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Vodafone Backs Down In Row With Android Users 106

jhernik writes with this excerpt from eWEEK Europe: "Vodafone has backed down in the face of angry opposition from Google Android customers, who last week received a software update thinking it contained Android 2.2, but instead found it contained Vodafone's branded 360 service. The Vodafone 360 service was launched in October last year. Essentially, Vodafone 360 is a user interface that puts social networking on the front screen of the phone, and arranges the users' contacts so you can reach any person with a phone call, IM, text or other call — or send a location message to meet up. However it also installs irremovable Vodafone-branded apps and bookmarks, including links to dating sites."
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Vodafone Backs Down In Row With Android Users

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  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 14, 2010 @06:43AM (#33249850)

    Yet another company that should pay me to be their CEO of common sense.

    Most companys need someone like that to help them NOT do things that piss off all their customers. Yet no company has one it seems.

  • by jgreco ( 1542031 ) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:27AM (#33249940)

    If they're going to dictate mandatory apps and screen layout, that seems like it's moving away from a true smartphone and towards the realm of featurephone.

    I can definitely see having some predefined layouts handy for new smartphone users who don't really know what to do next, but it seems to me that one of the biggest advantages of a smartphone is the ability to customize it for your own arbitrary uses, adding your own layout and apps. If wireless companies are going to start dictating layout and apps, that seems like a step backwards. These phones are going to keep getting more capable with every passing month, new hardware design, and OS release, and if anything the market for featurephones would seem like it ought to be shrinking (since a smartphone can completely replace a featurephone). At some point, it'll be easier to sell a smartphone with a predefined featurephone-like template for users who would prefer that - instead of developing separate featurephones.

    Is it possible that someone at Vodafone simply doesn't quite understand this? I couldn't quite put my finger on what problem Vodafone 360 was designed to solve...

  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:37AM (#33249960)

    I'm on Three, and anyone who wasn't previously on their "Xseries" service*, and isn't willing to pay £5/month for that service, is subjected to a content block. The content block redirects objectionable sites like B3ta to Three's PPV porn portal. It's like a protection racket: "pay us £5 per month, or you might find yourself looking at porn instead of the site you wanted to go to".

    *Long story involving their move from a walled garden internet service

  • Future Expansion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arbition ( 1728870 ) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:43AM (#33249980)
    By the sounds of it, they haven't actually given the option to roll back to Vanilla 2.1, they just said, in fututre, the 2.2 will be available vanilla. Maybe they are expecting people to warm up to the "features" prior to the update?
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:55AM (#33250012)
    Indeed, for a short while I had a Motorola backflip. I liked the hardware in general, although the battery was a bit on the weak side, but the deal breaker was all those damned AT&T apps that came installed. Not only were they installed, but you couldn't remove them without doing some serious hackery to the phone. They wasted space and resources on the device and seemed to suck up RAM permanently. I had similar issues with my Sony vaio. That was one of the worst QA fails I can remember in quite a while, as soon as that laptop booted up for the first time it was immediately running extremely slowly because PC-cillin was taking up 99% of the processing time and it was installed by default with no way to avoid doing so until after you managed to bring up the task manager.

    It should be common sense, really, that not loading your device up with crap would be the way to keep customers, but businesses don't care enough and in the US the government doesn't force them to care either. Sure you'd spend more money and devices tend to in areas with more active regulators, but it's ultimately cheaper than having to replace a device that doesn't work because of crapware.
  • by DMoylan ( 65079 ) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @08:31AM (#33250132)

    i do buy unlocked phones. and used to use vodafone sims on prepay here in ireland. till they changed their prepay service so that pages i browsed had shitty vodafone links and logos at the top. rang to ask how to turn the crap off and was told you couldn't so threw the sim away.

  • I keep telling this story **about** Vodafone, which cost me a **considerable** amount of money; and, they know it.

    Quite a few years ago, not long after Vodafone arrived in Australia, I was sold a mobile plan with Vodafone using an existing handset. I inserted the Vodafone SIM, and the phone would not work. **I had not yet made one call!** The company's designated repairer agreed to have the phone "unlocked" and, weeks later, it was returned to me supposedly fixed.

    I tested the phone in the store: The phone still did not work with Vodafone's SIM, but seemed to work with my old carrier's SIM. I gave it back to their designated repairer on the spot.

    Weeks later the handset was returned to me and I was told that the phone was affected by water, and would cost over $1000 to fix; much more than the handset was worth, or could be replaced, even back then.

    I pestered Vodafone for over a year, when they bothered to call to try to get me to pay their mounting monthly bills which I refused to pay. at the risk of repetition... **I had not yet made one call! (on Vodafone)**

    My premise was that I would happily talk to their people, for hours in some cases, until I had used up the cost **of their time** that they had ascribed to my "bricked" phone (that Vodafone had "bricked".) And, I alays told them what I was doing; that I was using a headset with the phone when they rang me at work, and I was actually productive while they were not!

    I regularly suggested that they buy me a new handset, which I would use with my existing Vodafone SIM. They refused. I would have used it, too! (Meanwhile, we had another handset with another company.)

    Eventually, a senior manager from Vodafone who called me worked out -- in the midst of a long conversation -- that I really meant what I was saying, and "wiped" my bill. However, my parting shot to him was to say what I had said to his other people; that I would continue to tell this story ABOUT (and never 'against') Vodafone. After all, I do not want to get into any legal trouble by bad-mouthing such a prosperous company.

    So, I just have told my story, again!

    You decide.


  • by Cyberllama ( 113628 ) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @07:05PM (#33253398)

    Boycotts are not quite the same thing. They're reactive instead of proactive. A company does something you don't like, and then you TRY to get enough people to care to boycott. I'm talking about organizing people beforehand and being very clear about what you don't want done.

I've got a bad feeling about this.