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Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.

Cellphones 291

Bennett Haselton writes My LG Optimus F3Q was the lowest-end phone in the T-Mobile store, but a cheap phone is supposed to suck in specific ways that make you want to upgrade to a better model. This one is plagued with software bugs that have nothing to do with the cheap hardware, and thus lower one's confidence in the whole product line. Similar to the suckiness of the Stratosphere and Stratosphere 2 that I was subjected to before this one, the phone's shortcomings actually raise more interesting questions — about why the free-market system rewards companies for pulling off miracles at the hardware level, but not for fixing software bugs that should be easy to catch. Read below to see what Bennett has to say.

How long would it have taken you to find these bugs, as a beta tester?

  • The phone's auto-correct changes single-quotes to double-quotes in contractions -- for example, when you type you're, the phone auto-corrects it to you"re .

  • When you backspace over part of a word that you've typed and then type the rest of the word, auto-correct corrects based on the letters that you type after you've finished backspacing, rather than the letters in the entire word that you've just completed. For example, if you type couchsurfing and the phone auto-corrects it to concurring, then backspace over all of the letters except the initial co, and then type "uch" followed by a space to form the word "couch", the Optimus changes "uch" to "such" to form "cosuch", because it thinks it's auto-correcting just the "uch" fragment and doesn't see the entire word "couch".

  • Taking a screen capture still doesn't work, just like it didn't work on the Stratosphere 2. There are official directions on how to do it, but you can follow the steps and nothing happens.

  • The first time I launched the voice mail application, the app prompted me to freely choose a new PIN code, and then sternly warned me, Mao-like, that my supposedly freely chosen PIN code was "incorrect". (I never got it working, and just called in to the voice mail number manually whenever I wanted to check my messages.)

  • When I bought a movie on Google Play and wanted to "pin" it to the phone -- i.e. download a static, non-streamed copy so that I could watch it offline, e.g. on a plane ride -- the phone didn't have enough internal storage left to save a copy of the movie (1.27 GB, most of it taken up in 1-2 MB increments by crapware already loaded on to the phone, so that only about 200 MB was left). So I tried saving the movie to a 32 GB SD card that I had plugged into the phone, but ran into the problem that Google Play wouldn't let me save the movie to the SD card, a problem described in Joe Levi's 2013 article "Why does Google hate your SD card?" and still not fixed almost a year later. (The comments posted on his article indicate that lots of people are pissed.)

    Unlike the other bugs, this may be an example of stupidity not at the testing level but at the design specification level -- perhaps this was done in a misguided effort to prevent illegal copying. But, as Levi says of this theory, "If the DRM being used on Android is sufficient enough for content providers to accept it when media is saved internally, they should also accept it when media is saved to an SD card. Otherwise, the DRM isn't really that trustworthy, is it?" It's pointless from a copy-protection point of view, since anyone who wants to pirate a movie can just download it from various BitTorrent sites anyway; all this "feature" does is alienate people who are trying to pay for a movie legally.

  • In the Messaging (i.e. texting) app, you cannot search for messages by the name of the sender. Your conversations are listed in reverse chronological order by the date of the most recent message in each conversation, but to find a conversation with a particular person, you have to scroll down the entire list of conversations and keep your eyes peeled for the person's name.

  • On certain mobile website forms (the Fandango site, for instance, and some others that I don't remember -- it's not clear why this happens on some website forms but not others), the phone won't let me type "special characters", the ones that appear in the upper-right corner of the keyboard keys (so that you can type the "@" symbol by first hitting the "Fn" key to access special characters, and then pressing the "2" key). This means that since I can't type the "@" symbol, I can't log in to any form that requires an email address as a username. (The workaround is to open the Gmail app, find an email address in an email message, copy the "@" symbol from the email address to the clipboard, and then paste it back in the browser form -- yes, I have to do every time I log in to a mobile site that has this problem.)

In my previous phone-suck article about the Samsung Stratosphere, I listed as many problems as I could think of at the time, and I completely forgot the fact that the phone recorded videos without any sound. (I know it wasn't a hardware problem with the microphone, since the phone app picked up my voice fine.) As part of my research into how to ruin Burning Man forever by telling "tourists" how to get there easily, I wanted to post a video of the quintessential Burning Man spectacle that makes all the dust and thirst and heat worthwhile -- and I had to post it with no sound recording, because Samsung's product testing is done by the same drunken bonobos that worked on the LG Optimus.

And both products raise the same question, not rhetorically, but seriously: How did this happen? More specifically, in a theoretical free market, any product improvement that costs only a small amount compared to the benefit it brings to consumers, should be implemented (and consumers will reward the company by paying additional dollars for the improvement, in proportion to the benefit it brings them). While it doesn't always work out that way in practice, it's hard to believe LG couldn't spring for a few English-language testers to point out that the phone shouldn't be correcting you're to you"re.

