Tag Archives: smartphone

Not a Smartphone Expert, Just Heavily Dependent

RIP Samsung Infuse 9/3/2011-3/28/13
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The dates are a bit misleading, I killed one in July of last year, this was actually the insurance replacement.

The Infuse was my first Android phone and my first GIANT phone. I was a serial killer of Blackberries, and had maxed out but did not kill an iPhone 3G before I got the Infuse, which was purchased out of iPhone frustration.  As a heavy Google user, my inability to get full cooperation between the iPhone which was old and slow and Google products sent me running to the AT&T store. The crafty folks there talked me into an Android, the Infuse.  I thought it was da BOMB for all of two days before it started cutting up. Shutting down, dropping calls, battery dying fast.  I cussed out AT&T repeatedly, went to the factory story to get it fixed, tried to update from Froyo (remember that) to Gingerbread and the update failed, experiencing problems upon problems.   In spite of all that and requiring a replacement, I made it work.

My smartphone is my main computer and my part-time camera. I dog it like every phone that’s ever been in my possession.  This one was particularly nice because of the screen size and the resolution, it takes great pictures.  I’ve written blog posts on it, shared documents from it, sent emails and engaged on my social networks from it, then it died, it stopped taking a charge on a Thursday.

Friday morning I called AT&T about my options and went to a store.  I ended up ordering another insurance replacement (not an Infuse, praise Jesus) but had to wait on it to arrive.  I have a work phone but I don’t take personal calls or texts, nor run any apps on it, so I purchased a GO phone. I’ve had withdrawal ever since.


First of all this thing has physical keys, no touch screen.  Everything is menus and navigation and what you need at any given moment is difficult to find.  You can browse the web, and there are Twitter and Facebook apps, but they are barely usable.  Multimedia messages come through but they come through in parts and you have to “play” them.  The camera is serviceable but is 2 megapixels.  Over the weekend I ended up using my work phone and the mobile versions of Twitter and G+ which were slow but doable because I just couldn’t take it anymore and am too lazy to be fulling with a laptop for everything.

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In the end this post is really a “first world problem” post.  I don’t need a smartphone, I don’t know that it’s a real need for anyone, it is a convenience, one that lets me stay immediately up to date on everything around me.  GO phones or any variation of them is an excellent low-cost, low-maintenance option and trust me I’m thankful they exist and pray they continue to do so. A couple of good things happened while I was without a smartphone: I got more reading done, actually watched some TV over the weekend and most importantly learned that if need be I can do without.

By the way, I’m keeping the GO phone. I won’t be without back-up ever again.
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Not a technology expert, not an idiot either

As an author of many a Twitter rant about AT&T, I want a pile a little bit more onto the rant heap, however this time it’s not directed squarely at AT&T.

Today was bill paying day. Having received notice that my data usage was at 65% of the monthly limit I decided to check the usage before paying the bill. A quick scan revealed that there was large chunks of data usage occurring at times when I was sleep.  Of course I called ready to issue the standard cuss out.  I got a young lady on the phone from technical support who starts asking.  me do you sign out and kill tasks when you’re done. I told her truthfully sometimes yes, sometimes no which is as it has always been. To see this jump based on typical usage was suspect.  Without swearing for once I made it clear that every time I call the suggestion is that there something I’m doing or not doing that is the cause.  Then we checked a few settings which were five as is, and had a conversation.

She shared that her first bill after getting a smartphone was a whopper because of use of the data network and the unreliability of Wi-Fi in different locations.  She along stated that she uses a task killer App and a data usage App to avoid overage problems. I took down the info, thanked her from the recommendations and ended the call on a pleasant note. Sure AT&T is involved as my service provider by my ream rant is against all the service providers, manufacturers and advertising agencies that have sold us the foolishness that is the smartphone.

When I think of a smartphone or a smart anything my belief is that this smart thing is an expert at what it does. In the case of the smartphone, my expectation is that it makes expert calls, texts and data. What I’ve found, even with my previous iPhone is that they all do plenty of stuff. Some tasks are completely expertly, some average and some poorly. Sure I can talk and text at the same time but every day a call drops. I can look things up on the internet bit sometimes its painfully slow.  Texts don’t always come through and sometimes the phone shuts off without it being touched.  Sure their are many factors that contribute to performance like the speed of or traffic on the network, concurrent processes running on the phone, the operating system and so on. The point is the phone is only as smart as the environment it operates in whether its the knowledge level of the user or all the outside factors delineated above.  As a consumer I look at commercials and hear folks talk about all of the magic that is a smartphone and I want to experience it. These phones aren’t magic.

Providers, manufacturers and advertisers how about getting together and crafting sine disclaimer language? Something to the effect of “this phone is magic, but only inthese situations.” Doing so would temper expectations,  ease nerves, and prevent folks from getting cussed out.

This post was written on a phone with a Wi-Fi connection and mobile data turned off.


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