Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones

How Not to Build a Cellphone 326

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-seriously dept.
Jamie found an NYT story about a new t-mobile Shadow phone which starts off by talking about how Apple is changing the phone game by wrestling power from the carriers, and then discussing what could be a reasonable piece of hardware. And then how it is wrecked by software. The phone has wait screens, a task manager, odd error messages etc. Makes for an amusing read.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Not to Build a Cellphone

Comments Filter:
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:28PM (#21314853) Journal

    Everything you need to know starts in paragraph eighteen:

    Unfortunately, after they did such a great job designing the hardware, T-Mobile's chief executive and his ex-Apple designer punted on the software. They equipped this phone with Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6. As it turns out, that decision is just as much an impediment to the Shadow's greatness as AT&T exclusivity is to the iPhone.

    And, this isn't even Microsoft's fault! It's T-Mobile's CEO who had the hubris to think he could design this thing just like Jobs. Not.

    I think the article actually goes a little easy on the critique of the hardware. I doesn't break any ground. It has too many or too few buttons. The middle ground they took with the Blackberry licensed keyboard was just plain wrong. This phone is just a mess. Apple kinda pulled this feat off, designing a do-everything phone (I kinda disagree, btw), and now everybody else thinks they can do it too. They even think it's the right thing to do (it's not).

    But, what were they thinking going with MS Mobile? Wth? Sheeesh... it even comes with a Task Monitor? Yeah, I'm gonna help my Dad with his new phone... "Bring up the Task Monitor... now click on the Processes tab. Now click on the CPU column twice. What's eating up the most CPU? ... That's the central processing unit.... ummm... Okay, now highlight the one eating up all the CPU and click the "End Process" button.... " Not.

    Another place the article "gets it wrong" trying to be kind in his critique:

    Now, there are certainly advantages to having Microsoft inside your phone. For example, this phone can open and edit (but not create) Microsoft Office documents.

    Wrong! That's not an advantage, that's insane. At least, I can't remember the last time I was looking at my cellphone thinking, "Damn, I wish right now I could open up a Word document!", not even if one was attached to an e-mail.

    I'm still waiting for the phone that sounds and works like a phone.

    Bit of trivia, speaking of phones... Know what the little graphic on the Sprint logo stands for? Didn't think so. It represents a stop-motion pin dropping. Remember when Sprint's commercials were about phone call sound quality and how it was so good you could hear a pin drop? Didn't think so. Please, oh, please, let me hear the pin drop again!

    • Mystifying (Score:5, Interesting)

      by StarKruzr (74642) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:54PM (#21315031) Journal
      I'm still waiting for the phone that sounds and works like a phone.

      Why does everyone say this as if it doesn't exist?

      I suspect it is because they want their posts to sound as though they possess some real down-home 'Murrican wisdom. Jesus. How [cnet.com] many [cnet.com] counterexamples [cnet.com] do [cnet.com] I [cnet.com] have [cnet.com] to [cnet.com] find? [cnet.com] All of these are "phones that look and act like phones."

      Moreover, why is ANYONE "against" convergence? Seriously? Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?

      Wrong! That's not an advantage, that's insane. At least, I can't remember the last time I was looking at my cellphone thinking, "Damn, I wish right now I could open up a Word document!", not even if one was attached to an e-mail.

      Yesterday, when I got an email from my advisor. Thankfully, I had my iPhone at the ready and it was quite capable of opening the document. I was able to answer her question immediately and it made me look like I was really on top of things. I guess that makes me "insane."
      • Re:Mystifying (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:04PM (#21315105)

        Moreover, why is ANYONE "against" convergence? Seriously? Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?

        Because they want a good quality camera, phone, PDA, laptop, etc. not a all-in-one gadget with a mediocre everything?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Beltonius (960316)

          Moreover, why is ANYONE "against" convergence? Seriously? Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?

          Because they want a good quality camera, phone, PDA, laptop, etc. not a all-in-one gadget with a mediocre everything?

          Precisely. My phone is my link to the outside world (calls, text and tethering via bluetooth) but I take my pictures with my camera, keep track of appointments and contacts with my PDA (along with using it for GPS) and surf the web etc etc etc with my Thinkpad. My laptop can and will always provide a better internet experience than a device with a weaker processor, less storage space and a ~3" screen. Simple physics inhibit a great-quality set of optics in a reasonably sized phone, and stupid carrier lock

          • Re:Mystifying (Score:5, Insightful)

            by DeadDecoy (877617) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:28PM (#21315271)
            Ya but for every one of you, there are ten non-technical people for whom the phone/pda/camera/laptop/mp3 player/blender/sink is good enough. For some people the utility of having a swiss-army-phone outweighs that of having a specialized device because they don't care about quality, just something that gets the job done.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Beltonius (960316)
              Oh, certainly. I'm not saying that I don't understand why someone wants their phone to do literally everything. It just bothers me that the minority of the populace that do want higher-quality electronics are basically being marginalized. Noone really makes PDA's anymore, except for HP, and their's are worse in every way than the ones Dell used to put out. Palm hasn't updated their line in upwards of a year and the only devices I've seen running WM6.0 have been smart-phones.
              • Tried Nokia N800? (Score:3, Informative)

                by Explo (132216)
                While N800 (or its recent successor, N810) isn't really called a PDA, I've found it a nice generic tool for browsing, reading emails, making some notes, listening music and other moderately lightweight tasks. While there isn't a default calendar application, I think some are available separately (I have very few meetings etc. myself, so I don't really need a calendar personally). With WLAN and Bluetooth connectivity, I can access net pretty much anywhere and the 800x480 screen is pretty good for most uses.

