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Vodafone Backs Down In Row With Android Users

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the matchmaker-matchmaker-shut-up-shut-up dept.

Communications 106

jhernik writes with this excerpt from eWEEK Europe: "Vodafone has backed down in the face of angry opposition from Google Android customers, who last week received a software update thinking it contained Android 2.2, but instead found it contained Vodafone's branded 360 service. The Vodafone 360 service was launched in October last year. Essentially, Vodafone 360 is a user interface that puts social networking on the front screen of the phone, and arranges the users' contacts so you can reach any person with a phone call, IM, text or other call — or send a location message to meet up. However it also installs irremovable Vodafone-branded apps and bookmarks, including links to dating sites."

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Dating Sites preinstllaed on the phone... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33249846)

...lead to more usage of data sites with the SO picks it up and goes "Honey, why is Match.com on your phone?"

Whoever thought of this was a total idiot.

Re:Dating Sites preinstllaed on the phone... (4, Funny)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249950)

2 marketing executives are sitting in an office :

ME1: So I guess this Android thing is getting popular with the geek demographic.
ME2: Can can make some money off of that ? We need an angle.
ME1: Dude, these guys look like couldn't get laid in a monkey whorehouse carrying a bag of bananas.
ME2: Get me match.com

Re:Dating Sites preinstllaed on the phone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33249962)

ME1: Dude, these guys look like couldn't get laid in a monkey whorehouse carrying a bag of bananas.
ME2: Get me match.com

ME1: Didn't you hear me? I said they couldn't get laid in a monkey whorehouse carrying a bag of bananas.

Re:Dating Sites preinstllaed on the phone... (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249994)

ME1: Didn't you hear me? I said they couldn't get laid in a monkey whorehouse carrying a bag of bananas.

On the internet nobody knows you're a dog [unc.edu] (or a monkey.)

Hmmm... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33249850)

Yet another company that should pay me to be their CEO of common sense.

Most companys need someone like that to help them NOT do things that piss off all their customers. Yet no company has one it seems.

Re:Hmmm... (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250012)

Indeed, for a short while I had a Motorola backflip. I liked the hardware in general, although the battery was a bit on the weak side, but the deal breaker was all those damned AT&T apps that came installed. Not only were they installed, but you couldn't remove them without doing some serious hackery to the phone. They wasted space and resources on the device and seemed to suck up RAM permanently. I had similar issues with my Sony vaio. That was one of the worst QA fails I can remember in quite a while, as soon as that laptop booted up for the first time it was immediately running extremely slowly because PC-cillin was taking up 99% of the processing time and it was installed by default with no way to avoid doing so until after you managed to bring up the task manager.

It should be common sense, really, that not loading your device up with crap would be the way to keep customers, but businesses don't care enough and in the US the government doesn't force them to care either. Sure you'd spend more money and devices tend to in areas with more active regulators, but it's ultimately cheaper than having to replace a device that doesn't work because of crapware.

Re:Hmmm... (1, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250606)

It should be common sense, really, that not loading your device up with crap would be the way to keep customers, but businesses don't care enough and in the US the government doesn't force them to care either.

Well, for a lot of users, the crap is actually considered vital software.

"What, you don't have Norton McAfee VirusBuster 2000? Don't you know that makes you vulnerable to random monkey attacks? Look, it says so right here in this email that somebody forwarded to me. Sending you a copy right now. Make sure you run the .EXE file for a full explanation."

Re:Hmmm... (2, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250962)

I made the same mistake. My contract was up at a time when AT&T had just gotten their first Android phone - sign me up.

It had the same thing as this Vodaphone garbage, "Motoblur", a bloatware suite that is essentially just a package of widgets and apps that you can't uninstall and which deliver social networking content straight to the handset without having to use those well-designed specialty apps.

Eventually I got sick of that phone's random reboots, slowness, and other software issues. I've never hated a phone so much I bought a new one outright but... Yuck.

Sounds like Motorola's crappy "MOTOBLUR" (2, Insightful)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251392)

As a "CLIQ with MOTOBLUR" victim, I also have a bunch of non-removable shovelware on this thing - plus Motorola appears to have removed certain basic functionality from the stock Android.