I think the answer in both cases is that the free market optimizes mainly for things that are easily quantifiable, like camera resolution and network speed, because those can be listed on the packaging and compared against other products. But the amount of stupid s*#t you run into while actually using the phone, is hard to define on an objective scale, so that's the first thing that companies will cut corners on, even if it's something that consumers would be willing to pay money for.

So my solution is still essentially the same as what I proposed after trashing the Stratosphere: Some Consumer-Reports-type outlet should rate phones on a Stupid S*#t Index (along with speed, reception, etc.), based on how much stupid s*#t they run into in a week of typical usage. Ideally the Stupid S*#t Index should be reduced to a number so that you can do a quick comparison between different models. If a cheap phone has a lot of stupid s*#t problems, but you don't mind because you want to save money, that's a valid choice, and if you want to pay more for a phone with less stupid s*#t, that's fine too. But people should know what they're buying.

More generally, I think people vastly overestimate the ability of the free market to meet consumer demand, in cases where the demand is for something that can't be easily quantified. I've spent a fair amount of time in "entrepreneurial" circles (while bouncing back and forth myself between entrepreneurship and regular jobs) and have heard the faithful reciting a lot of platitudes like "The market rewards the best product," or "Focus on building the best product you can make, and the customers will come." But most of them evidently didn't even believe it themselves -- they spent most of their efforts on search engine optimization, running content farms, networking with important business contacts, and other activities that didn't directly relate to the quality of their products. And who could blame them? Since their products weren't competing on qualities that were precisely quantifiable, there was no reason for any of them to try to create the "best" product, or even a particularly good one. And that strategy worked quite well for several of them.

On the other hand, when you're competing on a quantifiable metric like price, the best product or service can shoot straight to the top without wasting any time on zero-sum games like SEO or networking ass-kissery. If you're selling external hard drives on Amazon for $0.01, you'll make a lot of sales. You'll go broke, but in the meantime, the free market will connect you quite effectively with your customers.

So, make the mobile phone Stupid S*@t Index into something quantifiable, and maybe we'll have less stupid s#*t. One review body could publish the average rating from several different reviewers, or several different review bodies could publish their ratings and consumers could weight the averages themselves.

Not that it's a panacea -- I bought the LG Optimus not because it was the cheapest or because I didn't expect it to have bugs, but because it was the only offering with a slide-out keyboard, and I've become addicted to the precision of physical keys. (It is so much easier to let your fingertip feel its way to the right key first, and then actually press the key in a separate motion, rather than having to hope your fingertip lands on the right spot in the first place.) So I never returned the phone, they kept my money, and I suppose that makes me part of the problem.

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Why Bennett is more annoying than he has to be. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500755)

Because unlike other Slashdot posters, we're actually forced to listen to him every time we glance over stories on the front page.

...The hell? (5, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | about 5 months ago | (#47500757)

Why is this on Slashdot?

Re:...The hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500793)

Even Wikipedia rejects posting of original research not based on published references...

Re:...The hell? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500803)

Bennett Haselton is the American founder of Circumventor.com and Peacefire.org, two US-based websites dedicated to combating Internet censorship. Peacefire.org is focused on documenting flaws in commercial Internet blocking programs.

Re:...The hell? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501003)

He'd have a better experience if he got a flagship phone. All three of the ones he mentioned owning are the low end crappy ones. Buy crap, get crap. Pretty simple.

Re:...The hell? (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 5 months ago | (#47501011)

So? That doesn't make his complaints about what's wrong with the cheap, crappy smart phone he bought any more insightful. We know cheap smart phones tend to be crap. It's not news.

Re:...The hell? (2)

brainboyz (114458) | about 5 months ago | (#47501319)

What's funny is his complaints are mostly about apps. On an Android. Where you can mostly replace the functionality without fanfare.

Re:...The hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501023)

Hmm, anonymous coward posting essentially off topic promoting Bennett. Bennett, is that you?

Re:...The hell? (4, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47501049)

Bennett HAselton is an ignorant douche who complains when he gets blacklisted by various email lists because he distributes lists of OPEN PROXIES and he's too stupid to know WHY he gets blacklisted ... and then calls that censorship.

He's an ignorant fucking douche, nothing more.

Any tangental work he does is irrelevant and generally most of the crap he spews is wrong. You get more accurate information from Fox news.

Re:...The hell? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501083)

And Slashdot is his Facebook? I'm sick of Bennett Haselton posts.

Re:...The hell? (1)

davethomask (3685523) | about 5 months ago | (#47500825)

Why is this on Slashdot?

basically.. 4g all the way baby! retrodelic ofcourse... :P

Re:...The hell? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500859)

First there was the GNAA trolls, but no one listened because they were not a GNAA. Then came the FuckBeta! trolls, but no one listened because they were not part of the FuckBeta! movement. Now all the smart readers have left for soylent news [soylentnews.org] and the remainder of you are stuck with crap posts like this. Yay Slashdot and their new DICE overlords!

