Friday, February 03, 2006


OEMs - participate in the conversations

I attended CES last year with a single goal in mind: establish relationships with OEMs in order to provide better content for my readers and the Tablet PC community. I attended CES this year with that same goal in mind. That content includes reviews of new units when they are launched so that the many of the “how big, how fast, screen angles, usability” questions could be answered right away. A big problem I’ve noticed the past couple of years, is that we have about a 6 – 8 week wait in order to get a decent review of a new tablet.

My experience with Motion: I’ve been trying to get an interview with the CEO, Scott Eckert, for about a year and I keep getting told “ We can’t get you Scott, but maybe a VP level person.” I thought, ok, I’ll take what I can get. A year later and still no interview with a VP. Emails either go unanswered or I’m told they are working on it and promise to get back to me soon. Obviously, they don’t think it is important to get out and talk to the community. Motion, however,  has been kind enough to give me briefs of upcoming products, about a week or two before the launch. No matter how hard I try, though, I have yet to get a review unit – before or after launch. Any units I’ve gotten, I’ve purchased. Motion is one of the few OEMs to actively participate in the on-line community. No interviews, no review units.

I made a great contact at HP last year who provides me some good background info and is pretty forthcoming with me. Still no review units, though.

With my emails to the contacts I’ve made at Fujitsu, I’m sent to the PR folks (like Motion does) and I’m basically told that I’ll be put on a list for review units, but don’t look for anything to happen. A year of emails and nothing has happened.

Martin Smekal, of TabletKiosk, is the most accessible of all the OEMs. Obviously, they are smaller then HP and Fujitsu, but Martin recognizes the value of involving himself in the commmunity. He is active on and will gladly send a review unit to influencers. There is no PR wall between TabletKiosk and the community.

Dennis and I finally made a good contact at Toshiba. He’s been forthcoming with data and it is much appreciated. It is a relationship that Dennis and I will continue to cultivate. Requests for review units, however, are lost in a black PR hole.

What I’m finding is that the OEMs do not grasp the importance and size of the on-line community and establishing the relationship with influencers in that space. If you are PC Magazine, however, the Red Sea will part for you. I have found that all of the OEMS frequent the influencers blogs and and follow everything that goes on. They just don’t participate in the conversations – big mistake. Read Scoble’s Naked Conversations. Don’t create a PR wall between your company and the community. Break that wall down and start participating in the conversations.

OEMs ought to be seeking out folks like myself, Warner Crocker, James Kendrick, Marc Orchant, Dennis Rice, and engaging themselves in the community. I’m going to post something tomorrow that will show how one company totally gets the community and steps up to the plate.

It's really interesting to me that OEMs don't have people working full time to find folks like you to use and review their products. Back in 2003 and 2004 I had a small web site devoted to Pocket PCs (, and I had good relationships with OEMs. I was a nobody, and Pocket PC OEMs (both devices and accessories) were very cool about sending me products to review. I never had to ask more than twice, and in most cases, once they I had reviewed one of their products, I never had to ask for another. I received FedEx packages quite often from folks like CasesOnline, HP, and some others. Why the OEMs you're dealing with don't see value in what you can bring them is beyond me.
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