And don't get me started on their indefinitely delaying the long-promised update out of the Android 1.5 pit in order to "optimize the user experience in some key areas".

Re:Hmmm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33250540)

You seem to be under the misperception that companies want you to like them.
While this may be true in a competitive free market, where a customer can easily switch to a competitor with a better deal, it is not always the case.

In a market with little competition, or with significant barriers to switching to competitors (contracts, investments that are tied to one supplier, etc), how much you dislike a company is a decent measure of how much money they are extracting from you for a given level of service. If you can't leave, and yet you don't hate them, that means they are wasting money by giving you too much and/or not charging enough.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251192)

Oblig. movie reference:

"There is only one CEO of the company... only one he can bend to his will; and he does not share power!"

* Yes, the CEO is subject to the board of directors, who are (theoretically) subject to the shareholders. That's why they get the big salaries, stock options, and golden para-- er, severance packages.

Re:Hmmm... (2, Informative)

rawler (1005089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252448)

Rory Sutherland touched this subject earlier of Ted. The 12-minute talk is here; http://www.ted.com/talks/rory_sutherland_sweat_the_small_stuff.html [ted.com]

Many nice observations there, but instead of ruining it for everybody by trying to rephrase them, just spend 2 minutes and watch the beginning. You'll likely watch the rest too. ;)

Backs down = (4, Informative)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249856)

Just in case you're wondering like me how they back down ...
FTFA:

Following the complaints, Vodafone backed down and said it would now offer an update without the Vodafone-branded applications.

“Instead, in future we will offer customers two updates. The first will be a rollout of vanilla Android 2.2, once we have carried out appropriate testing to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems on our network or handsets.”

Re:Backs down = (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249884)

And this is why my phone isn't a smart phone.
Any convenience or value provided by these devices, is never going to be worth placing myself in someone's walled garden.

Re:Backs down = (3, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249908)

Or you could get a non-proprietary like the Nokia n900.

Re:Backs down = (4, Insightful)

Briareos (21163) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249948)

Or you could get a non-proprietary like any Android phone NOT sold by the carrier directly.

At least that's how it works here in Europe; dunno if the US has caught up with the times yet - do you still have no SIM cards?

Re:Backs down = (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249988)

AT&T uses SIM cards.

Re:Backs down = (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250028)

Actually, in the US most carriers use SIM cards. The exceptions are Sprint and Verizon which are both CDMA carriers. As far as I know, all the GSM carriers in the US use SIM cards. And if you're smart you get a SIM card and then buy a pay as you go card when you go traveling outside the US.

It doesn't do you a lot of good, since the carriers haven't standardized their spectrum. Which is fine for voice as that is standard, but 3G isn't going to work without the carrier specific support. Around here T-Mobile uses the European equipment and AT&T uses a different part of the spectrum for whatever reason. Meaning that if you want to take your phone with you to the other carrier you're giving up 3G.

Re:Backs down = (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250064)

AT&T is using the same part of the spectrum as Rogers and Bell in Canada, as well as several carriers in South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Rogers got their spectrum license early. Way before it looked like most of the carriers in Europe would be using a different spectrum. Bell is using the same spectrum because they were late to the game and have a tower sharing agreement with Rogers.

And the part which answers your question... AT&T was part owner of Rogers 10 years ago. Most likely, they bought into that spectrum in the US at the same time as Canada because they wanted to be able to buy the same equipment for both brands and take advantage of economies of scale.

Re:Backs down = (1)

Cougar Town (1669754) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250582)

Bell has a tower sharing agreement with Telus, not Rogers. Both companies worked together to provide a 3G HSPA network compatible with Rogers using the same bands. This makes it easy for them to grab Rogers customers. "Hey, you don't even need a new phone, just c'mon over!"

Re:Backs down = (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#33256246)

You'd be surprised how much tower sharing is actually happening between Bell and Rogers. Partly it's just to save on real estate: Bell buys the land for a tower in town X, Rogers does it in town Y, and both locations have antennas for both companies, but there's a fair amount of signal sharing that happens as well, especially now that Bell is switching over to GSM-based technologies.

