SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Archive for the ‘Annoying’ Category

G1 battery … FAIL

Posted by Admin on March 25, 2009

I’ve ranted about this before … but for God’s sake!!! I mean what’s the point of having the damn phone if it’s not going to work for longer than a day – or actually even as long as day.

So I charged the phone over night last night and then took it off with me to my day of meetings. I don’t use voice on it as I know the battery can’t cope. But I did check how to get to the meeting, catch up with my email when I could to see if I was missing anything and do a little bit of browsing – but I turned the phone off when I was in my meetings intentionally to save battery life. So now at about 8pm (about 12 hours after I set off) it has died on me.

What a pile of crap!

Fortunately I don’t need it right now and can probably survive without it until I get to a charger – but come on! Why should I have to manage my consumption like that.

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, oh … and RUBBISH!

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Posted in Annoying, Handsets | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Is battery life making the term ‘mobile’ redundant?

Posted by Admin on January 23, 2009

Here’s a second chance to see another post that originally appeared over Christmas.

– – –

I’ve recently bought a G1 and the battery life on it is shocking – less than a day of normal use seems to be the average so far. And if you use extra functions like GPS it seems to be even less than that. Fortunately for me I don’t use it as my main phone – I use almost exclusively for data and it’s not ‘mission critical’ to me if it’s dead for a while.

The G1 isn’t the only phone with poor battery life. There have been numerous reports of the iPhone’s poor battery – especially the 3G. If you search on Google under ‘iPhone poor battery’ you get over 250,000 results.

If you want to read a more detailed analysis of some of the technical issues, you can read Dean Bubley’s post here.

But I’m not interested in the technical background to this. Like the majority of mobile users I don’t care whether it is the fault of the hardware manufacturer, the software, the network or any other reason. What I do care about is that I’m getting a poor performance from my phone.

I want my phone to allow me to be connected while mobile. The main form of connection obviously is that I want to be able to make and receive voice calls – I want to be able to talk to people while I’m away from a landline. I also want to be able to send text messages. Now, I’ve got a ‘clever’ phone which also allows me to check email, go on the internet, check my location or get directions, play games and a whole host of other cool stuff – I’d like to be able to do that while I’m out and about too.

But it seems that I can’t – I can’t be truly mobile because I’ve got to make sure that I’m close to a power socket every 24 hours or so.

So what to do … Well as a user I start to rationalise my usage. What’s most important to me – well firstly it’s being able to receive calls, then it’s the ability to make them, then it’s all the other stuff. So I just cut back. Firstly on all the other stuff, then if the battery’s low on making calls too.

If my battery’s low, I’m effectively carrying around a pager.

I’m not sure that’s what all the new, exciting smartphones were intended to be … but without decent battery life that’s all they are.

Posted in Annoying, Handsets, Opinion, Voice | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

France to Ban Mobile Phones Designed for Children

Posted by Admin on January 16, 2009

Cellular-News is reporting that the French government is planning new laws which will make it illegal to advertise mobile phones in a manner designed to appeal to children aged under twelve years.

It appears that the move is not just about stopping youngsters from feeling the pressure to keep up with the Joneses (or whatever the French equivalent is) when it comes to having the latest cool device. No. It’s also to do with the ‘fear’ of the damage that mobile phones can do.

I’m no scientist, but surely if these things were such killers then someone would have found some real proof by now instead of the constant repeat of scare-mongering headlines.

There was a debate on this issue on Mobile Industry Review over the summer, while this is also a good article on the subject.

Posted in Annoying, Health | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Retailers looking at mobile technology

Posted by Admin on January 12, 2009

Today’s Times newspaper paints an interesting picture of a future world in which retailers are utilising more and more mobile technology to entice us into their stores … and spend more while we are there.

“As you walk along the high street, your mobile phone rings. You look to see who is calling and it is the shop you are standing next to, urging you in to check out their half-price deals.”

The article also quotes, Jace Tyrrell, operations manager for the New West End Company, a trade body that represents 600 shops in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street:

“We need to look at new ways of enticing in shoppers. The London market, in particular, is younger and more tech-savvy. I think mobile phone technology is going to play a big role in the future of retail … The technology is already in your pocket. We just have to bring it into the retail sphere.”

While the sentiment is right, this particular vision on the future is wrong. Although many people will try to argue the point for location based technology like this, it’s not there yet; but perhaps more importantly people won’t want to know there’s an offer in the shop they’ve just walked past – just because they walked past it.

People might be interested to know in offers from their favourite brands – and would be willing to receive and redeem those offers with their phone. But they wouldn’t want to be ‘hassled’ by random shops as they walk past – there’s a privacy issue here (“How has this shop got my mobile number?”) and an annoyance factor (do I get sent a message by every shop as I walk along Oxford Street? If so, I’d be willing to throw my phone through a shop window before I made it to the end of the street).

