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What I hate about my new cell phone

Per a prior journal entry, my work just changed from Palm Treo smartphones to Samsung Blackjack smartphones. The Blackjack is based on Windows Mobile 5. I’ve made up a list of things that I don’t like about my new phone. To be fair, the blame is equally shared by Windows Mobile 5, AT&T, Credant (the application used for locking the phone/encrypting the data), and Good Messaging (the application that ties into our back-end Exchange servers for e-mail, etc.).

For whatever reason (as compared to my first blog entry), the phone appears to be more stable now — it doesn’t lock up nearly as much, but the list of things I don’t like is still pretty long:

Windows problems:

  • The “done” button location is inconsistent; sometimes it’s on the left, sometimes it’s on the right.
  • You can create “speed dial” shortcuts (press-and-hold a number on the keypad to trigger an action), but: a) they’re not actually speed dials; they’re actions (e.g., run an application), so it took a long time to figure out that this functionality could be useful, but b) there’s no indication anywhere of what your “speed dials/actions” are after you set them. So you’d better have a good memory.
  • It’s a minimum of 7 clicks to get to where you can send an SMS (not counting the clicks to find the right contact) — sometimes more. Why should such a common action be so difficult?
  • If you cancel an SMS message, it goes to drafts. Then you have to delete it from the drafts folder (it takes 11 clicks to get to the drafts SMS folder).
  • There is a nice feature to turn off all transmitters (phone and bluetooth). But sometimes when you turn them back on, the bluetooth transmitter refuses to turn back on. It requires a reboot to fix this problem.
  • The Java on the phone is unusable; Java pops an authorization window every time an application uses HTTP or HTTPS. You cannot setup Java to say “this application is allowed to use HTTP/HTTPS forever.”
  • Windows loses my bluetooth headset settings upon reboot (and other random times).
  • The phone plays any annoying (and very loud) noise upon startup/shutdown that you cannot turn off (I suspect this is AT&T’s doing, though — not WM5). The noise is accompanied by an animated fireball, supposedly to indicate AT&T’s blazing fast network. My wife, who heard the sound but didn’t see the accompanying graphic said, “Did your phone just flush?”
  • Internet Explorer provides no way to clear the current URL. If you want to go to a new web site, you either to have to go a bookmark or you have to fully backspace out the current URL and type a new one.
  • I find that Internet Explorer does not render many popular web site; it just stops in the middle of loading the page. Some sites work fine; other sites just hang.
  • The phone randomly reboots every once in a while. It rebooted while I was typing up this list, for example.

Good problems:

  • In all Good screens, small yellow banner comes up when new mail arrives, but there’s no way to get rid of it (despite there being an “X” on the right hand side of the yellow banner, implying that you can click on it somehow). So the banner stays there until you go read the new mail.
  • There is no integration between Good contacts and SMS. This is highly frustrating; I get SMS messages that simply show the phone number that they’re from; it doesn’t show me who they’re from. Who remembers phone numbers these days?
  • Good messaging does not automatically start when the phone boots (!).
  • When a reminder alert appears for a to-do item, you have to clear the alert to get back to the phone (vs. leaving the alert there because you haven’t actually done the item yet — like Outlook’s Alert’s window).
  • In the inbox, there’s no way to jump to the beginning or end of the inbox (or current message) — there’s only the thumbwheel to scroll up and down (which is difficult if you have a few hundred messages in your inbox, for example).
  • Good only shows the last hundred messages or so in your inbox. I understand conserving resources/memory, but there’s no way for the user to control how many/how few messages appear on the phone.

Credant problems:

  • Credant will lock your phone while you’re on a call. Even if you want to go on/off mute, you have to unlock the phone (which can be many clicks if your PIN is lengthy). To be fair, I don’t know if this is a Credant problem or someone set a policy that Credant would do this (i.e., I don’t know if it’s a bug or a feature).
  • Credant is schitzo about what you can/cannot do when the phone is locked. For example, you can see/clear to-do reminders when the phone is locked.

