Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Google, please stop giving away hardware at your events!

I just read via engadget that Google is giving away Xoom tablets to attendees at the GDC. Originally, giving away free hardware was a great way to get devs to play around and build cool apps, but this cute gimmick has run it's course.  People now expect to get free hardware from Google, and since the value of the hardware tends to exceed the ticket price of the conference, everyone and their mother are signing up.

I had planned on going to Google IO this year, and was patiently waiting for registration to open.  I made the mistake of walking across the street to Panera for lunch with some co-workers, and by the time I got back registration had already opened and closed.  Who cares you say? Maybe I'm just bitter because I wasn't one of the lucky few that made it.

Sorry, but there is more too it than that, dev conferences are supposed to be for developers. It's a chance to learn new stuff and get some important networking done. The job I have now at TuneWiki, in fact, came from a random encounter I had during a lunch break at a previous Google IO.  Signing up for a Google IO event, should not be the online equivalent of going to Walmart on Black Friday.

   Yes, I'm also aware of the Google IO Pre-Sale VIP list, which supposedly was to give deserving developers a guaranteed spot at the conference.  Except that it failed, miserably, imo.  Using myself as an example, I attended the very first Android event on the Google campus.  I worked on two android projects that won top 10 placement in the first ADC (find someone else who can claim that).  I attended the first device readiness event before the G1 was released.  I sat front row at the G1 announcement press-conference as a special guest of T-mobile.  My current work efforts not only include TuneWiki, but also the media player that's baked into every motorola device (before US carriers replace it with their crapware).  Despite all this, I did not receive a VIP pre-sale invite.  And if I didn't get an invite, you can bet your ass there are plenty of other deserving developers who didn't either.

In short, Google, I am disappoint.

UPDATE: For the record, I already have stacks of android devices on my desk, including unreleased evaluation devices, so anyone who thinks that I'm butthurt over not getting a tablet is only re-enforcing my point. People are now assuming getting a device is the reason I want to go to these events.