This could work, but with a lot more thinking first.

This is another example of technology that is possible, but ignores the requirement of the regular mobile user, who I can fairly safely predict won’t be rushing to sign up to these alerts.

Posted in Ad-funded, Annoying, Mobile Marketing | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Ronaldo’s text relationship ends

Posted by Admin on January 11, 2009

Poor Ronaldo, first he crashes his car, then he splits up with his Ukranian girlfriend. Or maybe it was the other way round and that’s what caused him to crash the car.

Here’s the crash he was lucky to walk away from:

ronaldo-car-crash

And here’s the girlfriend he also walked away from:

ronaldos-girlfriend

Never mind. I’m sure he can console himself with the millions of pounds he earns each year. It’s hard to feel too sorry for him isn’t it?

You can read more about the end of his relationship here.

Posted in Annoying | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

SMS ‘bug’ discovered

Posted by Admin on January 6, 2009

There are a number of reports about a new bug, christened the ‘curse of silence’ that is attacking the SMS function of certain Nokia smartphones. Apparently the message looks like a malformed email and it makes the devices lock up after a certain number of text messages (from immediately to 11 more messages).

CNet reports a spokesperson from Nokia saying:

“Nokia is not currently aware of any malicious incidents on the S60 platform related to this alleged issue and we do not believe that it represents a significant risk to customers’ devices,” said the representative. “Nokia believes that the vulnerability may be valid for some of the S60 on Symbian OS products. We are also working with the Symbian team to further investigate the vulnerability.”

Posted in Annoying, Industry | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

12 Days of Christmas – Is battery life making the term ‘mobile’ redundant?

Posted by Admin on December 31, 2008

I’ve recently bought a G1 and the battery life on it is shocking – less than a day of normal use seems to be the average so far. And if you use extra functions like GPS it seems to be even less than that. Fortunately for me I don’t use it as my main phone – I use almost exclusively for data and it’s not ‘mission critical’ to me if it’s dead for a while.

The G1 isn’t the only phone with poor battery life. There have been numerous reports of the iPhone’s poor battery – especially the 3G. If you search on Google under ‘iPhone poor battery’ you get over 250,000 results.

If you want to read a more detailed analysis of some of the technical issues, you can read Dean Bubley’s post here.

But I’m not interested in the technical background to this. Like the majority of mobile users I don’t care whether it is the fault of the hardware manufacturer, the software, the network or any other reason. What I do care about is that I’m getting a poor performance from my phone.

I want my phone to allow me to be connected while mobile. The main form of connection obviously is that I want to be able to make and receive voice calls – I want to be able to talk to people while I’m away from a landline. I also want to be able to send text messages. Now, I’ve got a ‘clever’ phone which also allows me to check email, go on the internet, check my location or get directions, play games and a whole host of other cool stuff – I’d like to be able to do that while I’m out and about too.

But it seems that I can’t – I can’t be truly mobile because I’ve got to make sure that I’m close to a power socket every 24 hours or so.

So what to do … Well as a user I start to rationalise my usage. What’s most important to me – well firstly it’s being able to receive calls, then it’s the ability to make them, then it’s all the other stuff. So I just cut back. Firstly on all the other stuff, then if the battery’s low on making calls too.

If my battery’s low, I’m effectively carrying around a pager.

I’m not sure that’s what all the new, exciting smartphones were intended to be … but without decent battery life that’s all they are.

Posted in Annoying, Handsets, Opinion, Voice | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

12 Days of Christmas – Vodafone keeps dropping my calls

Posted by Admin on December 29, 2008

For a while now I’ve been having one major problem with my phone … it keeps dropping calls. It’s happened on a number of occasions, while talking to a number of different people and in a number of different locations. So although that is hardly scientific, my research tells me that it’s pretty likely to be a fault at my end and not theirs. It’s happened on a couple of different phones and also, it only started when I changed provider to Vodafone.

Ironically, one of the reasons I moved to Vodafone was because of the quality of service, many people had told me that the network was very good and that reliability was excellent. Although I hadn’t really noticed a problem before with other networks those issues were obviously important to me, so I moved to Vodafone.

Now, dropping a call and then phoning the person straight back is hardly a life-threatening problem. But it is a bit embarassing, especially when all I did was take a pace to the left (or whatever). And to happen once is something that I wouldn’t really think about. But it happens about once a week and is starting to annoy me.

The only reason I’m writing this post is because I understand that Vodafone has a team of people on the lookout for posts just like this. They then jump into action and apologise (I’m presuming they can’t actually fix the problem as it’s a network issue, although I suppose we could try a new sim to see how that goes for a while). That’s ok for me if they get in touch, but what about my mum who doesn’t write a blog and will just be convinced that mobiles are a bit flaky and if calls don’t work well then why on earth should she trust her phone to download a music file / game / photo etc?