Seriously, I have a low 6-digit uid as well. I no longer log in because what is the point. So fuck beta, i'm off to the other slashdot site.

Re:...The hell? (0)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 5 months ago | (#47500973)

Problem is, Soylent News is even worse shite than Slashdot. Hideously ugly to look at too.

Re:...The hell? (2)

Threni (635302) | about 5 months ago | (#47501329)

In addition to being extremely hideous they're just as bad as Slashdot for posting non-tech stuff. The other day it was something about food delivery in India.

Re:...The hell? (1)

camg188 (932324) | about 5 months ago | (#47501201)

I like SoylentNews ok, but it definitely is not the same. eg.: A list of the comment counts on the stories on SoylentNews right now: 11, 13, 15, 15, 11, 1, 44, 5, 0, 4, 40 A list of the comment counts on the stories on /. right now: 56, 21, 75, 69, 89, 100, 41, 127, 90, 527, 158

Re:...The hell? (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 5 months ago | (#47500933)

"Why is this on Slashdot?"

It has more literary value than:

"I bought a cheap-ass phone and it sucks"

but only barely.

Re:...The hell? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500963)

He's got lemonparty.org and Goatse style pictures of the Slashdot staff.

Re:...The hell? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501025)

I can only surmise that a long time ago someone thought it would be a good idea to sign a contract to let Bennett have his own frontpage postings rambling on about nonsense, often cluelessly.

They obviously forgot to ever add an expiration date to the contract, so they just can't get rid of him.

Really, I can think of no other explanation as to why he gets his own little regular column on Slashdot. It's certainly not because he has anything interesting to say whatsoever.

Actually that's a lie, maybe sometimes he does have something interesting to say, but the signal to noise ratio with Bennett is so poor that as soon as I see Bennett in the summary I just switch off now because the odds are it'll just be a whole bunch of useless nonsense.

Re:...The hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501047)

Maybe because some company (Google, Samsung, LG, Apple, or the like) hired Dice/Slashdot to garner some social media commentary on smartphone annoyances.

No?

Re:...The hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501233)

lol. ^ this

Re:...The hell? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 5 months ago | (#47501289)

Well, /. is filled with news of smartphones - announcements, rumours and whatnot. New tech reviews also appear pretty heavily. And this isn't just a smartphone review. It's a piece about how little manufacturers, as a whole, value their customers for low end devices, taking advantage of their historically low expectations. Pretty much every manufacturer sells absolute crap on the low end. The only exceptions I can think of are Apple, since they simply don't deal on the low end spectrum, Motorola, who has been churning out genuinely good products like the E and G, and Microsoft/Nokia, on select devices such as the Lumia 520. This is followed by a brief economical commentary on the failure of the market to provide us with good products.

Given that tech and economy are the two most proeminent topics of conversation here (well, that and indiscriminate flaming), I don't see why it shouldn't be here, even if I didn't particularly like the piece.

Re:...The hell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501327)

Yes. Why are there pseudoreviews of cheap shit phones on /.? Just reinforcing the irrelevance of /. nowadays?

Some are especially annoying (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 months ago | (#47500763)

For example sucky custom keyboards with slight misbehavior really upset me.

Also, the fact taht all keyboard phones seem to be low end is frustrating too.

Splitting internal and external storage is annoying, since a phone data dump is easy enough, and if the DRM is cracked, it'll still rpevent casual copying.

So it's not because it keeps turning into a truck? (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 5 months ago | (#47500767)

I certainly can type more than that Mr Filter.

Don't buy cheap android (2, Insightful)

MoronGames (632186) | about 5 months ago | (#47500775)

It's well known that cheap android phones have always been bad, and will always be bad. If you want a cheap, reliable phone, Nokia is more than willing to sell you one of its lower end Lumias. And if you want to have a contract, you can even get a high quality iPhone for "free". Why waste time with bottom of the barrel junk?

Re:Don't buy cheap android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500909)

I'd rather use Froyo than any version of Windows Phone. Wouldn't you?

Re:Don't buy cheap android (1)

Motard (1553251) | about 5 months ago | (#47500923)

No.

Re:Don't buy cheap android (1)

MoronGames (632186) | about 5 months ago | (#47501069)

No.

Re:Don't buy cheap android (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#47501205)

Yes!

Re:Don't buy cheap android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501259)

I'd rather use Froyo than any version of Windows Phone. Wouldn't you?

I'd rather use bloat-free Froyo (with my choice of third party keyboard) than any version of Windows Phone.