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Comments (3)

I’ve experienced some of the annoyances you describe, and I’ll second the comment about the startup sounding like a toilet, but my wife’s BJ has a fairly good SMS workflow (as does my Q). You probably figured out you can assign a “speed-dial” as send SMS to a specific contact, which is one of the best features on the phone for us (since 90+% of our SMS traffic is to a single number). Even if you don’t, I think sending an SMS to a contact is just two keystrokes (RSK,3 to get from the contact view to the compose SMS view).

IE is unreliable on the phone. Remember that Windows Mobile IE doesn’t have all the features of the desktop browser (especially scripting and DOM support) so some stuff just flat won’t work. I hate the lack of “clear URL”, since it’s very slow to search through history.

I don’t understand why Good needs to get involved in your Exchange workflow. My Q and E’s BJ hook up directly to our respective Exchange servers, with no 3rd-party glue required. Maybe that’s a Cisco thing.

JLS

I’ve experienced some of the annoyances you describe, and I’ll second
the comment about the startup sounding like a toilet, but my wife’s BJ
has a fairly good SMS workflow (as does my Q). You probably figured
out you can assign a “speed-dial” as send SMS to a specific contact,
which is one of the best features on the phone for us (since 90+% of
our SMS traffic is to a single number).

Actually, I didn’t realize that… I’ll have to dig into that. But
the lack of being able to see what are assigned to the “speed dials”
is probably going to make this a non-starter, anyway. For example, I
assigned some “vitally important” speed dials last week when I
discovered the feature, and already I can’t remember what the heck
they were. :-(

Even if you don’t, I think sending an SMS to a contact is just two
keystrokes (RSK,3 to get from the contact view to the compose SMS
view).

Dumb question — what’s RSK?

For me, the keystrokes to send an SMS are (assuming you’re already at
the home screen):

Push “contacts” button

“down arrow” to get to the contact
“ok” to select the contact
push “contact” button
“3” to compose SMS
possibly one or more “down arrows” to highlight the desired
SMS contact address
“ok” to select
“down arrow” to get into the SMS compose area

So that’s 7 clicks for me (I assume that the possibly step is 0
clicks, but it could be 1 or more depending on how many cell
phone #’s you have for a contact). Some of those clicks can/should
definitely be eliminated. Optimize for the common case, right?

IE is unreliable on the phone. Remember that Windows Mobile IE doesn’t
have all the features of the desktop browser (especially scripting and
DOM support) so some stuff just flat won’t work. I hate the lack of
“clear URL”, since it’s very slow to search through
history.

That too.

I understand that IE is a micro version of the real IE, but it
would be good to fail loading a page clearly, such as “Windows
Mobile IE cannot load this page. Aborting.” (vs. just hanging
indefinitely while loading the page).

I don’t understand why Good needs to get involved in your Exchange
workflow. My Q and E’s BJ hook up directly to our respective Exchange
servers, with no 3rd-party glue required. Maybe that’s a Cisco
thing.

Dunno. We don’t use IMAP to access our Exchange data; my
understanding was that Good provided the MAPI protocols and
Exchange-like GUI on the PDA (e.g., I can create/accept/decline
meeting invitations, access my to-do list, search/access the global
addressbooks, etc.). Good did the same thing on my Palm Treo, but
better than it does on Windows Mobile (IMHO).

Jeff-

Sorry about the six-week delay. Here’s a couple more BJ hints (these work on E’s ATT BJ, so YMMV):

RSK is to the right of LSK, which is the Left Soft Key (the “…” buttons directly below the screen). Sorry, I’ve been hanging around PDA nerds too long.
To see what you’ve assigned to speed dial, go Start Menu -> Applications -> Speed Dial
I need to clarify the speed-dial tip: you can assign a speed dial to SMS a specific number (or send email to a specific address), not a contact in general. So you should be able to turn “SMS my wife” into a press-and-hold operation, rather than multiple click/scroll

As for Good…well, WM5 comes with a native MAPI client (PalmOS not so much, of course) and I was able to hook up to our Exchange server with no 3rd-party software on the phone. I can do email/calendar/contact stuff and it syncs transparently. I just plugged in my Exchange hostname, userid and passowrd. So I’m assuming that Good adds some value along the way somewhere (but I don’t know what).

Anyhoo, the WM5 smartphones are clunky but I’d rather have it than not have it. If I could do Exchange on an iPhone, I’d probably have one of those in my pocket. But I don’t think that’s possible (yet).

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