Saved By My Own Post

A few months back, I posted how changing one setting fixed a multitude of problems on my Samsung Epix. On Sunday, my Epix (my 2nd one) died on me. I had to get a warranty replacement, which arrived yesterday. While setting up, I ran into all kinds of instability issues which had me ready to call AT&T’s warranty department and tell them that this warranty replacement would not be acceptable.

Then I remembered this post, in which I posted how unchecking ClearType fixed a lot of problems on my Epix. I went into the menu, and sure enough. ClearType was selected right out of the box. I unchecked it, and I don’t believe I’ve had to reboot since.

Windows Mobile phones are cool, and can do a lot. I’m less impressed with the platform every day though. Unless Windows Mobile 6.5 is a true revolution in stability and the user experience, I think the Epix will be my last Windows Mobile device. I’m tired of it.

I don’t believe that Apple really cares that much about you and me or any of their other customer, but they are much more obsessed with the user experience. I think Microsoft created an ecosystem in which all of the players are more worried about pleasing somebody other than the customer. Microsoft creates the operating system and some peripheral software (Windows Media Player Mobile, which has always sucked) and releases it to the hardware OEMs. That stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. (I used to build all my own computers, or at least throw some parts I bought together and installed Windows on it. Once I had a tech support rep get mad at me when I could not identify an OEM other than myself. She kept asking me if it was Dell or HP, and I said “No, I bought some parts and a copy of Windows at a computer show and slapped it together. I’m the OEM”. She couldn’t seem to understand that for some reason, and it had nothing to do with whatever I was calling about anyway.I think it might have had to do with this, which Comcast resolved.)

The OEMs build the hardware and write drivers and other software, and the telecommunications companies (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, whatever) make their changes before the devices can be sold to run on their networks.

I’m not sure which if any of these really spends much time thinking about the customer. Some of these manufacturers produce so many different models of Windows Mobile phones that I’m not convinced that any particular phone gets very much testing. I haven’t seen any evidence up to now that they do.

Whether or not Apple directly cares about the customer, there is one thing Apple is directly concerned with: their brand. Apple will work feverishly to produce a good user experience because that’s their brand. They sell high end computers. Microsoft, Dell, Samsung, HTC, etc sell enough products that they can make up in volume what they lack in quality. Apple has less volume, and they sell at higher prices, so they must produce more quality. I’m only lumping Microsoft in as a generality in this case, as they are a software company that mostly sells THROUGH hardware companies.

In any case, the last few software updates to the iPhone, plus the iPhone 3.0 announcement have just about persuaded me to jump platform.

I had a strange thought occur to me yesterday. Most people who have iPhones truly love them. I asked Tyler Florence at the Food and Wine Festival last year what he thought of his. He said “I LOVE my iPhone.” As a long time Windows Mobile user, I can’t say I see a similar response from myself or other Windows Mobile users. Obviously, the devices aren’t completely worthless, and there has to be a reason why we keep buying them, but we don’t buy them out of an affinity. It occurred to me that a Windows Mobile phone is sort of like a government job, or a job in a large, soulless corporation. When you ask most people employed by the government or by a large, soulless corporation how they like their jobs, you’ll get a response like “It’s interesting” or “The benefits are good”. Most government employees won’t respond with “I really love my job and I’m making such a difference in the world!” Nope, mostly it’s pay and benefits. Maybe not pay. But definitely benefits and job security. Similarly, most Windows Mobile users (or at least me) will respond to the question of how we like our devices with something like “Well, I can edit Word documents on it.” Of course, it’s been like 2 years since the last time I can remember needing to edit a Word document on my phone.

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