Tag Archives: phone

Don’t be fooled – The Race for Mobile Dominance

When the US elections were taking place, there were a number of topics which caused the US public to either get really annoyed, or behind in support, however some of these topics were perceived as smokescreens to get people to invest their time in one matter, whilst the offending party was forging ahead with their real agenda.

Much the same can be said about the state of today’s mobile phone market. The announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is anticipated mid-March 2013 and there is debate about the next iPhone (iPhone 5S). In either case, much conversation has focused in on the hardware specs and screen size.

What’s really important

Whilst having a processor that’s capable of handling function, storage memory sufficient to accommodate photos, videos, apps and music and form that allows the phone to be both of a quality build, handled comfortably and screen size appropriate to needs there are a couple of really important things to consider:

The Operating System

Given that we as consumers appreciate and are more critical of the User Experience (and User Interface), having an operating system that looks and feels intuitive and can be adaptable to your own use of the device is essential. Neither Android nor IOS are yet there, with IOS being somewhat now overdue a UI/UX refresh and Android being plagued by layers of OEM fluff (e.g. MotoBlur, HTC Touch) to confuse the user experience.

Another example of this shortcoming is being able to share to your preferred social network should just be an option, regardless of network. Typically being able to share content from an IOS device to Google+ is more difficult than Facebook – but why is that? I as a user prefer to be able to define my social networks, not be constrained.

[UPDATE: Andy Parry brings the Ubuntu mobile OS to my attention – see this – this is exactly what i’m talking about how the UX should be more like]

The Phone

I’ve mentioned this before; the mobile phone needs to be revamped totally in the experience; not only a good sensor, but also the ability to create more useful metadata such as learning different faces so that it would be possible to then retrieve all the photos of Uncle Dave (person metadata), taken in Chicago (GPS metadata) last Autumn (time/date metadata), near Sears Tower (GPS metadata).

Also the actual holding and storage of a phone needs to be considered; I like the iPhone 4/4S for its compact size, yet it still manages to deliver a solid feel and also very view able screen.

The battery life

It’s all well and good having a powerful phone with an amazing screen, but it’s totally negated if you don’t have the battery life. I feel almost certain that the maximum brightness on phones, whilst very appealing, is hardly used by many due to the battery consumption – effectively rendering it a sales medium. When we start to have efficient batteries and components that consume them, then we have a truly adoptable phone.

Conclusion

Of course, this is skimming the surface, but the point is, don’t be fooled by the processor power etc. Think about the application of the phone to you. Would having a Galaxy S3 vs. S4 make a difference  Maybe, if you’re an avid photograper. However if you’re just browsing facebook, youtube, etc. it may not be of discernible difference (depending on the battery life)… case in point I have an iPhone 4 – initially a temporary phone until the iPhone 5 came out, but after due consideration, cost and features were not quite enough to upgrade for upgrades sake, based off my use.

Noka 5300 XpressMusic – Long term review (not good for Nokia; Great for T-Mobile)

Nokia 5300I thought I’d share my experience using the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic under the T-Mobile network – this is ultimately a success story for T-Mobile and a negative one for Nokia – both which surprised me.

The 5300XM Experience

Having owned Motorola V3 and V3x beforehand, this unit was stubbier and thicker – At the time I was OK with this change in dimension, but in retrospect when re-using the V3, I think the design is a little too bulky. It’s a reasonably sturdy unit, though the screen does get scratched easily – however the slider mechanism holds up well to everyday use.

The user interface is fine – a little clunky here and there, but generally in line with Nokia products (I still prefer the Motorola UI), however the biggest downside has been the voice quality.

Fundamental Flaws

If there’s one thing you have to get right with a phone, it’s that the voice quality is the best you can get. Regretfully my experience with the 5300 was not a positive one. People who called or were called complained of fuzzy or distorted voice quality from me (even though I could hear them just fine). A call to T-Mobile and they were able to make a number of recommendations which I decided to trial out for a week or two. Result was no dice.

Please help me T-Mobile

So I call T-Mobile Customer Services again and am greeted by THE most helpful person – she is polite, understanding and together we setup a set of checkpoints that, if we can’t resolve we’ll take a look at our options – as this was going to require 24 hours to setup we were to speak again the next day to catch up.

Sadly, I miss her call and call the TM-CS folks, finding myself with someone who swallowed the company line down to how many breaths she can take per minute. I get told I have one of two choices: 1) Suck it up 2) Get another phone at retail rate and commit to another 2 year contract. That was company policy and no way were there any other options.

When I asked the CS rep how she would feel if these were her options she replied “I wouldn’t like it”, so given that she was not going to prove helpful to my cause I escalated to the CS Supervisor. She initially agrees with the CS rep but then under me not giving in, admits she is willing to replace my phone with the same model. OK, but what if this model exhibits the same behaviour? Apparently company policy was to exchange two times with the same phone and then look to other options. Further good natured badgering got her to agree to one exchange and then swap to a different model.

Then when it came to shipping the phone they were going to charge me $15.00 for S&H – Again, the CS Rep Supervisor, who by now had fully realised I was not some BS’er trying to get a new phone waived the fee (because the phone was also in warranty) AND upgraded my shipping to priority. Whilst I waited, I went back to using my V3 Motorola – One week later the phone turned up.

“Why am I not shocked?”

The phone had the same issues – no surprises there, especially as I’d read a review on Amazon saying the same thing happened with their 5300XM. I called T-Mobile CS this weekend and explained the situation – after about 15 minutes of that person going through some of the hoops, she agreed that it was just a need for a straight swap. So in 10 days time I should be getting a Motorola Rizr.

Nokia, your product makes me lose faith in you

After that experience I am not sure that I have confidence in a Nokia Product at this time – I’m sure there are some great products out there, but I don’t want to have to play “good luck chuck” to find them. I’ve had a solid experience with Motorola (apart from early adoption issues with the V3x), so I am happy to get the Rizr.

T-Mobile, your Customer Service is Very Good in a sea of Averages

…but not 100% great. I am impressed with many of the more supervisory staff I have been in contact with – and the first CS rep I talked to was just amazing with her customer service (I did call her supervisor to let her know how great my experience was), however there are a few out there still that have a jobs-worth attitude. It sounds like they’re working on it in a corporate culture which is fantastic… Certainly comparing the CS to Vodaphone and “3” in the UK, T-Mobile excels. Kudos to T-Mobile!

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Oh and by the way… Do your best Jagger!