Re:Don't buy cheap android (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47500947)

This is (largely) true; but the question is why?. It is expected that cheap phones will suffer from somewhat inferior hardware; but it is less clear why they should suffer from inferior software, doubly so if the very same vendor or the AOSP has software without whatever flavor of broken is causing the issue. It's also particularly weird with something like autocorrect making dumb mistakes: that's far too high level to be a 'well, we went with the cheapest SoC vendor, and you wouldn't believe what total shit their BSP is...' problem, it's not something that the guy buying the expensive phone is going to be spared because he has a faster CPU and more RAM, and it's not something where there's any good reason for the vendor to be trying to roll their own.

I suspect that the thesis about 'hard to quantify' stuff getting squeezed first is true, and one would be foolish to expect market mechanisms to work in the absence of good information, which 'hard to quantify' largely assures; but it still surprises me that cheap hardware (and even some expensive hardware) is routinely shipped with software that actually cost somebody money to make worse than 'stock'. Carrier shitware on cheap phones, I understand, because carriers exert most of the control over what phones will be made available 'free' with contract, and so OEMs will suck it up and preinstall whatever they demand; but any other area where the experience is worse than stock android of the equivalent version just seems weird.

Re:Don't buy cheap android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501267)

1) Buy cheap rootable android.
2) Root it.
3) Install cyanogen
4) What unfixed software bugs?

Re:Don't buy cheap android (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 5 months ago | (#47501277)

But even high end android sucks. HTC ONE M8 their flagship is jammed packed full of crap from AT&T and HTC. The only way to fix it right now is to install Cyanogenmod Daily Alpha compiles.

Yes running an Unstable CM11 is far better than the HTC Sense crap with the AT&T garbage stapled all over it.

Re:Don't buy cheap android (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 5 months ago | (#47501303)

but any other area where the experience is worse than stock android of the equivalent version just seems weird.

Where do you think Samsung and LG stick all the junior devs and QAs? And then pull them off the moment they start making better design choices, to go work on more lucrative projects? Yep, the shitphones. The only choice with the bottom of the barrel phones is to go directly to stock android (which is pretty easy if you have an hour or so to kill and can follow basic instructions) so for Bennett to spend so much time wondering out loud why cheap phones are cheap is the weird part. How about an article on the cheapest phone you can turn into an AOSP/Cyanogen handset with good results? Nah, why bother; that would't start a flamewar!

Re:Don't buy cheap android (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 5 months ago | (#47501043)

I have an LG Optimus F3 from Virgin, and before that was an LG Optimus Slider, also Virgin. Although they're a tad underpowered and the Slider froze up once in a while (every few months), I've had no gripes with them. Considering the F3 was $60, I'm pretty goddamned happy with what it can do. The closest thing I've seen to a bug with the Optimus F3 is that GPS will sometimes freeze if I'm also using music, texting and bluetooth all at the same time, but that's more likely to be a performance thing. Again, for the price, perfectly acceptable. There's nothing wrong with cheap android phones as long as you use them for their intended tasks. You don't buy a Honda Civic and then complain that it can't tow your 30 foot party boat.

Re:Don't buy cheap android (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 5 months ago | (#47501155)

My last phone was an Optimus V from Virgin... The only problems I had resulted from me rooting and installing a clean version of Android, so I can't blame LG. I would have kept it... it was a bit slow playing angry birds (not what I bought my phone for, though), but I could use it as a mobile hot spot. When I upgraded to a 4G phone, I lost that ability... and didn't want to root it after the earlier problems I'd experienced. But here's the thing: I didn't encounter bugs like the author describes. It worked the way it was supposed to. I didn't mind the camera wasn't all that, I didn't have keyboard problems (although it seems like you can install a third party keyboard app that should fix those problems... not that you should have to). I see a lot of complaining about the author of this article, but I think he raises some good points... I'm reminded of Bill Gates saying that people didn't care about bug fixes, they wanted new features!

Re:Don't buy cheap android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501213)

My LG G2 is the best phone I've had.

Re:Don't buy cheap android (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501321)

I have an LG Optimus Dynamic pre-paid phone. It cost like $75. It works fine. Dropped it in my dog's water bowl, dropped it in a toilet, dropped it on the ground multiple times. It still works fine. But I don't watch movies on it. That would just be stupid.

Re:Don't buy cheap android (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 5 months ago | (#47501195)

The way Bennet describes the particular phone, a $100 Tracfone ZTE sounds like a much better deal.

It's not news, it's ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500779)

1. Buy crappy cellphone.
2. Complain that it's crappy.
3. Profit.

You are the beta tester (0, Troll)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 5 months ago | (#47500781)

Enjoy having paid for the privilege, and buy an iphone next time.

Re:You are the beta tester (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 5 months ago | (#47501113)

And have choice over just 1 or 2 models?
This is insulting in a way. OP is still an individual, ya know...

Re:You are the beta tester (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501245)

Yes, it's much better to have access to the 104 different models of LG phones, 173 different models of Samsung phones, plus hundreds of models from other manufacturers. And there is unquestionably the advantage of being exposed to uncountable carrier-specific software customizations.