                O
              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by lattyware (934246)
                I think PDAs are being replaced by UMPCs - Things like the Asus EEEPC will offer far better performance (along with other advantages like the bigger screen), for about double the size of a PDA - not to mention the same, if not cheaper, price.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Grey_14 (570901)
              Most of those 'non-technical' people I've met don't know how the heck to get pictures off their phone, and wouldn't know where to start using a phone as a PDA, I'll admit I know at least one person who uses the mp3 player in his phone, but there are tons more who just use their ipod or whatever else.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nEoN nOoDlE (27594)
          most of the time a mediocre gadget will do fine for the situation. Such as in a car accident when you need to take pictures of the damage but didn't bring your awesome $1000 digital SLR. Or you want to check your e-mail on an airplane trip, but don't want to take your laptop out of the case and then pay another 15 - 20 bucks so you could have wireless access at the terminal. I feel sorry for whoever is taking important family photos with a camera phone, but convergence is an overall good thing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          "Because they want a good quality camera, phone, PDA, laptop, etc. not a all-in-one gadget with a mediocre everything?"

          a.) A phone with all that doesn't prevent them from buying a camera, pda, laptop, etc.

          b.) If all you have is your phone... and let's be serious, nobody's going everywhere carrying a phone, pda, laptop, camera, video camera, psp, etc.... then a cell phone picture is infinitely better than a 0 x 0 picture. A slow net connection on a small screen is better than a 0kbps connection on a non-e
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EvilIdler (21087)

        Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?
        You can't fit great optics in the size of a typical mobile phone, so the camera is a toy.
        If the phone has wi-fi and a decent SSH client, I won't mind any PDA-ness. But I don't
        ever feel the lack of a laptop, anyway, and just use the phone to be reachable :)

        • by Torvaun (1040898)
          For me, the camera is a flashlight. Just set the flash to Always On, go into camera mode, and there it is. I could care less about taking pictures.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by gforce811 (903907)

            I could care less about taking pictures.

            Just a slight point here, but this phrase is so completely botched all the time, that I had to say something. I think what you meant to say was, "I couldn't care less about taking pictures." As in, your level of caring for taking pictures is so low already, that it could not get any lower. I think that is what confused the author of the other reply to your post. Either that, or he/she was just being cynical. Of course, maybe I am too.

            Cheers. Oh, and if I'm wrong, please tell me so I may correct my

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by p!ngu (854287)
              "I couldn't care less" --> literal.
              "I could care less" --> sarcasm, or abbreviated form of "I could care less (but I don't know how)"
          • Nokia 1100 (Score:3, Informative)

            by Dr_Barnowl (709838)
            This phone has a flashlight, a single bright white LED in the top of the casing.

            It's the epitomy of minimalism, but it's the only phone I've seen with this sensible feature. Not a xenon tube that needs a battery guzzling capacitor to charge for each shot, either.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RattFink (93631)

          You can't fit great optics in the size of a typical mobile phone, so the camera is a toy.

          So what? Quality is actually not all that important to the vast majority of the population as you make it out to be. The optics used in cell phone cameras are certainly a lot better then disposable cameras cheap plastic optics yet those cameras were extremely popular before, cameras on cell phones and the price of digital cameras bottomed out. They certainly aren't "professional" quality but very few cameras are.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by winwar (114053)
            "The optics used in cell phone cameras are certainly a lot better then disposable cameras cheap plastic optics yet those cameras were extremely popular before..."

            Sorry, but the disposable cameras take better pictures than cell phones.

        • You can't fit great optics in the size of a typical mobile phone, so the camera is a toy.

          Depends on what you mean by 'great.' I have a few friends who take photography very seriously. They use SLRs that cost a lot more than my phone and one develops his own film (the rest have gone digital). For them, a camera phone is clearly the wrong tool for the job. I, on the other hand, just want something that can take a few snaps. The camera on my phone produces good quality pictures in daylight, as long as there isn't much motion, and I can blow them up to the size of my monitor without seeing an

          • I am a photographer and I use SLR's and develop my own film, I like the crappy effect of the camera phone but to each his own I guess.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fractoid (1076465)

          You can't fit great optics in the size of a typical mobile phone, so the camera is a toy.

          False dichotomy, sorry. The camera in my phone has tiny optics, matched to a 2MP CCD, and creates noticeably worse images than my 5MP standalone camera. However, my phone is always on me, has very low form factor, and 99% of the time the images I can take with it are just as useful as if I'd taken my much bulkier camera with me as well. I wouldn't publish them in a magazine, say, but for looking through weekend snaps on my computer, my phone is just as good and, as it's always on me, is a clear winner in t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rickb928 (945187)
        Well, I do that. On my BlackBerry 7105t. Which is an old phone now in marketing terms.

        Heck, I went out and got Google Maps, and an SSH client. People look at me like I'm clever when I drill down and tell them their house is the third light down, not the second. My co-workers aren't in awe any more when I reboot my web server, they are in awe when I can run a macro and suck up the latest patches. And keep them up to date on World Series score. And this is just a BlackBerry.

        As soon as I begin wishing for
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sowth (748135)

        Moreover, why is ANYONE "against" convergence? Seriously? Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?

