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back to article Brits blame Apple, Nokia, RIM et al for smartphone woes

Smartphone owners are a vocal lot, willing to vent spleen to all and sundry when their handsets don't work as well as they expect them to. The message for manufacturers is that they're generally ready to blame you for problems. Network operators can feel doubly relieved: smartphone owners are generally not willing to switch …

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Coat

the revenge...

O2 et-all regret giving people free tweets to bitch from their smart phones, in less than 140 characters.

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Badgers

Apple

So if we want to cut down on hardware and software glitches then we should buy from a manufacturer who controls the channel - in this case the Apple store should win out. In the case of WinMo it could be argued that trying to design for too many handsets and too wide a userbase is actually a bad thing.

Then again asking 155 people, some of whom don't even own a phone, isn't much of a survey.

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Grenade

Sometimes, people are right though

My N97 damaged its own lens cover and would reboot when I was using it as a music player (while in "flight mode" travelling on the tube). It would be nice to be able to blame Vodafone for this, but I don't think I can.

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Silver badge

You probably can...

Well maybe not for the lens cover, but Nokia will change that for you if you report it. It was an early design/production problem. At least it has a lens cover!

As for the crashing/rebooting, well you probably can blame Vodafone, the networks delay/block firmware releases to the phones with their allocated model numbers, and what do firmware releases contain? Yup, bug fixes.

For some reason they feel they have to check each release to make sure it's compatible with their network (well that's what they say)... Odd since Nokia know a thing or two about mobile phones, and I don't see hundreds of Eurozone tourists stepping off the bus/boat/train/plane and finding their phone won't work on the UK networks...

Back in the days of the N95, Orange had their own version of firmware which crippled the VOIP over wifi function. That's when I hacked the model number of my N95 to generic Euro, and I've done it on every Nokia since. I've never regretted it.

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Branding and money

Vodafone and Orange at least still do the branding thing on handsets. At least *that's* what they say. What they mean is that they put a load of chargeable services somewhere where you can set them off accidentally (e.g. in the days before reasonable data plans, Orange used to put the web browser next to the SMS on their toolbar).

One thing you can say, though, they /never/ make the phone more usable and they almost always decimate the performance.

I've had this argument with the sales/support people numerous times:

If it's /my/ handset that I am buying off you, then I want it unbranded and unlocked.

If it's *your* handset that I'm renting off you, then I want proper hardware maintenance and replacement just like I would with anything else I rent.

Not that any of them understand, though.

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FAIL

news?

HOLY SHIT STOP PRESS!!!

Computer software has glitches/security issues! this like NEVER happened before in 40+ years of computing. And to top it all off the lusers are whining...what should we do!

cDc come back all is forgiven

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Terminator

I have an N97...

...says it all really :/

Fuck you Nokia.

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Silver badge

Paul...

What firmware are you running. If you are using a network supplied handset then I doubt you have the latest V21. The networks are also delaying (and in some cases blocking) firmware releases. Yet another way the networks make the phones look bad.

If you change the model code to a generic Euro one you can get the firmware when Nokia releases it, not when some faceless/nameless gap year student from the network decides it's okay to issue.

However Nokia do take some of the blame, the firmware updates are supposed to be able to be applied without touching any user data. I have never found my N97 to be particularly happy after this kind of update, so I prefer to do a complete wipe and fresh install. Kinda like your 6 month old XP install needs.

So assuming you've now changed the model number to generic...

Remove any MicroSD. Back up your phone. format the mass storage, do a hard reset. Then update the firmware. Format the mass storage again and hard reset again.

You should then have a totally clean phone. Restore user files/contacts/notes/calendar/bookmarks from the backup. Don't restore device specific settings, they are invariably the one that have got messed up.

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Compare Mobile Phone Recyclers

If your Nokia N97 is damaged you can always recycle it. I have foud a great comparison site which shows you where you can get the best cash for your mobile phones, it worked for me so I thought I would let the online community know about it.

just visit http://www.comparemobilephonerecycling.co.uk

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FAIL

O2, the problem network

I knew they were the reason for all this trouble.

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FAIL

02 = much pain

I'm on O2 sim-only and can't get Google Maps to work on my Nokia E61 within the M25, despite five bars of signal; likewise on the Wirral peninsula.

Yet my brother who lives in the capital is on O2, with an iPhone, and can get all of his apps to work.

O2 seem to have blocked the customers on cheaper contracts.

I called them to query this, and customer services said there is a problem in the M25, they haven't been told what it is, or given a date for its being fixed. But for my iPhone-owning brother there seems to be no problem. They did tell me to alert them when it had been fixed, and they'll issue me with a credit. I would rather just get that for which I have paid.

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Bronze badge

What's a smartphone?

"a mobile phone that combines voice services with applications including e-mail and/or internet access"."

Most feature phones fit this definition these days.

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Coat

By manufacturer

What I'd love to see is a breakdown of which manufacturers were most reliable, which made the most comfortable handsets, which had the easiest-to-use interface, etc.

