Not only did Google pre-mail Droid handsets to I/O attendees, today they gave the Sprint HTC EVO 4G out to conference attendees at the Moscone Center, with a 2GB Micro SD card filled with music. Awhile back I tweeted that I wouldn’t accept “free” phones like these, since I cover Google on TWiG and at web sites and magazines where I occasionally freelance, and accepting a “gift” from a company I talk and write about so much seemed like a bad idea. But, I’m not a full-time journalist who has to operate under the kinds of stringent rules that a New York Times reporter does. I’m a developer and independent commentator, and I’m at this conference on my own dime–no press pass, no expense account. So, I’m going back on my initial word: I did accept the phones as part of the $400 ticket price to the conference, and I plan to use them to develop for Android.
Sounds like a reasonable thing to do, you get the most value out of your ticket. Also you mentioned that you want to start developing for android, so an extra device will always come in handy for you.
Oscar Pineda Zapata
I think your being very professional about receiving the phone, but from what i have heard you talking on TWIG you like testing Android and if you receive the phone you can analyze it to give better reviews for your readers or listeners
I don’t think anyone is going to begrudge you that Gina (all right, who am I kidding, this is the Internet after all). You’ve already proclaimed yourself a Google fangirl, so your biases are already out in the open.
(no begrudging, but jealous here)
Don’t you had a G1 and a N1 before the EVO?
Gina, I’ve followed your progress as an editor, journalist and developer for many years now. In that time, I’ve learned that you are a person of unquestionable integrity that calls it as she sees it. Every informed observer knows of your commitment to, and investment in, open platforms. I believe that is all the incentive you’ll require to give Google a poke if circumstances warrant it.
I can’t imagine a single (reasonable) person questioning your integrity Gina. The fact that you even divulged that you were keeping them and why, speaks volumes about your character.
Let’s just hope that Mike Arrington doesn’t catch wind of it 😉
If the conference is handing a phone (or any other swag) out to all attendees, turning it down seems a little like turning down the bag full of flyers every conference hands out with badges. Ethical issues would only pop up (at least in my mind) if you were either there on a press pass or if you realized they weren’t handing phones out to everyone there â€” just journalists.
Enjoy developing with your new phone.
Hey with the hard work you put into churning out quality content, you definitely deserve it!
Gina, anything you develop for Android I’m confident will be awesome. I’m glad you accepted both of the phones!
Not to be “that guy,” but I kind of have a problem with this.
I’m not implying for a moment that you’d do anything intentionally misleading or otherwise blatantly unethical. But hasn’t your entanglement with Google reached such a point that you’ve compromised your ability to be objective about them? That doesn’t disqualify you from commenting on them in and of itself, but it seems that you should recuse yourself as an objective journalist when discussing anything Google-related.
That you’re not employed by the New York Times is irrelevant. There are people – quite a lot, I’d assume – that place greater value on what you write about technology than what David Pogue writes.
Anyway, it seems that there’s a simple solution. If you were attending I/O as a developer, there’s no reason not to take the phones. If you were attending as a journalist, it seems to me that you have a duty to refuse them.
Well if you find yourself with too many Android phones, I know a certain geek in Ann Arbor who would be glad to help you lighten your load 🙂
@Zach: You’re right. That’s the thing: I was attending as a developer, not a journalist. (I didn’t get a press pass–didn’t even try to get one.)
I’m a commentator, not an objective journalist. I’m upfront about the fact that I’m a heavy Google user and fan–AND a critic, when it’s warranted.
No need worrying about measuring up to the NYT’s fastidious ethical standard – they thought sub prime debt and the Iraq War were great ideas.
Also, Google gave out EVOs to everyone who attended, not a select few. Clearly this was aimed at encouraging development, not bending jouralists’ to their will.
I’m not worried about your integrity etc. I think Leo suggested it would be ok to keep the Droid because it was part of your conference ticket, meaning you’d (indirectly) paid for it, and to me that made sense at the time.
I have to say, though, that I found it odd to read that you are accepting both phones as part of a $400 ticket. No way could you get both phones for that kind of money (or if you can, please hook me up!!!). So, just saying that maybe THAT isn’t the best explanation.
The rule is to prevent journalists from trading special coverage for special treatment. We all got phones. Ergo, you’d be getting special treatment if you didn’t thus violating the rule. Keep the phone.
I think it’s fine that you received a phone that you’ll be developing for.
Love what you do!
Well, it would have been very anti open source not to accept something for free right?
Although it sounds like maybe you’ve got an excess amount of phones now, might I suggest you pick the one you like the least and give it to me to .. errr… dispose of?
Trying to focus on three phones at a once seems like it would be a hinder to your productivity.
I think it’s safe to say that your itegrity in our eyes is still intact 😀
Gina if you think about it you paid for those phones $400.00 is a lot of money. The phones are just a way to make that more reasonable.
Thanks for addressing this issue, Gina. Everyone in my enterprise knows I got a nice phone from I/O, but my belief in the usefulness of many of Google’s solutions came well before I attended.
Oh, and one more thing for people who think you, or anybody who attended I/O, are Google shills because they paid us off with “free” phones: We all paid a bunch of money to be at I/O, well beyond the cost of the conference – hotel rooms, travel costs, meals, etc. We didn’t get “free” phones. If it was just about grabbing swag, we all got a crappy deal 🙂
Therefore, I see no difference from saying “I like my phone I got at I/O,” than saying “I like my phone I bought at the store.”
If I would have thought you could be bought for a cellphone, I would have very little respect for you… 🙂
So professional of you Gina.