        Because the vast majority of the time, in the best case, you end up with a device which is a mediocre camera, a mediocre phone, a mediocre PDA, and a mediocre laptop.

        In fact, most of the time you get a really expensive device with a crappy camera which takes poor quality pictures and you have to select through several menus, so it takes longer to take a picture than

        • Re:Mystifying (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:54PM (#21315519) Journal

          Because the vast majority of the time, in the best case, you end up with a device which is a mediocre camera, a mediocre phone, a mediocre PDA, and a mediocre laptop.
          Most of the time, if you don't go for a converged device, you end up with a mediocre camera, a mediocre phone and a mediocre PDA and you have to carry three mediocre devices around with you.

          Yes, I still miss my Psion Series 3.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pjt33 (739471)

        Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?

        No. I have no desire whatsoever to carry around a camera or a laptop. I carry around a phone (Nokia 3310 - a real "phone only" phone) and a PDA, and wouldn't want to trade them in for a single device. The only advantage I can see is that I would have a spare pocket, but when I weigh that against the disadvantages of being unable to speak on the phone and skim through my calendar at the same time, running down the battery on the

      • I used to be in the "I just want a phone that's a phone" camp. Then the prepaid phones came out that are small, just a phone, and hella inexpensive. Finally, exactly what I wanted came around. So I paid too much to get a cool convergence phone with a camera and and mp3 player and cable to connect my computer to the internet and a chintzy gps (actually, the gps isn't half bad. Not good enough for hiking, but more than adequate for "the turn's just a little farther, we haven't missed it" type stuff). Tur
      • Moreover, why is ANYONE "against" convergence? Seriously? Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?

        Sort of. I always have the phone. If it did limited PDA stuff, like email and calendar, that'd be okay, but it had better be a good phone and always available. I have 2 cameras - a casio that works great for quick photos and a DSLR for serious stuff when I want to engage in geekitude. Laptops stay in the car or the hotel on vacation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ullteppe (953103)
        Moreover, why is ANYONE "against" convergence? Seriously? Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?

        A phone can never replace a proper camera, as you will never get the same quality and that really matters to anybody who cares about pictures. I can barely tolerate the quality I get out of my Sony camera, and it is pretty much the smallest available camera out there. It is still bigger than most cellphones. Optics take up space. If I know there will be something worth

      • Moreover, why is ANYONE "against" convergence? Seriously? Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?


        No. I don't want to carry any of that stuff, except a phone. I want my phone to make phone calls and have only hardware for making phone calls with a long-lasting battery. This makes it as small as possible. This is also the philosophy behind Unix small utilities that do their job very well.
      • by tknd (979052)

        I'm not against convergence. But I am against voice/sound quality of phones today being absolute crap compared to what our technology is capable of. Why do cell phones still sound like crap even if I pay $600 or more for a phone?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DECS (891519)
          Because the mobile network you're paying $1000 a year to use is only designed to provide minimal voice quality. Perhaps you should blame the provider, not the iPhone.

          Of course, that's far less sensationalist and fashionable to complain about than whining that Apple delivered the future of mobile phones at a consumer price.

          The Great Google gPhone Myth [roughlydrafted.com]
          Pundits have seized upon rumors of a new mobile phone product from Google as their golden ticket for bashing the iPhone. The "gPhone" is the perfect foil for fe
      • Re:Mystifying (Score:4, Insightful)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @08:04PM (#21317837)
        Moreover, why is ANYONE "against" convergence? Seriously? Do you really WANT to be carrying around a camera, a phone, a PDA, and a laptop?

        Because I just want to cary around a phone. Because I would rather not pay for the other features and have them making the phone heavier, more expensive, more complex and fragile and shorter battery life. Because I don't have or want a PDA, and when I need a laptop, I want a full size keyboard and screen. I only want a camera when I'm on vacation.

        If soemeone wants a screwdriver, don't force them to buy a Swiss Army knife.

    • Apple kinda pulled this feat off, designing a do-everything phone
      How exactly? Just because ita Apple?
      Or by locking up the phone?
      By making sure you have to use a desktop to even activate it by using a music management software?
      By no OTA updates?
      By bricking it with firmware updates?
      By having no real keyboard?

      HOW EXACTLY?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DECS (891519)
        Like a moth to the flame, I am attracted to your flamboyant sparks.

        Yes, the iPhone's design does relate a lot to being from Apple.

        But no, Apple didn't "lock the phone," it opened up a standards-based web API that is in many respects better than anything on existing smartphones. The iPhone is also only 4 months old, and Apple has promised additional access in an SDK later this winter. Saying Apple locked the phone for development is ignorant. Saying Apple locked the phone to a single provider ignores the rea
    • by m2943 (1140797) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:49PM (#21315461)
      And, this isn't even Microsoft's fault!

      According to the article, it is:

      Unfortunately, after they did such a great job designing the hardware, T-Mobile's chief executive and his ex-Apple designer punted on the software. They equipped this phone with Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6. As it turns out, that decision is just as much an impediment to the Shadow's greatness as AT&T exclusivity is to the iPhone.


      (The 20 key hardware is the same used by Blackberry and Sony, by the way, and generally works pretty well... certainly a lot better than T9.)

      But, what were they thinking going with MS Mobile?

      For the US market, what choice did they have? Apple, PalmOS, and Blackberry can't be licensed, Symbian is likely expensive and nearly as messy as Windows Mobile. And they didn't have the time and resources to do their own Linux-based system. So, for a smartphone like that, Windows Mobile is the obvious choice for companies like HTC and T-Mobile right now. You can't fault them for that.