Because who wants to choose from the handful of easily-understood Apple products based on your needs, when instead you can let a surly sales droid at the T-Mobile store choose a phone for you based on the sales incentives he receives?

Re:You are the beta tester (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501171)

Is the Maps alpha test over yet? ;)

original title (-1, Offtopic)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 5 months ago | (#47500783)

Original title that I submitted as "My LG Optimus Cellphone Sucks Worse Than It's Supposed To". Apparently "sucks" is now too profane for Slashdot :)

Re:original title (-1, Redundant)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 5 months ago | (#47500809)

And I just noticed that all instances of the word "shit" were bleeped out in the article.

Re:original title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501089)

yeah, and they bleeped it wrong. should be "s#!t" :)

Re:original title (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500979)

And yet we are still subjected to your shitty blog posts clogging up the front page. Go choke on a bucket of dicks.

Re:original title (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501029)

Would that have made your rambling screed less boring and stupid? Doubtful.

Re:original title (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47501071)

Then post your bullshit on your own websites. No one wants to listen to you ramble on about crap that you utterly fail to understand and whine like a little girl.

Go back to your hole and whine about what network providers blacklist your retarded lists of open proxies.

Re:original title (-1, Flamebait)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 5 months ago | (#47501175)

You're very articulate. Your English teacher would be proud.

Now, on behalf of your math teacher, do you actually have a point? i.e. is there a statement in the article you think is incorrect.

BC HW only has to look good... (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 5 months ago | (#47500785)

where SW has to work and most people will never exhaust all of what it does and uncover all the bugs. Too often people just figure (a) tech is hard and (2) i'm not a computer geek so there's no way I'll ever work this thing right anyway.

There's alot of crappy phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500791)

QQ

no you are wrong (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 5 months ago | (#47500795)

Phones suck in ways that make them suck, not in any specific way by design. Quality is shit because it's shit borne of laziness and cheapness and not the extra amount of money they'd have to spend planning out their shittiness. Cheap shit phones have no reason to try to upsell you because those are two different markets. The shit market and the poser market. And never the twain shall meet.

What IS interesting though is the razor thin differences in the quality between the shit phones and the more expensive phones. More expensive phones spend all their money on 'me too' features. Not quality.

Re:no you are wrong (1, Insightful)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 5 months ago | (#47500869)

I think that's part of the explanation, but it doesn't account for why the phone doesn't suck in other ways -- if manufacturers are lazy and cheap, why has the camera resolution, for example, evolved to the point where it's really pretty good? And I think the answer is that camera resolution is quantifiable in a standard way, so it puts more pressure on the manufacturers to compete, whereas usability and bugginess are not.

Re:no you are wrong (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 5 months ago | (#47501343)

It's pretty god damn obvious. Nokia or LG buy a shit ton of low to midrange cell camera components. Those components are used in their low to mid level cell, probably across several product generations, or they were leftovers from purchasing for higher end models.

They are generating little to no money from these cheap ass phones nor do they drive product innovation or quality advances. These defects don't get fixed because there is no money in it and the percentage of people buying these phones AND complaining is minute. It's the same reason Linux isn't support for most commercial software.

Re: no you are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501027)

You would think that theses EXACT issues would be solved in a more expensive phone software branch from 3 years ago and "accidentally" be corrected on this phone?

Of course for all non-fancy phones the REAL CUSTOMER is the PHONE COMPANY, not the USER. The phone company wants a phone for $150 wholesale they can stick on your subsidy "for free" but stick you for $350 ETF... Ah the old days....

As far as the phone company cares if it makes calls and uses massive amounts of data, for them to charge you for, then the phone "works" for them. Besides, they only ship them for 6-12 weeks when purchasing gets a good deal them move on to another model.

Bennett! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500797)

Not another stupid Bennett article. What does he do to get his ignorant whiny dribble posted so often?

Re:Bennett! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501021)

drivel, DRIVEL!!!

Buy a real phone with a keyboard case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500801)

It's 2014. Or hey, if you want to stay in the past, I hear BB's new square screen phone has a touchpad with keys.

What a terrible article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500805)

Are the mods drunk?

I don't buy this "solution" of his (5, Funny)

guises (2423402) | about 5 months ago | (#47500851)

So my solution is still essentially the same as what I proposed after trashing the Stratosphere: Some Consumer-Reports-type outlet should rate phones on a Stupid S*#t Index (along with speed, reception, etc.), based on how much stupid s*#t they run into in a week of typical usage.

It sure sounds like he's talking about Consumer Reports [consumerreports.org] here. But the solution already exists, and he got burned anyway, so maybe the real solution is complaining about it on Slashdot. That gets things done.

Re:I don't buy this "solution" of his (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about 5 months ago | (#47500997)

So maybe the real solution is complaining about it on Slashdot. That gets things done.

