T-Mobile Introduces Tappy the Robot

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Posted 5 years ago

The smartphone market is a very crowded one in 2012 with multiple operating systems and numerous manufacturers unveiling new software by the day. Of course, with so many phones and tablets available, it is hard to guarantee that every piece of tech released from the factories is perfect, which is why T-Mobile has come up with a solution.

According to T-Mobile themselves, most of their customer returns are due to unsatisfactory software glitches, this is why the company came up with a robot named ‘Tappy’, to test out the different phones and tablets offered by T-Mobile before they are offered to the consumer.

In a new video released by T-Mobile showcasing the robot, the name Tappy makes perfect sense. The role of Tappy is basically to tap away on various smartphones and tablets to make sure they are worthy of retail.

A recent blog post by vice president of engineering services and quality assurance for T-Mobile USA, Grant Castle explains what Tappy is all about:

“In 2007, T-Mobile noticed a trend that as mobile operating systems got more and more sophisticated, software was appearing more frequently as a reason noted for device returns. So an innovative T-Mobile engineer decided to create his own way to test the hundreds of functions on every phone and tablet, and in true geek fashion, he built a robot.”

“To pass Tappy’s test, a phone or tablet has to run continuously for 24 hours executing hundreds of tasks without a single hiccup, stall, freeze or glitch. Since Tappy’s debut five years ago, along with many other quality improvement programs, T-Mobile has been able to reduce device return costs by 75%.”

There is no doubting that the robot is a very good piece of kit, and it is quite interesting to watch Tappy in action on the video. What gets me about the story is that the robot was actually built – and has been in use since – 2007.

So why after five years has T-Mobile finally decided now is the time to show off the skills of Tappy to the world? My guess is that T-Mobile are feeling a little left out at not being selected as a carrier partner for the iPhone 5. This week has been dominated by the release of the new iPhone, and T-Mobile is not involved. Therefore, they are trying to draw attention to themselves in others ways.

First of all they made headlines earlier in the week by introducing an advertising campaign to bring people with older versions of the iPhone to the network, as reported by the New York Times blog. Now it is the Tappy story, which aims to tell smartphone consumers that buying from T-Mobile will ensure you receive a phone that works as it should.

The blog post also goes on to say that “Tappy has been so effective that other well-known wireless companies and industry organizations, which shall remain nameless, have asked us if they can purchase one. Unfortunately for them, though, T-Mobile isn’t in the test robot business”

A cry for attention? I think so.

– Anthony Carter

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