      With Android, of course, they do... let's hope that T-Mobile is smart and makes that choice. HTC (the maker of the Shadow) is already on board with Android...
      • by DMoylan (65079) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @06:39PM (#21317205)
        > Symbian is likely expensive

        have to object to that.

        http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/news/item/6203_204_million_Symbian_OS_handset.php [allaboutsymbian.com]

        The average royalty per handset is now $4.80 (down from $5.20 last year following license fee reduction
        doesn't sound that expensive.

        > nearly as messy

        now this is personal opinion but you couldn't pay me to use windows mobile. i've seen every iteration in devices my boss buys and they all have problems that make them completely unusable. battery life, crashes, sync problems.

        while symbian could be improved i have no problems using it every day since a nokia 3650 -> nokia n70 -> e61 -> e61i. the current phone e61i is used every day to

        * take screenshots when away from my desk to look up errors when i get a chance.
        * take pictures of a4 documents so i no longer need to locate a working photocopier for personal records.
        * working on long emails that i get 2-3 times a year from a correspondent. 200k+ documents been worked on when on the bus amongst others.
        * gmail application allows me to check email with or without wifi. bloody fantastic! i could get push email but i find the concept as annoying as sms.
        * video spectacular crashes so that i can email them to the supplier who claims that what i'm reporting is impossible.
        * notepad been used for every password username that comes my way. personal code used to encrypt the information before somebody points out that the builtin has none. mind you i know a symbian user who added a python wiki to his phone with encryption so could use that in the future if i really wanted.
        * qreader for reading ebooks.
        * web browser for when i need to check stuff out and about. i'm on a pay as you go contract so have to pay for every byte but sometimes a few k from google will give all the answers.
        * spreadsheets for personal accounts.
        * nokia maps for navigation
        * still trying to learn python on the little bugger. i'll get there. i'll get there.
        * planning on helping http://www.openstreetmap.org/ [openstreetmap.org] map out dublin by linking on a bt gps. will have to see how that goes.
        * plugs in as a usb device to a pc or mac so have used it as a thumb drive when necessary.

        for me the killer app is taking notes. was at a software conference at the start of the year. loads of people taking notes on laptops over 3 days. and hunting for power supplies at the end of every talk. the e61 (was before the e61i) was slower to type on but the battery lasted the 3 days with top ups from a battery powered charger at night. much more convenient.

        if it were that messy i could get none of the above done. it does depend on what you use your phone for though.
    • by arivanov (12034)

      Neither.

      It is a HTC phone. This says it all.

      Regardless what they are given as requirements they will produce garbageware. It took 1 year and nearly 200 minor revisions of the O2 XDA code load for it to stop crashing. Even after that it was a piece of garbageware. Their recent Blackberry ripoff (Escalibur) when released crashed left right and center several times a day just by being connected to the network. And so on.

      None the less, they continue to produce phones for operators for a simple reason - Th

    • Wrong! That's not an advantage, that's insane. At least, I can't remember the last time I was looking at my cellphone thinking, "Damn, I wish right now I could open up a Word document!", not even if one was attached to an e-mail.

      Dude, that's sarcasm.

    • by MythMoth (73648)

      I'm still waiting for the phone that sounds and works like a phone.

      Will this [sparkfun.com] do?

  • In the same vein (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mike260 (224212) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:37PM (#21314925)
    Joel Spolsky does an entertaining job of ripping another phone with poorly-designed software to pieces here [joelonsoftware.com].
  • by Shihar (153932) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:38PM (#21314933)

    ...talking about how Apple is changing the phone game by wrestling power from the carriers...
    Right. Apple has certainly wrestled control away from the carriers. Now, instead of just paying the carrier blood money and selling our soul for two years, we get to pay both Apple AND the carrier... and still sell our soul away for two years. Maybe Nokia can compete with Apple by coming out with a phone where I need to sign a 5 year soul sucking deal with the hell (like AT&T, but more pleasant), have the phone chomp on my balls while it is in my pocket, eat my first born child, and get a direct hookup to my bank account from where it funnels money into everyone's pocket but my own.

    Come on Google, buy the damn spectrum, open it up, and lets say fuck you to the ass pounding consumers are getting in the US cellular market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by darjen (879890)

      Right. Apple has certainly wrestled control away from the carriers. Now, instead of just paying the carrier blood money and selling our soul for two years, we get to pay both Apple AND the carrier...

      Haha, that was my exact response to that statement as well. Actually, I think there's a better chance of Nokia ending this madness than anyone. Their N800/N810 holds some great promise. I really wanted to like the N800 but it just wouldn't connect to the wifi at work. It's not exactly a phone, but I will be ke

    • by NMerriam (15122)

      Right. Apple has certainly wrestled control away from the carriers. Now, instead of just paying the carrier blood money and selling our soul for two years, we get to pay both Apple AND the carrier... and still sell our soul away for two years.

      Apple gained design control over the device, not contractual control. Your contract with the carrier has nothing to do with Apple (except to the degree that Apple could and should just sell the phones unlocked, but that doesn't solve the problems of cell phone contra

      • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @03:06PM (#21315645)
        I just can't believe people still take Apple's side on this. The phone is not really open, you can't make your own ringtones from MP3s. You can't see the filesystem. Both of which you can even do with a MS WM phone. All iPhone got is Visual Voicemail from the carrier's side.

