I Came Crawling Back [What I Use]

I had been meaning to write a post for a few weeks now about how Verizon had been negligent in pushing updates to seemingly flagship devices.  After getting bait-n-switched as a Droid Bionic user, I went with the Galaxy S4 in large part that I wanted a flagship device that was seemly going to get some love when it came to system updates.  In all the time I waited for the Bionic updates, I blamed Motorola for their haste – but now I’m convinced that it’s really Verizon that’s the problem. They’re too busy loading all their crapware into these phones to be able to push out timely updates and ultimately were the last ones at the “Galaxy S4 KitKat” party.  However last Friday I finally got the update pushed to my phone and… it failed.

A support chat and a complete restore (from the software, not just a factory reset),my S4 was able to receive the KitKat update, but it appears that any semblance of my phone’s previous configuration was gone.  As far as the Play Store was concerned, my phone was a different device.

For most of my purchased apps that I restored; this wasn’t a problem. However, one app – EasyMoney – which I bought back in 2009 – wouldn’t work. I’ve used EasyMoney to track our expenses for the last five years, putting A LOT of data into it.  Back when I bought it, you would install the trial version and then buy an upgrade key on-line (which was $10 – lot in the early days of mainstream Android).  They serial number uses the phone’s ID to generate itself, which is how the key is tied to the phone. When I got my Bionic I got a new key from support, then got another one when I switched to my S4.  Now that I have my refreshed S4, I’ve exhausted the limit of only having 2 replacement keys. I’ll have to buy the app again.

I was pretty pissed. Any app you buy through the Play Store doesn’t have this problem.  I’m not sure whether Google implements a device limit on app purchases, but I’ve rebuilt my tablet so much and have never had a problem – yet HandyApps, EasyMoney’s developer has a draconian policy of 2 replacement keys?!?  My third replacement wasn’t even going to be a true replacement since it was on the same device.  I was pissed and while I should admit that I did not contact support (which I’m sure would have helped me) I wanted to protest the principle of the matter and take my expense tracking elsewhere.

I then went on a expense-tracking frenzy, downloading apps from the likes of AndroMoney, Expense Manager, CWMoney Expense Track, Coinkeeper, and easyBudget.  A lot of these apps packed some great features that EasyMoney didn’t have like cloud backup and sync, as well as having a nicer interface, which looks great until you start entering expenses into your expense-tracking app. A lot of these were a huge pain in the ass that would drive you nuts if you had to enter more than 3 expenses.  A lot of those apps wouldn’t have a field for a payee – which makes absolutely no sense for an expense-tracking app. Don’t you want to know where you spend your money?

Two hours and six apps later, with my tail between my legs, I was paying the $10 to buy the Play Store version of EasyMoney.  I’d like to think that I’m not too rigid to move away from an older app, but I can’t be the only one who wants some of these obvious things when using an expense-tracking app for your finances.

So yes, whether I’m happy about it or not, I’m using EasyMoney – which I liked so much that I bought it twice.

Motorola – how to screw with your customers

As you know I’m a Droid user, and for the most part am happy with my device.  Since the announcement of Android 2.1, us Droid users have been anxiously awaiting an update to our devices.  Google’s anointed phone, the Nexus One received the update back in February, and the Droid users have been anxiously awaiting news on when we will be updated.

2010-03-15 12.17.04

Out of the gate, Motorola said all the right things, issuing a post on their Facebook page on February 9th that the update was coming “this week”.  That was then met with refuting news a few days later on their forum.  After that. silence.  Motorola remained completely mum on the issue, both of their Facebook page, on the forum, through news sources – there was no word about when the update would happen. Motorola customers, including myself, have been complaining on their Facebook page about the lack of details.  I actually uploaded my own subtle protest on their “Motopic Monday” feature on Facebook. Finally Motorola shares the news: the upgrade will be rolled out on Thursday to a few test users, then will be going out to all customers over the new few days.

Thursday comes. and goes. It turns out that Motorola delayed pushing out the update again, reported by Engadget. Of course, Motorola’s own Facebook page has been indirect and mum on the issue. Motorola never actually comes out and says the update has been delayed, yet they allude to it with their last two posts:

Thanks for your continued patience. We aim to answer each and every question; if your post isn’t answered immediately, please know that we’re looking into your question so that we can provide the most up-to-date information as possible.
Hi Everyone – We are looking into this new update and will definitely share with you what we find. Please patient with us! Thank you!

Rightfully so, Motorola’s customers have been hammering their Facebook page non-stop with complaints and comments.  Motorola has just continued to botch this situation up – I can’t imagine how else they can screw this up from a PR front.