That depends on what the actual problem is that he is trying to solve. If it is trying to fix the phone, or his experience .. then no, it won't change much. But if it is simply to create a click-bait article masquerading as an editorial (and one that a lot of people will complain and bitch about as well) - well then, the solution works just fine and dandy.

this is why... (2)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 5 months ago | (#47500857)

This is why I hated the first generation of "almost smart phones".

Instead of being just a phone, they added half-assed features that got in the way of the phone being a phone.

Strangely, this is why I first went to an iPhone - it was the best at letting me get all the other crap out of the way (out of sight, out of mind, just wish I could delete more crap) and being just a phone.

LG is crap overall (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500861)

My "high end" LG fridge that's supposed to be quiet but grunts along like a 15 year old no-name "white" fridge, with the added bonus of making knocking noises, like the Chinese kid that assembled it is stuck in the compressor.
My LG washing machine that doesn't really check if the door is really closed and will happily pump water out the door like a drooling infant. And when it works, if you use the highest spin speed, be prepared for the smell of burning something or other.
And that's when it doesn't throw you an error message like TcL on its display, but that message doesn't show up anywhere in the manual. Did I have to install TCL/TK to clean my socks? Who knows?
And my LG phone... Oh boy....
Why did I buy so much LG crap? Bad decisions. Oh well.

Its not just low end phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500873)

I have purchased most of the Samsung Galaxy series (S1, S3, S4) and they all are completely unusable with stock software. The bloat and excessive nagging crapware that they put on the phone is plainly ridiculous. And good luck with any aftermarket roms, they all have huge issues with random force closes, the cameras deciding to close or not working at all, or the wifi not working at all. I wish there was a better alternative, but the Nexus 5 and HTC one suck just as much, but in different ways (non-removable battery, no micro SD card, etc).

Re:Its not just low end phones (3, Informative)

Timothy Hartman (2905293) | about 5 months ago | (#47500957)

I shop specifically for a phone that doesn't have terrible software, or can take Cyanogenmod. The S3 had laughably bad software, which I replaced immediately after getting my free Dropbox space. I got a Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 and without Cyanogenmod it just sits.

Bennet should have enough sense to buy a decent phone even if getting a cheap one. Most complaints in the article could be solved by replacing the keyboard and messaging apps. Screen capture is pretty easy via app also. What's more, after penning the first article about getting a terrible phone, wouldn't a rational human being not get another terrible phone or at least return it within the two weeks when it is painfully apparent they made a mistake?

To all the people modding these types of posts up (0, Redundant)

the_humeister (922869) | about 5 months ago | (#47500875)

Please stop. They're annoying.

Re:To all the people modding these types of posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500921)

That's kind of insulting to the submitter. You can easily just skip this article.

Re:To all the people modding these types of posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501005)

That's kind of insulting to the submitter.

Good. You gonna go cry to your mommy about it?

Re:To all the people modding these types of posts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501209)

The submitter deserves to be insulted.

Re:To all the people modding these types of posts (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#47501253)

Nobody's modding them up, I think ol' Bennett and Timmy have some sort of quid pro quo agreement going on.

Probably has something to do with blowjobs. How else would these masturbatory B.S. BH blog posts, which obviously annoy the living shit out of the majority of the people commenting here, keep making their way to the feed?

Somebody should kick Bennett the $10 needed to register a domain so he can blog like a normal douche-nozzle and stop treating Slashdot like his own personal soapbox. I'll bet masterdouche.net is probably still available.

News for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500883)

I'm a cheap bastard and I want affection.

Isn't this Apple's entire shtick ? (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 5 months ago | (#47500893)

I mean say what you want about their current products, but their entire deal has been putting software on devices that for the vast bulk of users doesn't suck.
So you want to go around saying things like

 

raise more interesting questions — about why the free-market system rewards companies for pulling off miracles at the hardware level, but not for fixing software bugs that should be easy to catch

Well it does reward companies for doing just that. What the author really wants to complain about is either his inability/lack of desire to do basic research before buying a piece of crap phone (How free markets punish people for not making informed decisions) or That LG isn't sufficiently punished for doing what he things is a bad job. The latter is a case of his overgeneralizing what he feels is important to what everyone else feels is important.

edits thank you slashdot for no edit system (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 5 months ago | (#47500913)

Should not be part of the quote

Well it does reward companies for doing just that. What the author really wants to complain about is either his inability/lack of desire to do basic research before buying a piece of crap phone (How free markets punish people for not making informed decisions) or That LG isn't sufficiently punished for doing what he things is a bad job. The latter is a case of his overgeneralizing what he feels is important to what everyone else feels is important.

Re:Isn't this Apple's entire shtick ? (1)

Xest (935314) | about 5 months ago | (#47501057)

Right and it's the same with equivalent cost Android phones too, but the problem here is that he's bought a cheap crappy device and decided to complain that it's cheap and crappy.

He wants iPhone/High end Android quality at budget Android price, which is stupid.

