Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Defective Phone

Scene 1: I wake up to my Motorola Q displaying nothing but a blank screen. The phone cannot turn on or off.

Scene 2: I spend 1/2 hour with my carrier's technical support. We manage to get the phone on Flash Mode. The agent instructs me to install Wireless Sync on my PC, and then download the SW Upgrade application from Motorola and also install it on my PC. I hang up... so far so good

Scene 3: I spend 1 hour trying to get my PC to recognize my Phone through the USB cable. I unistall/reinstall Wireless Sync twice. I give up and call tech support again.

Scene 4: Tech support can't help. They say the phone has to be completely on for Wireless Sync to detect it (duh)... They transfer me to Motorola tech support.

Scene 5: Agent asks me to replace the battery - the PC all of a sudden recognizes the phone! Begin flashing process... It stalls once... twice... three times... I finally ask the agent, what is the contingency plan here? He responds: "Uninstall Wireless Syn and SW Upgrade application; download them again and reinstall them... and IF that doesn't work... then it means YOUR PHONE IS DEFECTIVE"... hmm...

I'd like to add that I absolutely love the Q and that my overall experience with tech support wasn't all that bad. They were very nice, patient, and genuinely tried to help me. At the end of the day, I did as they agent said and for some miraculous act of who knows what, I was able to reflash my phone.

By the way, what do you think about the Motorola Q ?:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Welcome back Russ! (and mobilebuzz)

This being my first post in a while, I thought I would commemorate the occasion with a welcome to a fellow mobilite, Russell Beattie, who is back on the scene again too.

I attended last month’s Silicon Valley's MobileMonday at UC Berkeley. The most pleasant surprise was to see Russell Beattie present. I will post about what he talked about, which was mainly a plug (a very informative and well done one, by the way) for his latest venture Mowser.

Russ broke the ice with his BS-meter about mobile Web – which I found so true, so I thought I would post it here:

- “Users only care about x and y”
- “Users don’t need a, b, or c”
- “Networks are too slow” (my personal favorite)
- “Mobile Web is too expensive”

Russell synthesized the approaches to Mobile Web to the following three. The first is the “Dedicated” (all xHTML) approach, which is ubiquitous today. It has its limitations because it is not what we would expect as an Internet-like experience, but it is very good for mobile-specific functionality to complement other services (banks, weather, maps, etc.). Lastly, it is very easy to create applications using this approach. The problem: low-end mobile browsers. Not that I would call this a “problem” personally, but a way around the many limitations of feature phones, which is what the majority of consumers can afford today.

The second approach Russ named the “Internet of Phones” (smartphones, that is). This approach is possible thanks to next generation browsers, such as DeepFish (MSFT), the Nokia Mini Map, and the Access Netfront 3.5. There was mention of the iPhone browser, but by the way, most of us have yet to see and for all we know is nothing but vaporware – and as Russ cleverly mentioned, it will only operate in GPRS, at least at launch. The problem with this approach is that the PC experience is still too difficult to mimic.

The third approach is Widgets. Russ’ perspective: mobile widgets are difficult to find, they need to be downloaded and installed, there are steep learning curve for users, and take time to develop.

I will continue to comment on Russ’s extremely insightful presentation later (he spoke about Transcoding and obviously, For now, I close with the hopeful thought Russ will continue to honor us with more posts of his own, as he promised at MobileMonday.