It's not an accident that Bell chose the same data frequencies as Rogers. But I think your reasoning is backwards... Bell's HSPA/GSM network isn't fully unveiled. At home, I have 3 bars of signal from Rogers. When I put a Bell SIM in my phone, I have... Roaming! The phone has no CDMA chip in it, and so I can't get into Bell's old CDMA network, and only have coverage in big cities. And it's not that Bell has no coverage in the area, because my parents have a Bell CDMA phone and get 5 bars. When I put my Rogers SIM in their phone, I get those same 3 bars of GSM coverage.

Re:Backs down = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33250090)

but if ur go on 3 network u get free msn and skype and u keep 3G :) go on 3 pay as you go

Re:Backs down = (5, Insightful)

Night64 (1175319) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250316)

That is the problem with the whole "regulation is bad" dogma. In Brazil telecom companies are forced to use the standards, in a way that I can freely hop between carriers at will. And my phone number is MY phone number. No matter what carrier I contract, my number goes with me. That's how a free market was supposed to work. Competition, folks.

Re:Backs down = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33251312)

That's an interesting contradiction in terms there. While I applaud the outcome of the regulations you cite in Brazil, regulated markets are hardly "free markets". If the market there was free, the odds that you would be able to move your phone number between carriers and have the same radio frequencies too is very low. What you've pointed out is that correctly regulated markets seem to work well for the consumer.

Re:Backs down = (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33256218)

Customer. Work well for the customer.

Re:Backs down = (2, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252634)

Except that the "regulation is bad" dogma worked. Verizon and Sprint are CDMA providers while GSM originally used TDMA. The marketplace in the U.S. chose CDMA as the winner because it worked better and wasted less bandwidth than TDMA. The folks making the GSM spec agreed, and the 3G version of GSM in Europe (UMTS) used wideband CDMA.

In fact you can probably thank CDMA in the U.S. and Japan for getting you UMTS and HSDPA as quickly as you got it. The CDMA carriers got 3G speeds almost two years before GSM. GSM had to scramble to develop and push out technology would could offer 3G speeds ASAP to remain competitive. What would the world have missed out on if the U.S. had initially forced all its carriers to use the GSM standard? Standards are fine (I think SIM cards are a great idea), but some competition between standards is also necessary to keep technological improvements coming.

People seem to think that GSM is some static, monolithic standard. It's not - it is constantly changing and improving. About the only thing that's still the same with GSM is the SIM card. It's been integrating new technologies into the spec as we find out from real-world use what exactly works better. The same is happening with LTE - rather than a strict standard which defines exactly what technology you must implement, it's focusing more on flexibility and interoperability regardless of the specifics each company chooses to implement. That way you keep competition alive, but phones are still able to interoperate. Kinda like TCP/IP and how the Internet works regardless of your specific hardware.

Re:Backs down = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33254500)

so now can you explain to us why gsm supported data earlier and why up to this point verizon and sprint still do not support simultaneous data and voice?

Re:Backs down = (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33256168)

Ehh, confusion because one of the groups chose a name of basic radio method for its marketing, again. And with some fairytales...

GSM still uses TDMA and will continue to do so (perhaps because it's a notably older standard? Which kinda implies relying on simpler method, simpler & cheaper phones, base stations, etc. - it proved fine in the end, seeing as GSM is the uberdominant one worldwide. Also in places not exactly known for much...governance, for starters). The US also has very strong GSM/TDMA presence, close to half - that's losing? (BTW, EV-DO uses both CDMA and TDMA; when understood properly, as radio method). There are places with UMTS compatible networks which never had GSM; the former is not strictly "3G GSM"

Now it gets better...
In fact, the US was quite late even with "their" 3G "CDMA" standard. South Korea was 1.5 year faster. Europe had first commercial 3G network launched even earlier than that, almost 2 years before US rollout. Exactly the opposite to what you claimed - so much for "scramble" - and I'm not sure what were you trying to say with Japan, their network is UMTS, not "CDMA"

Also, anybody is free to use "CDMA" network in large part of, say, Europe; those networks just get ignored, that's all. Interestingly, they have some notable uptake in South Korea and had some notable push in Iraq...weird, weird coincidence; oh well, competition in action, I guess.