Posted in Annoying, Operators | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Smartphones are sh1t: I’m going back to a real phone

Posted by Admin on December 11, 2008

Ewan at Mobile Industry Review has written a rant today about smartphones – and the fact that they just don’t do their primary function properly. The whole point of a mobile phone is so that you can have a conversation on it – a real one – with your voice and the other person listening. All the other stuff is just extra fluff around the edges. Some of it is good, some not so. But if the phone can’t perform the basic function of providing voice calls properly then that fluff around the edges starts to look a little pointless.

What I find interesting about Ewan’s rant is that he’s a real champion of the industry, the innovation and the cool stuff you can do with your mobile (go on, read the site and have a look). So if he’s saying he’s had enough with smartphones what hope is there for a normob (Ewan’s term)?

I’ve pasted his whole article here:

– – –

I’ve had enough.

There is ONLY so much time and energy I can give a sodding ‘Smartphone’ before it winds me up.

Nothing on Earth in the Smartphone category seems to satisfy me.

I want all these whizzy mobile ‘toys’ — applications, extensions, fast data, decent camera — and whilst your average iPhone, T-Mobile G1 or Blackbery Bold do certainly meet the grade on paper, they don’t make the MacLeod cut.

No way.

Ultimately, business is all about talking. It’s about the spoken word. It doesn’t matter how many texts or tweets or do, at some point you need to close the deal or discuss the offer. People like it. Still. It’s rare to do business entirely electronically, even today.

So I need my phone to actually work. As a phone.

Here is what I need:

– When I want to phone somebody, I should be able to locate them in my phone book and hit dial within 5 seconds.

– I should be ‘connected’ within a further 2 seconds (whether it’s voicemail, busy signal, or a ringing line).

– My phone call should never, ever be terminated because of network-busy or the handset flucking up.

– The other party should be able to hear me. Continuously.

– I should be able to reach my calling menu — recent calls, missed calls, immediately and be able to place a call to a recent contact immediately. Sub 1 second.

– I should be able to talk for an hour without my handset battery going from 100% to 15%.

– I shouldn’t develop shoulder strain carrying it.

– My suit jacket shouldn’t look out of shape if I put it in my pocket.

No Smartphone can do all of the above, on a continuous basis.

Not a single sodding Smartphone on the market today.

If it’s not the sodding battery flucking up, it’ll be continuous disconnections. Or stupid shitty menus. Or an operating system that simply cannot handle it.

I think my issue is patience.

I have NO patience whatsoever when it comes to phones. The ONE thing a phone in my possession must do is make calls. Quickly. Reliably. If it fails to do this, then I start questioning the whole point (along the lines of ‘what the hell has changed in 10 years?’).

My major annoyance is that manufacturers seem to have, alas, dumped the original concept of a phone — i.e. placing calls — and paid more attention to other features when it comes to many smartphones.

Let’s talk Blackberry. Useless as a phone. It *works*. In fact it’s one of the class-leading Smartphone-That-Works-Ok-As-A-Phone devices. But the recent Blackberries? Rubbish. It looks to me like they’re too busy trying to figure out how to process 3G data to worry about placing your phone calls properly. Without hanging up mid-way through. Or forcing the other party to have to go seconds and half-minutes without hearing you.

The T-Mobile G1 is a big disappointment as a primary device. Obviously the battery can’t take much data use, but the killer is when I’m trying to navigate around it to make calls. And trying to STAY connected to someone for more than a few minutes. And trying to wait for it to place a call. And answer a call.

I won’t bore you with my Smartphone analysis.

Won’t even start on the iPhone.

Suffice to say I’ve dug out my Nokia N95 8GB. That is my handset of choice for talking.

– – –

Or you can read it here.

Posted in Annoying, Handsets, Opinion | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

118 118 texts racist joke

Posted by Admin on November 26, 2008

118 118 has been running a big marketing campaign to promote its mobile questions service. I think the offer is 60p per day no matter how much you use the service. To get people to start they offer a daily joke – you can request the joke and then use it as many times as you like for the rest of the day.

This tactic seemed to backfire as today’s Sun newspaper reports that one user in Lancashire got a racist joke texted back to him.

I’m not going to repeat the joke here, you can view the Sun’s article if you want to see it. Kameron Abbas, the user who received it was understandably quite shocked: “I was horrified at what we received and couldn’t believe that 118 118 would send anything like what they did. These sorts of jokes are not funny at all. They are promoting racism.”

An official spokesperson from 118 118 said: “We are investigating. This is a breach of our standards. We don’t do jokes like that. This is a disciplinary issue and we would like to apologise. He should not have received it.”

Posted in Annoying | Tagged: | 3 Comments »