        I am just going to repost what in a post below.

        Lets do the math on Apple "wresting power" from the carriers. Carriers typically discount the phone from the retail unlocked price. For example, a HTC Mogul(a 3G phone with a ton of features) has a retail unlocked price of around $550. Sprint sells it for $300 with a 2 year contract. In fact, many companies deeply discount phones to such an extent that you can get $50 BACK with some phones(check on Amazon or Wirefly). The phone manufacturer makes a fixed profit and moves on.

        But what did Apple do with the iPhone? It charges a hefty premium(note how they were able to drop $200 off the phone in just 2 months) and makes a nice profit with the price($400 now or whatever) and then makes about $450 MORE over two years from the $60 a month that AT&T charges the consumer who takes up the 2 yr contract. The user gets a nice phone, visual voicemail etc. in return, at a VERY HIGH premium.

        After a ton of iPhone articles and about a hundered +5 insightful comments on Slashdot about how Apple will "change the game" and make it better for consumers, that is the bottomline. This is the real reason why Apple hates unlockers and not just because of exclusivity contract with AT&T. For every unlocker they potentially lose close to $400.

        Apple did change the game of carriers ripping off customers and ushered in the golden era of carriers AND phone companies raping consumers. All this right under the noses of otherwise wise and intelligent people who seem to have been taken in by the "RDF.

        • by NMerriam (15122)

          I just can't believe people still take Apple's side on this.


          Apple side on what? We were talking about them having design authority over the device. Whether or not it's a good deal for you financially or ideologically is completely meaningless to the issue being discussed.
        • Okay. Here's the honest question then: the iPhone rate plans are priced below what comparable plans were before the launch (and in many cases, what other smartphone plans are even now). $59 a month with unlimited data and the REAL Internet. How are you getting "raped" (and why must everyone use such absurd and vulgar imagery to describe *voluntary* business transactions)?

          Frankly, who cares where the money goes? If the price is reasonable for the service (I think cell phone service is a ripoff on the wh
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sowth (748135)

      If you want to get google involved, you shouldn't ask them to "buy" a buch of spectrum and open it up. You should ask them to bri...oops...I mean "entice" (is that what the telecom companies call it today) the FCC to do their jobs and define standards with which the general public can fairly share the radio as the FCC should. Wasn't that their original stated purpose? I doubt it was to allow communications and entertainment companies to control how the spectrum is use, which more or less seems to be what th

  • by S3D (745318) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:44PM (#21314967)
    It's not designed by T-mobile of cause (if it was sarcasm on the part of TFA, it was too veilded IMO) It was designed by HTC. It is in fact HTC Juno [boygeniusreport.com]. As the HTC is a part of Google led Open Handset Alliance may be their next phones would fare better.
  • by diesel66 (254283) * on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:46PM (#21314973)
    Windows Mobile 6 == teh sux

    This message brought to you by: Article in a Nutshell (TM)
  • by MLopat (848735)
    In all fairness, his comments assume that all Windows Mobile 6 editions are created equally which isn't the case. On this phone, we're looking at Windows Mobile Classic, which is a phone only implementation (without touch screen/stylus interface). While I for one don't have the patience (and nor does the author of the article) to click through menu after menu on a cell phone, I have moved to an interface that I find pleasing to use -- Windows Mobile 6 Professional. Being able to directly interact with the s
    • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:19PM (#21315195) Homepage
      He's not assuming anything about other versions of the software. He's saying the software on this phone sucks, which you seem to agree with. If MS released a version of XP without mouse support...that would suck, too. The existence of another version would not in any way invalidate the suckiness of the mouseless version. If the software is only good for touchscreen devices (which I would disagree with, it still sucks even on touchscreen devices), then it sounds like MS's big mistake was licensing it for use on non-touchscreen devices.

      Why would he "eat his words" about a device he's never written about?
    • FTA: "A locking feature, which prevents the buttons from being pushed accidentally in a purse or pocket, is nice. But it should be optional. And one button press should suffice to unlock it; two in sequence is just annoying."

      I'm failing to see how one button to unlock the phone would be any different than an accidental button push in a purse or pocket. Most cellphones I have ever used have unlocked by pressing a "menu" button and then the asterisk button. How is that difficult or annoying? Have we really
      • On the other hand, FTA: "A cellphone should auto-format phone numbers with parentheses and hyphens when you enter them in the address book. When the cursor is in a number box, like ZIP code, the keyboard should automatically start typing numbers. The owner should not have to press the alternate-symbols key."

        I can't agree more with this statement. I have the same problem on my Motorola Q . The design choices are nearly laughable. There are many inputs in the phone where the edit box will only take a numeric
  • by Entropius (188861) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @01:51PM (#21315009)
    I've never found one that's well-designed. They may exist, but I've never had or seen one.

    What I want:

    1) The ability to turn the volume up or down in a wider scale than they give us. If I can't hear someone with the volume at max (usually when they're on a landline), the scale needs to go higher. My phone goes up to five; it should go up to eleven. It's a device whose principal function is the capture and transmission of sound, yet it has ONE thing you can control about the sound: inbound sound volume, in a limited range. This is ridiculous. This is stuff that could be included essentially for free, since it's all software that doesn't take much processing power. For instance, it'd be nice to have some sort of intelligent parametric EQ. Sometimes you get someone on the other end with a sucky headset and it'd be nice to be able to fix it yourself or have the phone do it for you.

