited for the over the air, however, I love the wifi hotspot in 2.2 (and could do without the Telstra bloatware and some of the HTC Sense stuff)

  3. Unfortunately my experience with getting a Tab on Optus was as painful as the prose in this article.

    Harvey Norman had them in stock but had not received any information from Optus as to how to add them to a data plan through Optus’s ‘Boomerang’ system. After an hour and a half which involved the HN sales guy calling multiple people in the Indian call centre, the Optus rep, the Optus rep’s boss and various other folk, we gave up!

    I wandered over to the Optus store and they were just as clueless – I ended up having to show them their own website on my mobile so that they could see which plans they were supposed to be offering!

    Anyway, in the meantime the HN guy called me to say he’d finally tracked down the one person at Optus who actually knew what they were doing, so I walked back over and 10 minutes later had an activated device. A complete farce!

    As you say, compare that with an Apple launch and they would have not only had the process down pat, but queues of eager buyers waiting around the block to boot!

    • I rather liked Darryl’s Marvel® Comics style. ;)

      Besides, it correctly expresses the feeling of bravery and delicious anticipation we have as we go to claim The Newly-Released Device, and the confusion and bitter disappoinment we suffer if it is not immediately available.

      Then there’s the additional misery of dealing with a telco and their “plans” for our undoing…

  4. I too want to buy a Galaxy Tab, but outright, not on a plan. It seems this isn’t possible yet. I was amazed that on 11 November I received an email from Samsung AU saying that the Galaxy Tab “has landed”, yet when I clicked on the where to buy icon, it listed about half a dozen stores with links. Each link went to the top level of the respective sites (not a dedicated Galaxy Tab page), and searching those sites for “galaxy tab” showed no information.

    This has slightly improved since then. Now they show less logos on the page at http://www.samsung.com/au/smartphone/galaxy-tab/where-to-buy.html – and none of them work except for Optus ones.

  5. I picked up one finally yesterday evening from Harvey Norman.

    Supprisingly painless compared to my previous experience. On contract with OPTUS.

    One thing I noticed with both Optus an Telstra is that their data network is far better than Vodafone in the Parramatta/Blacktown area.

    A hardware review will be comming soon

  6. Ha! I’m holding off for the next iPad, but I’ll be very interested to see your review.

    Apple reliability is one reason I’m staying with their devices (I also bought the iPhone 4). Reliability is particularly important to me, now I’m too sick to debug my own device.

    However, I also value the seamless integration with our home Macs and Mac/Linux networks. It all “just works”.

    • I agree. I am a Unix and Linux administrator and believer in open source. However outside of work I just like my stuff to work so I got an iPhone 4 and plan on getting an iPad 2 next year.

  7. I too just popped into HN to see the Tab, was dismayed I could not buy, a good salesman could have sold me, had to have Optus. @ min. $59.00 per month. No way, pay too much for my Telstra BB now.
    Walked out, and will wait for the 2nd generation IPad. Perhaps give all a miss and just stick to reading on my Kindle,


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