(as a sidenote, I don't know how EV-DO could have been even considered 3G; that implies some focus on data apart from voice, certainly not dropping one type of connection to initiate the other)

At the end your are even confused what point you are trying to make - so which one is it, fragmentation of standards being good or glorious evolution within standard?

PS. Generally, expect to see GSM having long, long life after most "CDMA" or UMTS network will be shut down (when, in several years, anybody who cares about bandwith will have LTE) It's one of those "good enough" things, with nearly universal adoption.

Re:Backs down = (2, Informative)

MobyTurbo (537363) | more than 4 years ago | (#33254664)

That is the problem with the whole "regulation is bad" dogma. In Brazil telecom companies are forced to use the standards, in a way that I can freely hop between carriers at will. And my phone number is MY phone number. No matter what carrier I contract, my number goes with me. That's how a free market was supposed to work. Competition, folks.

My number goes with me, if I chose to, in the US too, I think the UK has this regulation as well. I'm not sure who's market you have in mind for that one.

Of course, the US happens to have a lack of standards, especially with regards CDMA vs GSM and the existence of two standards even for GSM 3g, that make keeping your actual phone, if it's a smartphone, difficult. (Even if you're switching from T-Mobile to AT&T with an unlocked phone, or vice versa, you're unlikely to be able to do better than EDGE speeds on your new carrier; and as for CDMA carriers, there is no such thing basically as an unlocked CDMA phone, and even if you hack one most CDMA carriers besides Cricket don't accept phones from other carriers on their network.)

Re:Backs down = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33251230)

Interesting definition of most.

Re:Backs down = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33251350)

My Verizon phone has a SIM card

Re:Backs down = (1)

EvilJoker (192907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252900)

Actually, in the US most carriers use SIM cards. The exceptions are Sprint and Verizon which are both CDMA carriers. As far as I know, all the GSM carriers in the US use SIM cards.

Not exactly. Short version is that yes, the GSM carriers use SIM cards, and CDMA carriers do not. (Europe is all GSM, hence all SIM)

However, in the US, there are only a few noteworthy GSM carriers- AT&T, T-Mobile, Cincinnati Bell, and SunCom (now part of T-Mobile). All the rest appear to be CDMA- including Verizon (including Alltel), Sprint, US Cellular, Cricket, Revol, and MetroPCS.

Re:Backs down = (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33256214)

Yeah, and only four-five noteworthy overall. Half of them GSM. With close to half of all subscribers.

Re:Backs down = (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250744)

I'm in Europe (the UK, to be precise). How do I get rid of the crap Orange branding, including un-uninstallable trial versions of games? The new OS - Froyo, aka v2.2 - is out for my phone. At least, it is for customers of some carriers, but not Orange. When's the Orange version coming out? A few weeks? Apparantly. Or will it be months. Before 2.3 comes out? Is 2.3 coming out? It's not very clear, is it?

Re:Backs down = (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251300)

Is it an HTC Desire? Google "leedroid", it's a hacker-made Android 2.2, but he does say Orange users need an unlock-code when upgrading the radio firmware... the hacker's also on Orange UK, so he might have some more info.

Re:Backs down = (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250966)

Or you could get a non-proprietary like any Android phone NOT sold by the carrier directly.

At least that's how it works here in Europe; dunno if the US has caught up with the times yet - do you still have no SIM cards?

That's not the problem, public awareness is. I've seem amazed comments along the lines of Google/Apple (or whoever) have come up with the revolutionary idea of selling a handset separate from service. But you've been able to by SIM-free phones in the US for years (I got mine from Amazon). People either haven't heard of the idea, or think that it's somehow illicit, like hacking, or owning a region-free DVD player.

Similarly, there's a lot of confusion over the difference between jailbreaking and SIM-unlocking.

Re:Backs down = (1)

Peganthyrus (713645) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253254)

Google tried to change this by selling the Nexus One direct to users (I have one of those and am very happy with it!) but this seems to have been a dismal failure, overall.