Saying that 76% or whatever of people had problems with the applications on their phones tell us only that three quarters of phone users are idiots... just like the majority of computer users. This much we already know. When they can barely tap out an email, much less learn to use, say, Excel with any kind of proficiency, they'll obviously have problems with mobile apps.

/ ... I left the answers in my other coat ...

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Hmm..

34.6% of 155 respondents were generally happy... so that's approximately 53.63 of them then? Perhaps you don't need to quote quite so many decimal places.

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Bronze badge

Most problems trace back to operators.

I bought (outright, not through plans) a few smartphones (technically they were PocketPCs - no keyboards) and in every case I was unhappy with the performance / voice quality. And in every case, wiping the operators' we-know-better-than-you version of the firmware and re-flashing the manufacturer's generic firmware cleared away the problems (and, as someone pointed out, restored a lot of functionality the operators didn't think I'd ever want to know about. Like GPS, in one case).

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Thumb Down

Not all are reluctant to move

Take a look at the posts at Get Satisfaction (O2) to see the depth of feeling for the unfortunate (me included) who went to O2 just to get the iPhone then realised that they don't have the network to support smart phones.

http://getsatisfaction.com/o2/topics/are_o2_going_to_launch_a_femtocell_like_vodafone_have_done

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FAIL

O2 "Head in the Sand" attitude

The iPhone is a great product (and I'm far from being an Apple envangelist!), and does 99% of what most of it's users want. The problem is the O2 network, particularly Edge and 3G coverage, but many O2 users have poor voice and SMS too, with constant calls dropped, etc. This is predominantly inside buildings, and in many cases, private houses.

With the iPhone monopoly that O2 enjoyed, a large percentage of iPhone users are stuck with them for up to 18 months or so from, now.

O2 continually refuse to discuss any plans to launch a femtocell device (e.g. Vodafones "Sure Signal") which, for around £50, would at least give a decent personal voice and data connection to those with a good broadband link. It's a shame that, with a decent broadband connection and a wireless router, all of the bells and whistles stuff works great with WiFi!!

SO come on, O2, get your Femtocell act together, or you'll have hordes of iPhone users moving to Vodafone as soon as their contracts expire, and I know I''ll be one!

For those in a similar situation, see the discussion here :-

http://getsatisfaction.com/o2/topics/are_o2_going_to_launch_a_femtocell_like_vodafone_have_done?

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WTF?

"not willing to switch carriers."

I was willing to switch in a heart beat !

From (expire contract period) Orange to Vodaphone, who had the handset I wanted (N900). Surly anyone else would do the same; you almost certainly go to a better deal by moving too, in those circumstances.

Of course, Orange came out with the N900 a few weeks later, but they'd kept it secret from their sales and disconnections staff as well as the 'coming soon' web site, so their fault !

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Thumb Up

Next gen less reliable... maybe not?

At the moment, especially in the ACTUAL smartphone world, we have some new platforms emerging (and I'm including the iPhone here really) - we've got quite a bit of embedded linux coming through (Maemo, Android) and the stripped back OSX on the iPhones has some unixy bits at its' heart.

These OSs come from a long line of OS cores stretching way way WAY back to when a single monolithic machine used to service hundreds of people who interacted through dumb terminals, sharing CPU time and resources with everybody else. I studied IT just at the tail end of this era, just before the Uni I was at replaced the VAX systems we were using with clusters of the latest Sun workstations.

Crucially, the Unix OS core these huge machines used to run persisted. This case-hardened core is now in these smartphones, so although the stuff on top will probably remain a little flaky in some OSs, the core should be relatively solid.

"Feature Phone" OSs had the problem that their OS core wasn't up to the task: Symbian's issue was that Series 60 was frankly shite (although my UIQ handsets were pretty bad for crashes as well).

As for blackberry? Well, I've used a Pearl, and frankly it's the clunkiest horror I've come across, but I couldn't comment on the stability of the platform as I couldn't bear to use it for more than 5 minutes... yuk.

I think smartphones will actuall get pretty reliable - and this is coming from a mobile phone software test engineer of 7 years industry experience, where I saw Feature Phone OS platforms stretched to their capacity in terms of what they were being asked to do.

Perhaps what we finally have here is a convergence of hardware and software: hardware fast enough to run full blown OSs, and software which can finally be in your hand and survive to perform some complex and useful computing tasks.

I think this is a good time - but maybe not for existing manufacturers: who wants another smartphone every 12 months? If the hardware is surviving, and the OS is patched with updates issued (e.g. Apple) to get you the latest version (minus new H/W features of course) then maybe we'll look to keep our handsets much longer, so less profit there.

We live in interesting times. And yes, it does feel like Apple kicked the shit out of the encumbents and forced them to do something... esp Nokia, who still haven't formed a coherent strategy. Oh, and SE, who appear to be falling off the edge of the world.

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