    2) The phone to tell me what the hell it's doing signal-wise. I've been standing on top of a mountain and looking over a canyon at a cell tower (~2 miles distant) and have no signal. Sometimes calls get dropped even though I have four "bars" of signal. Is it a SNR problem? The phone trying to do a tower swap and failing? Who the fuck knows? Give me frickin' iwconfig, please. It's like the Windows boot sequence. Either it works or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, who knows what went wrong. But Windows at least has Safe Mode...

    3) A phone that doesn't fucking break. My old phone had a keypad that kept going bad. My new phone now thinks that there's a headset plugged into it when there's not. Sometimes it thinks I don't have a SIM card in it.

    4) I hesitate to suggest this since they seem incapable of getting even simple things right, but replace SIM cards with SD cards (they're effectively a commodity now, $20 for 2GB). Poof, instant long-play pocket audio recorder!

    • I hear you. Still, my Blackberry Pearl works for me...

      But, like so-called other 'smart' phones, (windows mobile, nokia, palm), you're stil limited in how 'deep' you're alowed to go in accessing the firm/hardware. I suspect this is deliberate, to stop people from bricking the device, and thus being unable to make (emergency) calls, just because they were trying to add the latest 'turn the volume up to 11 freeware widget by team warezlol!!!!' bit of shitware.

      The answer to your prayers may finally come with
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NMerriam (15122)

      1) The ability to turn the volume up or down in a wider scale than they give us.

      God, yes. Every other audio device I own has a scale from "only dogs can hear it" up to "you're going to go deaf if you listen at this volume". There is no, NO reason this should not be the case on cell phones. Sure, it'll eat up battery a little faster if you crank it up all the time, but no worse than any of the other million battery-draining features you know for a FACT that 95% of the phone's users will never use. And lis

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by owlstead (636356)
      "4) I hesitate to suggest this since they seem incapable of getting even simple things right, but replace SIM cards with SD cards (they're effectively a commodity now, $20 for 2GB). Poof, instant long-play pocket audio recorder!"

      I do completely agree, but only if you substitute SIM cards by Micro-SD or something like that. SIM cards are common practice within the industry; you cannot just replace that by flash (imagine your phone breaking, you have enough experience with that it seems). Furthermore, they al
    • by zlogic (892404) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @04:12PM (#21316085)

      I hesitate to suggest this since they seem incapable of getting even simple things right, but replace SIM cards with SD cards (they're effectively a commodity now, $20 for 2GB). Poof, instant long-play pocket audio recorder!
      SIM cards are more than simply memory. They store a bunch of encryption keys; but the keys are NOT transferred into the phone and a lot of encryption is done on the SIM card, so technically it's a very simple processor. It's done so that someone doesn't steal your phone, clone the SIM card, assign any PIN they like and get "free" calls as well as a "free" phone.
      Oh, and most modern phones (except really cheap ones) have an SD, miniSD or microSD slot.

      The ability to turn the volume up or down in a wider scale than they give us.
      Most phones have a speakerphone mode that makes it really loud; turn it on but turn down the volume, this way it'll be louder than normal but not deafening.

      The phone to tell me what the hell it's doing signal-wise.
      It may be anything, including the carrier. For example here in Russia most prepaid contracts (having a $5-$10 monthly ARPU) have a much lower priority and their calls are dropped or rejected if network load exceeding limits; they are also switched into half-duplex mode when bandwidth is needed for something more important. I think that "bars" are lowered if the signal is too noisy.

      A phone that doesn't fucking break.
      My Siemens phone got chewed by a dog, its screen (the protective glass, not the display itself) now has a hole in it (because of the dog), the battery is dead because of awful handling (but still lasts a day or two), I opened it twice just to look inside and it was dropped a million times. Everything (except the battery) works perfectly! My new phone is a Sony Ericsson and I've never had any problems with it yet.
  • by Thaelon (250687) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:00PM (#21315071)
    I fail to see how "wresting power from the carriers" is a bad thing. They do evil things with it. Two year contracts with "early termination fees". Phones locked into their service. Phones with software or hardware they've deliberately crippled (Verizon I'm looking at you). Phones that have had a nice GUI replaced with their branded crap. Charging absurd prices for downloads. Padding HTTP headers with data so you use more of their outrageously overpriced data plans. I could go on and on. But if you ask me, the more power the phones wrest from the carriers, the better off we'll be.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by recoiledsnake (879048)
      Uhh what? Lets do the math on Apple "wresting power" from the carriers. Carriers typically discount the phone from the retail unlocked price. For example, a HTC Mogul(a 3G phone with a ton of features) has a retail unlocked price of around $550. Sprint sells it for $300 with a 2 year contract. In fact, many companies deeply discount phones to such an extent that you can get $50 BACK with some phones(check on Amazon or Wirefly). The phone manufacturer makes a fixed profit and moves on.

      But what did Apple do

      • by Thaelon (250687)
        Pure FUD.

        Sure they give you a discount on a phone. But over the life of the contract you end up paying them a MINIMUM of about $1,200. You can bet your ass they're not losing money over it. I once saw an add for a "FREE Blackberry!" where, if you looked at the terms and contract would actually cost you $2,160 over the life of the 2 year contact. Minimum!