Motorola, I understand these technical these technical issues come up and it’s completely fine – but be direct and transparent when you’re communicating this!  This business of putting out a statement, then letting weeks go by without any word – is completely unacceptable.  It’s great they’re using Facebook as a platform to put out this information, but by not following it up with any direct announcement or posts about the problems is only confusing people more.  Also when they try to be coy with the mistake with “How embarrassing! We jumped the gun” but then offer no additional information is only infuriating.  I’d much rather appreciate “We apologize, but we mistakenly communicated the wrong date. Please look for an announcement early next week” – then actually follow up like you promised!

We’ll see how long it takes for the Motorola & Verizon to finally get their stuff together and actually be direct with their customers – it’s the least they could do.

A drooling Droid video

The news came out today that the Droid is set for a release on November 6.  I have to admit that I am twitterpated about this phone.  While I won’t be lining up to get it right away, I’m happy that my device renewal discount date is on November 19, which should be enough time to see if the phone is as good as advertised.

Verizon released their first hands-on demo of the phone, which has resulted in drool being cleaned off my keyboard.

From what I can tell, the fact that they’re touting the Google Maps features tells me that Verizon isn’t crippling the phone’s GPS, which is a major annoyance I Have with my XV6800.

Anyone else excited about the Droid?

The Motorola Droid – Punching Apple in the Mouth

By now you may have seen the new commercials for the Motorola Droid, which looks to be the next competitor to the iPhone.  What makes this viable is the fact that a phone with a nice form factor and runs Google Android is now on the Verizon Network.  This first ad takes a shot at the iPhone – right in the mouth.

The iPhone looks great, but the experiences that my friends have with the AT&T Network has deferred me from  getting an iPhone.  I own the Verizon xv6800 (which is basically a rebranded HTC Titan), which I have been mostly happy with.  However, Windows Mobile drives me crazy.  The fact that Microsoft doesn’t seem to put any serious development into the Windows Mobile roadmap really leaves me wondering if I’m riding on a sinking ship.  The fact the Microsoft has taken this long simply  to release Windows Mobile 6.5 – let alone 7.0 – is pretty appalling.

At the end of the day: It’s the Apps, stupid.  iPhone has all of these great apps that you read and hear about, that are capturing the attention of the Smartphone consumers market.  Android looks to have a promising app ecosystem, especially with the fact that they have a free SDK and an open platform.  Now, if they can continue to build up their compelling App inventory, we may have a viable competitor.

The key to this whole thing is Verizon.  Verizon, which is notorious for crippling their devices, will need to let Android to have free reign over the hardware to make this successful.  They have the strongest network by far, which has been the compelling reason for keeping me as a customer.  If I can have a phone that has access to the GPS, allows tethering and lets me do all that my hardware is capable of – Verizon and Motorola will have hit one out of the park.

Now I’m simply left to wonder if this will be my next phone.  I’m up for a renewal discount next month, maybe this will be it.

Countdown drawing near: 2 days

It first became months, then became weeks, then days and now hours.  It is only hours until I am eligible for my "New Every Two" discount from Verizon. 


With that, I plan on finally relinquishing myself from my cursed Treo 700w.  I have been waiting for this day for so long.  It’s not that I’m happy to end my association with the Treo as much as I have grown to hate the phone with every bone in my body.

My association with the Treo started with the 650, with the Palm/Garnet OS.  The phone worked pretty well for the most part, but was still pretty quirky. Shortly thereafter I "upgraded" to the Treo 700w.  I put quotes around that word because while I love the high-speed EV-DO access that’s pretty much all I loved with that phone.  The call quality is miserable (and that was just the beginning).  The phone had an extremely low amount of memory, so much that running applications in parallel caused the phone to start screwing up.  I became extremely familiar with the Task Manager, shutting down virtually every application after I used it.  I had to deal with the shoddy Bluetooth ability (until an update helped that), as well as troubles pairing the device with my computer.  Any of my friends can tell you how much I’ve been frustrated with this phone, and how eager I am to be rid of it.  Besides the EV-DO the only other benefit about this phone is that it’s pretty durable, I’ve thrown in frustration so many times and it still manages to stay in one piece.

I’ve narrowed down my replacement to two different choices: the Samsung SCH-i760 and the (UTStarcom) XV6800. Both devices look great.  They’re both running Windows Mobile 6 – which isn’t the best mobile OS, but after transitioning from Palm to Windows Mobile, it’s too much effort to make another switch.  They both have EV-DO, along with the Wi-Fi option.  Both of them have a fold-out keyboard.  The XV6800 looks like an amazing, sleek device, but I am pretty concerned about the comments made about the call quality.  After my Treo experience I am extremely sensitive to having less-than-stellar call quality.  With that in mind, I’m leaning more towards the Samsung.  We’ll see how things go on Wednesday: