T-Mobile G1 Purchase Goes Smoothly; Lines And Availability Spotty

I’m not sure if it’s a sign of tough economic times or a lack of cool, but I was a little surprised to be the first G1 customer in line today. I stopped at a T-Mobile store in Laguna Niguel, Calif. on my way down to the WebbyConnect conference and couldn’t have had a better experience. I arrived at 7 a.m. and was the only person waiting for the store to open. By the time 8 a.m. rolled around, four people were congregating near the door. Contrast that to a little over three months ago, when I tried to pick up the iPhone 3G on its first day and came up empty handed after waiting in line for hours. Meanwhile, those that were able to buy one experienced activation snafus and other glitches. I won’t nag on AT&T and Apple’s shoddy customer service again, but let’s just say my first impression of T-Mobile is much better. My new T-Mobile service was activated within 30 minutes, and while my paperwork was being printed I entered my Gmail account info and all of my personal information was synchronized on my G1 within minutes. But be warned, T-Mobile: I ended up returning the iPhone 3G after using it for two weeks—and if my G1 doesn’t work out I’ll return it as well. T-Mobile employees wouldn’t say how many devices they had in store, but they aren’t expecting any new shipments until Nov. 10. When the current stock runs out, there could be a three-week lag before new G1s arrive. I’m not sure if it’s lack of want or T-Mobile’s ability to spread out sales that’s led to the short or non-existent lines. T-Mobile was smart to pre-sell G1s to existing customers, but interest in the new device is tame compared to the iPhone. G1 availability at stores is unclear (we’ve heard everything from 35 to 60 or more) and most stores expect to sell out by noon.