Re:Backs down = (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33254574)

Not yet. The big ones are at&t, sprint, t-mobile, and verizon. 2 use sim and 2 you have to get the phone programmed.

They are *ALL* going to LTE. So it should get better. But not for about 4 years.

Re:Backs down = (2, Informative)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250084)

Or you could get a non-proprietary like the Nokia n900.

Hear, hear -- the N900 is great!

Re:Backs down = (2, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250844)

Wassup N900 buddy? (^_^)/\(^_^)

It's good to be free!

Re:Backs down = (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#33257056)

How many apps are there in the Ovi Store, these days? Did it finally break the 100 mark?

Re:Backs down = (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258224)

I dunno, I don't use the Ovi Store much. All the good apps are in the community repos, the Lenny/Squeeze repos I can use on my chrooted Debian install, and the "garage" pages.

Re:Backs down = (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#33258526)

I know you can run vanilla Linux apps on N900 - e.g. OpenOffice - which sounds awesome on the surface of it... but I've seen the screenshots, and the UI looks awfully tiny and inconvenient to use on a touchscreen. So I wouldn't really count it the same as a native (Maemo) app.

Back when I was picking a smartphone, the lack of apps was largely what drove me towards Android - N900 was a better fit for practically anything else.

Re:Backs down = (2, Insightful)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251774)

And this is why my phone isn't a smart phone.
Any convenience or value provided by these devices, is never going to be worth placing myself in someone's walled garden.

An Android phone is no more 'inside someone else's walled garden' than an Ubuntu[1] PC is. You can accept the updates offered to you by your supplier, whether that's Vodafone or Canonical, if you want to. You don't have to. And you can install third party applications through the provider's repository, if you want to, but you don't have to. You can download them directly from third party suppliers and install them, or write them yourself and install them. In what way is this a 'walled garden'?

[1] Or Debian or SuSE or RedHat or, for that matter, Microsoft or Apple.

Re:Backs down = (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#33255128)

A PC running Ubuntu (or any other Linux distro) lets me:

1) Remove any app I do not want
2) Turn off services that are not needed so save RAM/CPU
3) Add third party repos
4) Install a different OS

I am pretty sure vanilla Android will let you do all of the above. Vendor or operator modified versions of Android often will not, and that is the problem.

Re:Backs down = (2, Informative)

netsharc (195805) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251276)

Ah, my HTC Desire runs a hacker-made Android 2.2 (google "leedroid"), installed using a hacker-made recovery mode (google "unrevoked3"). It runs great, any Vodafone customers reading this should try it.

Re:Backs down = (1)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251724)

Just in case you're wondering like me how they back down ...
FTFA:

Following the complaints, Vodafone backed down and said it would now offer an update without the Vodafone-branded applications.

“Instead, in future we will offer customers two updates. The first will be a rollout of vanilla Android 2.2, once we have carried out appropriate testing to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems on our network or handsets.”

The interesting thing is I have a Nexus One on my Vodafone UK contract. I got 2.2 over a month ago, and it is plain vanilla-flavoured FroYo with no social media nonsense or bookmarks I didn't add. I can't believe that the Desire is so different from the Nexus - similar hardware from the same maker - that rolling out plain 2.2 to the Desire would cause damage to Vodafone's precious network that rolling it out to the Nexus didn't do.

Most strange.

Revenge of the Nerd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33249862)

It was the 24th of June. As Richard drove into the mall's parking lot, he snickered at all the idiots waiting in line for the iPhone 4.
"Silly lamers," he said as his moped soared across the parking lot, like a rebel. "You can't even replace its battery." He strutted past the hundreds of people, proudly wearing his Tux shirt. He didn't glance, but he was sure everybody was staring at him with unabashed envy. If only they could be as cool as he was.
He went went into the mall, which was unusually empty even for a Thursday morning, and went into the Sprint store.
The lone salesperson there was fiddling with her phone and didn't even notice Richard until he coughed aloud. She straightened up, shoved her phone into her pocket, and smiled.