Re:Isn't this Apple's entire shtick ? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 5 months ago | (#47501177)

For the price, you can buy a Nexus 5 and get vastly superior software from a stock ROM.

The boggling thing is that from a development perspective, it takes way more effort to have one crappy codebase and have a good codebase. Why not just have one *good* codebase? These problems don't seem to hamper the G3.

Re:Isn't this Apple's entire shtick ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501187)

Can't you read? The argument: is why does the software have to suck? If you buy a Pentium, or an i3 or an i7 and put Fedora on each of them you don't have to expect that the software on the Pentium breaks in magical ways that the other two do not. (Well maybe you would if Intel segements their low end so much that whole groupings of instruction sets are missing...) I think the question is valid. The nuance of the answer, in that the phone maker has no incentive to do legitimate QA or release software updates is also probably understandable.

Quality assurance (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#47500967)

The reason is simple. Software is getting more complex and featureful, but companies are not investing enough to get a matching amount of quality assurance.

Re:Quality assurance (1)

DidgetMaster (2739009) | about 5 months ago | (#47501085)

...And why don't companies spend as much time and money making sure the software is working? It is because no one wants to pay for software anymore. We will shell out big bucks for fast processors, flashy screens, tons of memory and disk space...but we want complicated software for ZERO dollars. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of open-source software and it can be a good business model, but when there is no money to be made in good software development anymore, why are we surprised when its quality is low on the priority list for companies that make it.

Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500991)

http://get.cm/

you're (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47500993)

"The phone's auto-correct changes single-quotes to double-quotes in contractions -- for example, when you type you're, the phone auto-corrects it to you"re ."

That's because your spelling it wrong.

Opinions (1)

neghvar1 (1705616) | about 5 months ago | (#47501017)

If you say so. However, I got rid of the stock OS and installed CyanogenMod and am very pleased with its performance. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Buy a bad phone, what do you expect? (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about 5 months ago | (#47501051)

If you want a good lg phone, buy a Nexus 5 without a contract (~$350) and get monthly plan with unlimited everything plan ~$45.

Vendor Software (4, Insightful)

Drew M. (5831) | about 5 months ago | (#47501061)

There's an easy solution.

ONLY buy phones that receive updates from your OS creator, not from a 3rd party manufacturer hackjob who will leave you high and dry with bugs and old software.

So this ends up being ONLY a Nexus device, any Iphone, or any Windows Mobile phone.

I've seen it time and time again, even Samsung can't get the software bugs out of their S-line phones, and other vendors like HTC and LG are much much worse. My boss complains all day and night about the bugs on his LG G2, and my Nexus 5 which runs basically the same hardware is great on all counts.

Android is terrible, nothing new to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501095)

Buy a cheap phone, you got what you paid for. Android is awful, so you have to take that bitter pill already. The entire choice of cell phones out there is basically "Nice iPhone, not-so-bad Samsung Galaxy phone, maybe-not-too-bad-Nexus, and a bunch of other OEM trash running Android that will never be updated"

Basically the people selling you the phone earn larger commissions if you buy shittier products.

Dude, you bought an Android. What did you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501115)

With android phones, the phone manufacturers along with the carriers will ship out a ROM that barely works, then completely abandon it a month after initial release.

You expected bug fixes and security updates? Ha! Sorry. If you wanted security updates and bug fixes, you might as well have bought a PC or an iPhone. The only device updates you are going to see with android phones are ones pushed by the carriers to add more bloatware. They are hoping you'll simply buy a new phone 2 years from now, and the new phone will contain the bug fixes you want.

This is delicious (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#47501127)

He bought a cheap phone, and is upset that it is poor quality. If it were anyone but Bennett Haselton, I wouldn't believe they were serious. This quote is especially delicious:

I think people vastly overestimate the ability of the free market to meet consumer demand, in cases where the demand is for something that can't be easily quantified.

Oh no sir, the market filled your demand perfectly here. You asked for a cheap phone, and that's exactly what you got.

What. A. Doofus (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 5 months ago | (#47501129)

He takes an (1) example of a company with obviously poor QA, and turns it into a critique of the free market. ? Sorry, but to make this argument stick, you'd have to show that ALL (or, at least, most) of the companies selling phones operate under this MO. Additionally, you'd have to show that these same problems wouldn't plague a product line in a regulated market scenario. Good luck.

The Free Market Was Trying to Tell You Something (1)

glennrrr (592457) | about 5 months ago | (#47501257)

When it priced this phone as the cheapest one in the store. When I go to Lowes and I see the cheapest screwdrivers, I know they aren't going to last. Thanks for the heads up free market.

Not that I want to comment on a BH rant (1)

Formorian (1111751) | about 5 months ago | (#47501141)

But why buy a phone without looking at reviews? Potentially looking at xda if there is a community for it? I once had a real cheap android phone, but because of XDA, got more space, and had it running much faster/better then the way it came.

