Monday, December 7, 2009
The Mobius Files: The Problem with the Carriers
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 07:00 AM
There's a private mailing list that people who have been invited to attend Mobius are a part of, and we have some great discussions on it. In fact, I'd say some of my most thought-worthy write-ups end up getting shared with my mobile-device editorial peers, rather than with you, my readers. So what I'm going to do is start to share some of my write-ups (in slightly edited and/or expanded form) from the Mobius list here on Windows Phone Thoughts. The context of this particular post is the problem that the carriers represent when it comes to updating the software on Windows Mobile phones.
I bought a Samsung Jack from Rogers in Canada last year (aka Blackjack II). It came with Windows Mobile 6, and when they finally released 6.1, it came with an insanely irritating bug: when the phone is in silent mode or vibrate mode, reminder alarms still chime. And they keep on chiming, over and over, for several minutes. The silent and vibrate profiles say they’re set to “Off” for notification volume. I’ve checked every setting there is – all are set to silent or off.
It’s happened to me more than once when I’m in a movie theatre or someplace else where noises aren’t appreciated and my phone, in silent mode, will chime loudly. Oh, and I’m not sure if this is the default for WM 6.1, but with WM 6 reminders would only chime once by default (that what my wife’s Windows Mobile 6 HTC S640 does). My Blackjack II chimes over and over, getting louder each time. Oh, and toss in chimes for birthday reminders firing at midnight (a Microsoft design flaw), and you end up with a hugely frustrating phone. If the phone is in the same room as I am, I have to turn off the power at night. I typically leave it in my office, far away from me, because it’s so frustrating.
I did everything I could do to try and get this fixed: I spent hours with Rogers tech support over a period of three months, hard resetting my phone, sending in my “broken” phone to get a new one, etc., all to prove to them that this wasn’t caused by something I was doing. They finally confirmed the problem, and send it off to Samsung for a fix. Here we are, almost a year later, and it’s it still has the same problem. There is no fix from Rogers or Samsung.
The carriers don’t care about the experience their users are having with the operating system on a phone. They don’t care about anything else other than losing the customer...yet they don't seem to care much about that either, because if they did, they'd want to fix the bugs with the phones they sell the customers. It’s the same old problem we keep bringing up over and over, and year after year Microsoft says “We’re working on that” and HTC says “We’re working on that” and nothing gets any better. And even the carriers will change their minds - Telus, the CDMA carrier up here in Canada, was supposed to release Windows Mobile 6.1 for the S640, then changed their minds and cancelled the release. This is my #1-with-a-bullet complaint about Windows Mobile. No operating system is perfect, but when you can’t fix your own operating system, why even be in the game in the first place? It’s insane.