"Hi," Richard said before she could utter a greeting, "I'd like an HTC EVO 4G, please."
"Sure!" she said as the two went through the whole ordering process. As they waited for the computer to bring up Richard's account information, he decided now would be the best time to flirt with the cute young girl.
"So, I saw that you had an HTC EVO 4G as well," he said, sure to enunciate the name. "Isn't it... tubular?" She giggled at his use of slang.
"Actually," she said as she reached into her pocket," it's an iPhone 4." She proudly displayed it to him.
"What!" Richard ejaculated. "But the line's so long!"
"I reordered it and actually got it in the mail yesterday." She beamed as she fiddled with it.
"But you work for Sprint."
"Yeah, but it's just a job. I'm not married to Sprint. Of course, if there were people actually in the mall, I'd probably get in trouble for taking this out out in the open."
"But, it doesn't have 4G."
"Yeah, but it's not like we have 4G in this city anyway. You wouldn't believe how many angry customers return when they realize that. One even threw the phone right at me once! Can you believe that?" She laughed as she told the anecdote.
"But, you can't replace its battery!" The salesperson, Shawna according to her name tag, began to look a little impatient.
"I don't care. It's not like I ever needed to replace my old iPhone's battery."
"But the OPENNESS! Google's openness!"
"Oh, look! It's done! So, why don't we get you set up with that Evo 4?"
"It's HTC EVO 4G!" Richard yelled as he grabbed her hair and slammed her face into the glass where other dusty Android phones lay. "Why don't you stop being a stupid bitch and get a real phone!"
"You asshole!" she said as she rubbed her forehead. "Get the fuck out of here before I call security!"
"They won't help you because I'm going to rape you now!" He said as he began to unzip his pants with one hand and reach for her breast with the other. She growled as she swatted his hand away and kicked him right in the nuts. He fell to his knees. He was shocked that his plan to rape a stupid moronic brainless iPhone user, which he had worked on for years, wasn't working as well as it was on paper.
"Security!" she shrieked. Two burly men with batons ran to the commotion and saw the young blonde woman with clenched fists stand over the waifish greasy nerd with the Tux shirt and OpenMoko.

At last, Richard had finally found a group of intelligent friends. As the four nerds got their asses pounded in the prison shower by men who had no interest in iPhones or Androids or Flash, the boys recounted stories of how the women they attempted to rape because they used iPhones and not Droids were totally stupid and brainless and clearly on Steve Jobs' cock. At least they did until they had cocks in their mouths, squirting in their asses, on their faces, down their throats.

Re:Revenge of the Nerd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33249880)

That's as well written as a Harry Potter slash fic.

Re:Revenge of the Nerd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33250118)

Cool story, bro.

Re:Revenge of the Nerd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33250220)

Reading the last paragraph I realized what this is actually about. You are one of these guys that usually posts about/for GNAA here, right.

Re:Revenge of the Nerd (1)

valeo.de (1853046) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251156)

Dude, when one sits at home on the weekend, writing fiction (with utterly shite grammar btw) involving the iPhone, beating women and rape, one knows that it's time to get some help, get out of that basement and get a life.

And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (5, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249874)

This shows once again that the little bit of a subsidy the network gives is never worth it.

Remember lads this is in the UK where all networks offer good SIM-only plans and prepaid doesn't suck ass like it does in the States.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250018)

And it takes the price of a smartphone through the roof.

(Disclaimer: I always try to buy unlocked)

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33250180)

True... but I think it is worth it.

Here in the UK, I got my N1 (with a spare battery) for 370GBP.
Steep outlay, but I negotiated a SIM only deal with my carrier for 10GBP/month.
This includes unlimited text messages, and "unlimited" internet (3GB fair use rule).
If you keep it over a couple of years, the deal starts to even out.

The benefits are that I got Froyo OTA a month back, and it isn't neutered in any way - so I can use the wifi tethering feature, and cancel my separate USB broadband stick. Needless to say, these isn't any crapware from the carrier pre-loaded on to it.
 
I am surprised that I can't uninstall the preloaded Amazon MP3 app, though. Spotify all the way.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

donatzsky (91033) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252148)

I am surprised that I can't uninstall the preloaded Amazon MP3 app, though.