I'm not saying that XDA route is for everyone, but you're posting on a Tech type website about this. You would think you would at least do the bare minimum research before dropping what $280+ for this? (that's min with out contract that I saw, most of times it was 300-400)

But I mean did you want a full blown hardware keyboard? Cause a 16gb Nexus 5 is only $350, new. I'm sure there are some other models out there that are cheaper but better then your complaints.

I mean if you really want a hardware keyboard, you really don't have many options because they aren't that popular. Plus with the Google swype thing built into the software keyboard, I type way faster doing that then with a hardware keyboard. Takes like 5 minutes to get used to it.

You suppose too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501145)

You can discern between shoddy work and just plain cheapness much more than the average buyer can. To them it's just "doesn't work, let's get something different". In fact, I don't think they finesse the result all that much. It's more of a "let's fill this slot" type of thing. You know, a bunch of executives hearing from marketeering that there's a market slot to fill, and ordering something to fill that. The hardware development analogue to "it compiles, ship it".

As another example, I got myself a nokia E52 to replace the 6310 I had been using up until then. I still have the sodding thing but it no longer works due to aggravating the user too much, and certainly is no longer in use. I'm back with the 6310, because as little as it does, at least it does so acceptably most of the time; it actually works and it's not outright trying to kill me. Not so much the E52, even though it has a much longer list of ticked features. The thing is, most features only work in really limited senses, just enough to tick that box and not enough to actually work. I can't be bothered to do a write-up or even dig up the list I once compiled of all the crap it pulled. Suffice to say that nokia is now thorougly dead to me. But the bigger point is that the E52 is supposed to be an enterprise model. Ought to work, right? Well, no.

What I now rather want is, say, a phone with all the interfaces of the 6310, it can be a 6310 for all I care because that design is pretty solid, though more modern, energy-saving, and thinner hardware would be welcome, as would a dual-sim feature and usb charging. But most important it should come with open source everything. That includes open source hardware for long term supportability, open source case design because 3d printers are a thing these days, open source firmware on the radio interface so that all those hidden holes and outright factory built-in security problems can get fixed, and open source firmware so I can customise menus and do new and exciting things with the available hardware. Such as using it as a remote (it has an IR interface), or tether it to a laptop for uplink, or hey, fax, why not, or perhaps use it as a bluetooth dongle, or turn two of them into a bluetooth-based walkie-talkie set, or whatever else I might want to do with it. Maybe the hardware is fast enough to do voice crypto but at least I'd want close control over which radio interface is talking to the world, when. I want the thing to serve me to its fullest potential, not be a vehicle for a telco to squeeze a few extra bucks out of me. Because I'm indeed a nerd and/or geek and it's just saddening how little actual use you get out of all this programmable but closed source hardware.

So it's come to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501147)

You're holding a device in the palm of your hand that has access to the entire history of human knowledge, but you still find a way to complain about it??? Fuck off people. An asteroid needs to come and give us the dinosaur treatment.

Those complaints aren't about telephone features (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 5 months ago | (#47501153)

Telephones are devices that let you speak to someone (tele-, far; and phone-, sound).

The real mystery is why anyone who has the slightest clue about technology, would buy or wish to use a computer that runs software you cannot control or replace. Even the TRS-80 let you shut off the built-in Microsoft BASIC ROM, and the Apple ][ let you run something other than Integer BASIC. These allegedly "smart" so-called "telephones" seem quite brain-dead.

Stick with stock android (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 5 months ago | (#47501181)

on low end phones and you will have the fewest issues.

Solution: (1)

Parker Lewis (999165) | about 5 months ago | (#47501191)

Moto G on them!

A fool and his money... (1)

GweeDo (127172) | about 5 months ago | (#47501223)

T-mobile's site says that phone is $324 full retail price. You can get a Moto G for $199 or a Moto X for $299. If you bought that phone you simply didn't do any research.

WELL, OBVIOUSLY, YOU ARE HOLDING IT WRONG !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501229)

And therein lies your problem- YOU !!

Hrmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47501235)

I rather like my AT&T-supplied E970.

hardware differentiates, software doesn't (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#47501237)

The subject line isn't actually true, of course. It's the package as a whole on which users generally base their decisions. But I suspect that people in decision making capacity in companies who's primary product is hardware tend to think in these terms. Hardware needs to be cool and compact and capable because that's what differentiates this new model from last year's model or from competitors' models. Software is just... stuff that you use. It's overhead, a necessary evil. And much more likely to be outsourced. For a manufacturer of phones, hardware is their core business, software gets relegated to the LCC (least cost country) and there is a presumption that the customer base will serve as unpaid QA, so funding for testing is an afterthought. And so, the products are cool looking and suck to use.

Some companies try to differentiate on software, and tend to do a better job, but even then, you can get stubborn "we know better than you" decisions that detract from the user experience.

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