        And what does this article, or my post have to do with Apple? I never once mentioned apple. If you don't like what Apple did with the iPhone, DON'T B [thebestpag...iverse.net]
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:02PM (#21315087) Journal
    Whats up with that ancient brick like thing with an antenna sticking out being used as an icon for cellphones in slashdot. Jeez can't they get a more recent pic? If not iPhone at least something from the stone age like razr or a clamshell? They are still using that fossil from Jurassic!
    • by ptbarnett (159784)
      Whats up with that ancient brick like thing with an antenna sticking out being used as an icon for cellphones in slashdot.

      Hey, that looks just like my first cellphone!

      Oh, wait.....

    • Easy fix for you:
      1. Go to preferences
      2. Click on the Homepage tab in preferences
      3. Scroll down a tiny bit and check "No Icons"
      4. ...
      5. Profit!
      :-)
  • by Da_Biz (267075) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @02:15PM (#21315173)
    Frankly, Windows Mobile 6 is a mess. Common features require an infinitude of taps and clicks, and the ones you need most are buried in menus. Apparently the Windows Mobile 6 team learned absolutely nothing from Windows Mobile 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

    I wholeheartedly agree: I received a low-end HP PDA years ago for Christmas. Windows Mobile worked so poorly that I didn't even bother to get the thing replaced on warranty when it broke within two months (battery couldn't hold a charge to save its life).

    I already miss the 'antiquated' Palm OS that ran on my Treo. The article was nice enough to bring up a couple of my favorite reasons as to why...

    First of all, a cellphone should not display a "wait" cursor. Ever. And definitely not almost every time you change screens, as on the Shadow.

    One of my favorites: I run a nearly stock version of WM6 on my HTC Mogul phone, with the only additions being the free version of Epocrates and an SPB Diary application. My phone has a more-than-adequate CPU, yet still lags while switching screens.

    Do I need to "wipe and load" my phone to make it run faster? Sheesh.

    A cellphone should not have a Task Manager. You should never have to worry about quitting programs because you've used up too much memory.

    Amen! I also love how the phone has a knack for running out of memory right when an important call comes in. There's nothing more frustrating than a ringing phone that won't show me the phone screen and where the buttons suddenly don't work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by julesh (229690)
      Amen! I also love how the phone has a knack for running out of memory right when an important call comes in. There's nothing more frustrating than a ringing phone that won't show me the phone screen and where the buttons suddenly don't work.

      This is one of the brilliant things about PalmOS: you can write a program that will run on it _without using any memory at runtime_. Because it can run programs straight off flash, without having to load them into RAM.

      OK, so PalmOS has/had a lot of problems, but why are
  • by Xenious (24845)
    I have an iPhone, I also have a windows mobile 6 smartphone. I use one as a wifi ipod and the other as my communications tool. Why? Cause the iphone doesn't sync up with my corporate exchange server and push email to me from it. It's just a tool and as much as I love my iphone I have to use the other to get the functionality of the tool I need. For what its worth I think WM6 is pretty decent and I can work without a laptop and have access to my corporate address list, email, contacts, office documents
    • It's what my boss does with his iPhone. It works even if it's a bit clunky.

      I had hopes for the shadow too, ditto the blackjack. Some of the other directors at work talked me into a AT&T 8525 [cnet.com] and despite all the hype it sucks too. It's a freaking brick, especially with the extended life battery , a lousy phone that you can't dial by feel and a crappy web browser.

      Is it too much to ask for a phone that I can fit in a front pants pocket, dial by feel with hard buttons and that can also sync to Outloo

  • Matthew Miller from ZDNet's The Mobile Gadgeteer: http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=679 [zdnet.com]

    This is basically a blow-by-blow refutation of Pogue's article. Enjoy.
  • The device is called the "HTC Juno", related to the "HTC Vox". I doubt it was "designed by" a T-Mobile executive, although he probably had some input.

    In any case, the problem with those phones is the Windows Mobile software; since HTC is part of the Open Handset Alliance, hopefully, all that great hardware will be liberated soon and run with easy-to-use Google services.
  • Buh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ilikejam (762039)
    "A cellphone should auto-format phone numbers with parentheses and hyphens when you enter them in the address book. When the cursor is in a number box, like ZIP code, the keyboard should automatically start typing numbers. The owner should not have to press the alternate-symbols key."
    I, for one, don't want hyphens or parentheses in my phone numbers, and my zip code starts with a G, so I wouldn't want my keyboard to type numbers in my zip code field.

    "A locking feature, which prevents the buttons from being p
  • I have the SDA which as Windows Mobile 5.0. I like the phone. This new unit looks like the logical next step. Sure, it takes several mores to get to through all the start menus - but I can assign shortcuts to them. And I have a nifty last accessed menu at the top, so things I use a lot are easier to get to.

    I, too, would like someone to give this a better review.
  • Sounds more like an indictment of Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 than the phone itself. And I understand completely. I've got a Glowfiish [sic] phone from Eten and it's a catastrophe. The phone itself is cool to the max, but WM6 is so bulky, ugly, impossible to use, ill-conceived,... well, I think you get the point. No Windows Media smart phone will ever be worth a dang. There is far too much to redo in order to save WM. They'd have to completely start over.

    Ever phone from now on is going to call itself the i
  • When I read this in the article:

    The resulting phone is beautiful. Its aspirations to Appleness are evident immediately: there's the nearly buttonless façade, the huge black expanse of screen, the iPod-like control dial that both spins through lists and clicks at the four compass points...

    It made me seriously question whether the photo shown along side was actually the phone they were talking about. That thing is seriously the ugliest phone I've seen in a long time and reminds me of something from

    • how could anyone possibly look at that phone and think it's even remotely inspired by the iPhone/iPod?!