Titanium Backup should be able to do it.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

happydan (948604) | more than 4 years ago | (#33257268)

Where did you get this? I've looked for unlocked N1s and Expansys sells them for over £500...

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33250188)

Err, no it doesn't. The UK pays the price up front and not in elevated contracts, if you want to. There is the option of doing it like the US if you're too poor to buy a device up front.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33251088)

And it takes the price of a smartphone through the roof.

You mean, "it takes the price of a smartphone somewhere near where it would be if you weren't paying through the nose for it via higher call / data charges"

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#33255138)

You will still pay the same price, its just spread out over your bill. Its like buying something an a credit card and paying the bill off over the next year: you pay less up front, but you end up paying a lot more in total.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

DrScotsman (857078) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250072)

Back in 2006, I made the mistake of buying a Nokia N70 from Orange. Now let's skip the debate as to whether or not the N70 continues Nokia's trend of excellent user interfaces. What's certain is that the "Orange Homescreen" was a LOT worse than the options that Nokia offered - just Google it and you'll see what I mean. There was an option to disable it (which required a reboot), but guess what, if you rebooted after that then it just brought itself back.

The solution I found on the Internet at the time was to tell the N70 to report itself as an N70 Music Edition, and then the Nokia firmware updater would gift you a nice clean non-Orange firmware. Far too much effort (and risk) for the standard user.

Luckily I am also British, and as the parent says I don't have to deal with this. The networks offer decent SIM-only plans direct, but you can also find resellers who will sell you a contract with a phone and an amount of cashback - the cheaper the phone you choose, the more cashback, meaning if you choose the Nokia 1208 (and sell it on for £9) then you've got a really good SIM-only deal.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (3, Insightful)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250086)

To me, this shows we need a truly open distribution of Android that isn't controlled by any company. i.e., the Debian of Android. Debiandroid?

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (2, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253268)

Debiandroid?

Hmm. Not very catchy. How about Debbidoesandroid?

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 4 years ago | (#33254392)

Here you go [cyanogenmod.com]

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

Nivag064 (904744) | more than 4 years ago | (#33255524)

Droidian ?

Dedroid ??

Dedroidian ???

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (2, Interesting)

DMoylan (65079) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250132)

i do buy unlocked phones. and used to use vodafone sims on prepay here in ireland. till they changed their prepay service so that pages i browsed had shitty vodafone links and logos at the top. rang to ask how to turn the crap off and was told you couldn't so threw the sim away.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (2, Informative)

grumling (94709) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250320)

Lucky you can do that in Europe. Here in the US, every carrier (save one, which I'll get to) is more than happy to provision your unlocked phone. But if you want to get an unlimited data plan, you have to sign a contract. The contract-free plans are horrible for data, in one case almost $5.00/day. And they don't give you a break on the contract if you have a phone, so you might as well get the cheapest phone with the offer and add on stuff later.

Verizon's billing system won't let you add anything to a plan unless your phone supports it. I have no idea what they would do with an unlocked phone, but they do say they support them. It isn't as simple as installing a SIM card though.

T-Mobile is the one beacon of hope. They have re-done their plans to look more like the European model. If you pay upfront for the phone (or buy one unlocked), you save money on service (and no contract). The only problem is that they use an oddball frequency plan that isn't compatible with anything else on the planet (thanks, FCC). So my Galaxy-S wasn't available unlocked, so I had to buy it from them, with their custom version of the Samsung custom Android firmware. I'm hoping there will be a plain vanilla build that will work with Samsung/T-Mobile firmware, but realistically it hasn't done anything I don't like other than clutter up my applications screen with a few things that can't be removed through rooting.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33250820)

If you have root you should be able to remove whatever you want. Titanium backup is great for this.

T-Mo prepay means no data plan, period (1)

SpammersAreScum (697628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251352)

That's the other problem. I bought my unlocked phone, bought a T-Mo prepay plan and SIM. But T-Mo assured me there is no way I can get any data plan with that prepay.

data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252768)

Boost prepaid has data for 35 cents a day, either with their iden network phones, or cdma. They have cheap and dumb phones all the way to expensive smartphones. No long term contract required. Same as the more expensive guys, reasonable use up to five gigs a month, although advertised as unlimited. I am not aware of anyone kicked off yet for going over that, but it might have happened.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

Brian the Bold (82101) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252426)

Well, that's as maybe, but in this case I found that the cost of a SIM free Desire and then 2 years of a SIM only contract was about 180 GBP more than the cost of a 2 year contract plus a Desire from Vodafone.

