I’d never liked the idea of cell phones, and I am still not convinced they’re useful technology, despite the valid in-case-of-emergency argument. Furthermore, when was the last time you saw a public phone you felt safe using and wasn’t out of order? [edit Design Taxi just reported on this New York City phone booth initiative.]
As a foster parent I was required to have a cell phone for emergencies. I got rid of it as soon as my foster parenting days ended. A decade later, some Telus Mobility sales rep cold calls me and offers a sweet deal, including a free smart phone. It sounded too good to be true, and, as it turns out, it was.
In fairness to Telus, that first sales rep misrepresented the product, and bungled things on his end. I had opportunity and cause to bow out of the deal without penalty. The initial rep had failed to complete the transaction, and had offered me the wrong phone for the plan he was hawking. The new Telus rep clearly told me that the phone I was offered required an additional data package and that my $20 per month plan would be $55.
I thought about for a moment and said, “Why not?”
Why Not? Because it’s HTC.
My new phone arrived a few days later. I was excited. On the plus side, I had a new toy, with a slide out keyboard and still and video cameras. But it runs Windows Mobile and it has no internal memory, so the first thing I had to do was get a mini-SD card. The largest mini-SD card I could find was four gigabytes. This memory shortfall, I could accept.
I hate Windows. I’ve hated Windows since version 3.1 – switching to OS/2 and using it until 1994, BEOS and Linux in 1998, but software compatibility forced me to either rethink my career path, or switch back to Windows. Microsoft Windows is a horrible, slow, sloppy, unintuitive, unstable piece of software. I hate Internet Explorer because it’s slow, ugly, unreliable and unintuitive. So even before playing with my new toy, my hopes of happy mobile web surfing were dashed.
The HTC ships with another Microsoft product called ActiveSync, which was supposed to synchronize data between Outlook on the PC and Mobile Outlook on the phone. Right. No matter what I did, ActiveSync kept saying there was no phone connected to the PC. Stupid Microsoft.
So I found a third party application called Missing Sync for Windows Mobile. It’s made for the Mac. I like Mac. The software was about $40 US. For many months Missing Sync would find the HTC and synchronize data with the phone’s. Now, even though the Mac and HTC share both USB and Bluetooth connections, I can’t get the stupid phone to automatically synchronize with the Mac. I need to ask the stupid phone’s ActiveSync to connect via Bluetooth. It’s probably the best I can hope for from a Microsoft product.
Ten Things I Hate About HTC Phones
- It’s powered by Windows Mobile.
- It freezes on start up.
- It freezes on shut down.
- It freezes on an incoming call.
- It freezes on an incoming text message.
- It freezes on dialing.
- It freezes when the camera is activated.
- It often crashes and won’t restart when the keyboard slides out.
- It often throws a no memory error when launching the camera (yes, the application is mapped to the memory card, which almost always has most of its four gigabytes of storage available.)
- Its web browser is Internet Explorer.
- Sending emails is too complicated and unreliable.
Bye Bye Telus
I’d complained about the HTC stupid phone to Telus service reps on numerous occasions over a nine month period. They said they’re willing to have the phone serviced, but they didn’t seem to understand that the phone is crap and fixing or replacing it with the same model wouldn’t going to solve the problem. I hadn’t ask for a free replacement phone, but for a reliable phone at the sign up price.
If I must have a mobile phone, I wanted one that was going to work when I needed it. For me, that meant iPhone.
The Telus rep said they’d sell me the iPhone at full price. I said I’d switch carriers. I’d been satisfied with Telus until now. I don’t plan to cancel all of my Telus services, but I doubt very much I will renew my contract with Telus Mobility, even if I have to pay more with another carrier. Their cost of free is far too high.
I first wrote this two-and-a-half years ago. Two years ago, seven months after my tribulations with Telus Mobility, customer service agreed to sell me an iPhone 4 at the midterm price. I thought that was fair. However, the rep said I was unable to purchase it through the Telus Mobility store, but at one of Telus Mobility’s resellers. I went to Visions and asked for the Telus iPhone 4.
The agent looked at me, scrunched up his face and said, “Why would they send you here. They’re back ordered. We can’t get them for at least eight weeks.”
As soon as I’d told him I had the HTC with data plan. He shook his head and said they’d heard a lot of bad things about the phone, and showed me Bell’s data plan. I’d also heard from a friend who worked at Telus that the phone was a joke among Telus employees. The Telus employees considered the HTC a craptacular phone.
With a 16 Gb iPhone 4, at $116, my new Bell plan blew the Telus deal away, because it worked, was less expensive and the customer service, while not stellar, actually dealt with me promptly and fairly. I switched right then and there.
Since switching, I’ve heard that Telus Mobility has made efforts to improve its customer service, and have received many fliers stating so. Going back to Telus Mobility is not an option for me, even if they gave me a 100% free plan. I hope that the CRTC is successful in changing the rules for wireless carriers. I also hope that there will be some real competition between them – we really don’t need any more parent companies passing off their child brands – with only superficial differences – as separate entities competing in a free market.
I recently updated to the iPhone 5 and am thrilled with its performance. And I absolutely love the panoramic camera feature.
I wonder whether it’s possible to make a version of the iPhone and/or its apps that are designed for left handed people.