      Agreed, Nokia's phones are usually based on the Nokia "look" more than anything else. But there is a whole new wave of big-screen phones emerging based on trends coming out of Korea. The first one of these was a few mutant Samsungs, which begat the LG Prada, which Apple then lifted for its own phone design. Compare and contrast [reghardware.co.uk].
  • by LilGuy (150110)
    I'll never understand what the makers of my Nokia were smoking when they put it together. The phone has a lot of nice features like a tip calculator, conversions, etc, but the main screen does not have a clock unless it's on the screensaver, but if you press a button while it's on the screensaver clock, the clock disappears and the unit lights up. By the time the clock comes back, the screen is dark again. So in order to check the time I have to unlock the phone, and hold the time button which is a ver
  • by DavidD_CA (750156)
    I'm running WM6 Professional on an HTC TyTnII (aka AT&T Tilt). I have to say that the OS is pretty great. It's not perfect, and it's not anywhere near as sexy as the iPhone. That being said, it does some very amazing things that have made me more productive, connected, and entertained.

    It crashes every now and then, and sometimes the GPS locks up, but a simple reboot has always fixed it. I suspect part of the problem is some of the crap AT&T loaded on top of the OS after Microsoft and HTC was don
  • It's a Pogue review of something that's not made by Apple so of *course* it's going to say it's shit.
  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @04:16PM (#21316121) Homepage

    When you're finished looking at a text message, you should not have to open a menu to find the Delete command. When you're on a phone call, you should not have to open a menu to find the Speakerphone command. When you take a picture, you should not have to open a menu to find Send and Delete.
    WM6 allows you to hold down "D" for a second and the message deletes.

    A cellphone should not have a Task Manager. You should never have to worry about quitting programs because you've used up too much memory.
    I see the Task Manager as a way to swap between different apps. I can look at Live Maps, then switch to my email, look something up, copy and paste it back into Live Maps, answer a call, and switch back to the map, etc. The Task Manager allows me to do this quickly.

    A cellphone should auto-format phone numbers with parentheses and hyphens when you enter them in the address book.
    Mine seems to do that just fine, though I normally add my photos via Outlook and sync. Perhaps he is adding them to the SIM card which may not support that?

    If the phone has a navigation wheel, the big, clickable center button should always mean "O.K." Always. It should never do nothing, even when there's an O.K. label over one of the tiny softkeys.
    This is most definitely a choice of TMobile, since they designed the hardware. My WM6 device (HTC TyTn II) has a scroll wheel which clicks in, selecting whatever I've selected. There's also two OK buttons on the device (side and front) which click OK.

    When you're assigning a contact to one of the five "My Faves" slots, a T-Mobile calling plan that gives you unlimited calls to your five favorite numbers, three confirmation screens is two too many.
    That's T-Mobile's software, not WM6. The HTC homescreen program allows me to set my seven favorites with two clicks each.

    If it takes four presses on the More button just to see everything in the Start menu -- and you provide no direct way to get to the first page from the last -- you need to redesign.
    This is as simple as rearranging your Start Menu shortcuts in the Windows directory. You can do this from the device or when ActiveSync'd. I agree that it should come "cleaner" from the manufacturer, but that's T-Mobile's fault.

    A locking feature, which prevents the buttons from being pushed accidentally in a purse or pocket, is nice. But it should be optional. And one button press should suffice to unlock it; two in sequence is just annoying.
    This is all configurable in the control panel. On my TyTn II, I tap the power button to lock, and tap it again to unlock. I hold it down to shut down the phone.

    I think this person needs to understand what the difference is between WM6 and a company that has jacked it up. WM6 is not perfect, but the issues he's blasted here are either because of TMobile's implementation, or his lack of knowledge of the features of the OS.
  • AHHHH!!!!!!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by NickCatal (865805) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @05:41PM (#21316713)
    Geesh... All I want is a freaking phone that allows me to play music and videos (podcasts), install 3rd party apps, has 3G connectivity & wifi, has gmail and push-email support, syncs with an ical feed, has an IM client that works with all the major networks, allows me to teather my laptop via bluetooth to the phone, has A2DP, and a web browser that renders like a web browser should (WITH FLASH FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.) Make your own MP3/AAC ringtones. Oh, and it needs to be on more than one carrier.

    And it needs to be, most importantly, a GOOD PHONE. With GOOD RECEPTION, SOUND QUALITY, AND DIALING SHOULD BE SUPER-SIMPLE!!

    Photo and video opportunities so that you could upload to Youtube/Flickr/Facebook would be cool too, but I'm OK without having that.

    How fucking hard is it to roll that out???? Seriously, how fucking hard?
  • One size fits all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sanat (702) on Sunday November 11, 2007 @06:19PM (#21317063)
    Whenever I see a device that tries to be "Everything" I am taken back to the 60's to McNamara and his desire to have an airplane that had "commonality" and could serve as the "end all".

    The F111 was designed to be both a fighter and a bomber. It was too heavy to land on carriers and could not carry the required equipment and payloads required by the Navy... did not even have gatlin guns on it for a while, and it was too small to carry a large payload and the range was too short to be an effective bomber.

    So is the T-mobile a F111 or can these problems be worked out?

    This is a time for the designer to eat his/her pride and make it work... if that is possible. It wasn't possible with the F111 and the T-mobile remains to be seen.

Put your Nose to the Grindstone! -- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.

Working...