Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dear Verizon: Make Microsoft fix Windows Mobile, or I'm switching to AT&T

I've been using PDA's since 3 months after the first Palm debuted. Love 'em. Loved the Palm. Because I worked at Verizon (then AirTouch), I was able to get my hands on one of the very first smart phones, which was a glomming together of a Palm and Motorola phone. It was the size of a shoe, but to have my phone and my Palm in the same device, and wireless access to the Web.... mmmmm.... so geeky. So good.

I didn't switch to a Windows Mobile device until Windows Mobile 5 became available. Until that time, all the review said, "Stay away! Do not touch! Cuidado!" WM5 got OK-ish reviews, and so, a few years ago, I got a Verizon phone with WM5 on it and was fairly pleased.

Fairly. Kinda. Almost pleased. As in, mostly it didn't suck, and it sortta did everything I really needed, which was the ability to synch with my email at work, get my Google mail on the WM version of IE, and read eBooks. The rest -- a few good games, some interesting utilities, etc. -- was gravy.

A couple months ago, I dorpped my phone and needed to get a new one. I considered the iPhone, but my wife and I have a family kinda plan with VZW, and if I dumped, her price would go up and I'd owe like $170 for early termination, etc. Plus, I've heard from a few friends that AT&T's actual service (call availability, clarity, dropped calls, etc.) wasn't as good, and neither was their customer service. Plus, as an ex-VZW employee, I have some school loyalty.

So I got the new Verizon WM6 phone, that is basically the same as my old phone, but with a slightly better camera (I don't care), a slightly sexier keyboard (which I don't like as much), and, most importantly, WM6 as opposed to WM5.x.

Apparently, the big upgrade for WM6 is that it completely bricks your phone every now and then for no reason at all.

I should be more specific... Three times now, my ability to synch my phone either wirelessly (which is needed for getting my work email, the one main reason I pay for wireless data access) or through USB (which is needed to backup and restore software) completely locks up. I can use the phone as a phone, I can get to the Internet on the browser... but nothing will get my synch back short of resetting to factory defaults. Which removes all my software, pics, songs, books, settings, etc. and requires that I call VZW service to get them to reactivate my cell number.

This is, as you might guess, a huge pain in the sphincter.

On top of that huge pain, there is also the more regular, yet slightly less piercing or debilitating pain of having to reboot my phone at least twice a day. Yep. Programs will lock, synch will freeze, and I need to push my stylus into the little tiny-hole-of-hopeful-rebirth in order to warm boot the damned thing. During which time I have to hold my breath to see if this is going to work, or if I've done the mysterious, heinous thing that will result in brickage again, rather than simply soft-reboot annoyance.

LISTEN UP VERIZON -- I like your service and your service. I like that, in general, the WM experience is more closely tied to my desktop version of Windows. I do not, however, like an OS that dumps my phone. 

You've got 20 months. If Microsoft hasn't fixed WM by then -- and I mean FIXED IT!!! -- I'm going over to the dark side.

PS: A mobile browser that can do Flash and Java wouldn't suck, either. C'mon guys... you're in the OS business. You're going to lose the mobile computing wars if you can't figure this stuff out.

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