I’ve been a fan of Gomadic chargers for several years. Like many of the other Gear Diary writers, I like to switch devices frequently, but replacing desk chargers, car chargers, sync cables, etc., for each gadget gets to be pretty expensive pretty quickly. With Gomadic’s “tip exchange” technology, you keep the same charging cable, but change the tip at the end where it connects to the device. Here’s how they describe their products:
Don’t lug around cords for all of your devices. Buy one Gomadic cable, from retractable USBs to double car chargers and you’re set for years. Simply buy a new tip with each new device or upgrade and you’re ready to roll. Keep one cord and rotate all of your devices into the power source. At home, In the car, On the go, Gomadic solutions are always adaptable and affordable. We are charging simplified.
When I get a new phone or media player, I check Gomadic’s site to see if they have a tip for it. So, when I got my Dell Streak last fall, I checked to see if Gomadic had a tip. They didn’t, so I sent them an email to ask if they planned to make one. I received a response within 24 hours, which said that yes, they intended to make one, but as the Streak uses an unusual pin configuration, they didn’t expect to have anything for 6 weeks or so. In about 6 weeks, I checked back. Still no tip, so I sent another email. Similar response, again received within 24 hours. Yes, they were still planning to make a tip, but it wasn’t ready yet. The email suggested checking back and gave me a timeframe.
I waited another month, but when there still wasn’t a Streak tip listed on the Gomadic website, I followed up with another email. This time I received a response not from a customer service person, but rather from someone who identified themselves as one of Gomadic’s engineers; in particular, the one tasked with designing the Streak tip. The engineer apologized for the delay, indicated that part of the problem was identifying a manufacturer for the connector as it wasn’t one that Gomadic typically carried, and promised to keep me updated on the status of designing and releasing the tip.
A couple of weeks later, the engineer sent me another note to say that the design process was complete and manufacturing would start soon. A week after that, I received another email from the engineer, telling me that prototype tips had arrived and they were going to send me a tip for charging and a tip for syncing. The engineer asked that I try the sample tips and let them know how they worked.
The package came a few days later with both tips, as promised, as well as a sync cable to use with the sync tip.
I’m impressed. This level of customer service isn’t common. Gomadic didn’t need to send me the tips complimentary; I certainly would have ordered them once I knew they were available. But, knowing that I had been waiting for a while, Gomadic rewarded my interest and patience. This level of customer service is a rarity and deserves to be recognized. And no, I never identified myself as someone who writes for a blog in order to get better treatment.
Oh, and by the way, the tips work great. I’m going to order more, so I can throw an extra tip in my briefcase for use at the office or in the car, in addition to the one I’m using at home.
And one more thing… I have several Gomadic tips for Apple devices, but guess what? Gomadic isn’t making them anymore. Why? Because Apple threatened to sue them. From Gomadic’s website:
In October 2010 Gomadic was contacted by an attorney representing Apple which advised us that, in their opinion, our Apple compatible connector “tips” were infringing upon their patent (7,627,343). While our patent lawyer’s opinion was that we do not infringe this patent, we have voluntarily pulled all our products which use an Apple compatible 30-pin connector and we will no longer be able to sell these products. However we are working with Apple to find some sort of resolution, we will update this page if and when a resolution is reached.
I hope Apple can work something out with Gomadic. They’re good people.