When I bought the phone, before signing on the dotted line I asked specifically about the branding aspect of the software and was told that it was essentially unbranded but with one "scene" (home screen wallpaper/icon/layout) that was not even set as the default. I was also told that Vodafone would not be changing this in the future, the staff in the Vodafone shop also told me that they disliked the heavily branded phones because an increasing percentage of their customers were telling them that this would be a deal-breaker for them.

In addition to this, a joint press release from HTC and Vodafone at 3GSM stated clearly that only the HTC Legend was going to have the Vodafone 360 applications on it by default because it was seen as a "differentiated experience" and was not being treated like the other HTC Android phones.

There is also the small matter in the UK of the Sale and Supply of Goods Act which states that goods must be fit for purpose and of merchantable quality, this means that a firmware update that badly affects the function of the phone as this one did will form part of the reason why it can be rejected and the vendor expected to sort out the mess they have caused.

Luckily for me, I did not apply the update because I read about the disaster before my phone notified me of the update. I also knew that an Android version increment will mean a major version increment of the software, as soon as I saw that this was still a 1.x version I knew that it wasn't Froyo!

So, Vodafone have contradicted their stance at sale time, and they are not allowed to do that when the information given at the time formed part of the contract of sale. The phone actually becomes the purchaser's property immediately, the contract is for airtime, and while it may recover the subsidy on the phone it does not mean that the network still owns the hardware with the exception of the SIM card.

This is an important victory, but there will need to be some vigilance to ensure that they don't try to roll the 360 apps into any future Froyo bug fix releases, in fact the simple solution is one that has already been taken, putting the Vodafone 360 apps in the Android Market for those that want them and then they can be removed without needing root access.

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

EvilJoker (192907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252982)

It depends- I have the Motorola Droid on Verizon. It runs vanilla Android (about to get Froyo) and Verizon is contractually bound (by Google) to not pull any of that shit. Therefore, the subsidy (if you can call it that) is worth it in this case.

Unfortunately, I do not believe any other Android phones in the US have such protection (and all on AT&T are crippled).

Re:And this is why you buy unlocked/unbranded (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33255634)

Perhaps you shouldn't perpetuate this fallacy. Pre-paid is bloody expensive in the UK. The best deal I can get away with for somebody who uses their mobile lightly is £15/month, and quite frequently I'd bust that. Rogers in Canada is known for fleecing their customers, yet I used to a pre-paid credit of CAD$100/year (just over £5/month). This credit would last because my evenings and weekends plan (when I most use the phone anyway) was CAD$0.01/minute (about 0.62p/min). For work visits to the US, I would use a USD$100 credit on Cingular prepaid (now AT&T?), also valid for a year. Pre-paid in the UK is hideously expensive in my experience.

That said, my partner just got an a good monthly plan. She got a new Samsung Galaxy Europa with a reasonable plan for usage from Vodaphone for £15/month.

At what point isn't it a smartphone anymore? (4, Interesting)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249940)

If they're going to dictate mandatory apps and screen layout, that seems like it's moving away from a true smartphone and towards the realm of featurephone.

I can definitely see having some predefined layouts handy for new smartphone users who don't really know what to do next, but it seems to me that one of the biggest advantages of a smartphone is the ability to customize it for your own arbitrary uses, adding your own layout and apps. If wireless companies are going to start dictating layout and apps, that seems like a step backwards. These phones are going to keep getting more capable with every passing month, new hardware design, and OS release, and if anything the market for featurephones would seem like it ought to be shrinking (since a smartphone can completely replace a featurephone). At some point, it'll be easier to sell a smartphone with a predefined featurephone-like template for users who would prefer that - instead of developing separate featurephones.

Is it possible that someone at Vodafone simply doesn't quite understand this? I couldn't quite put my finger on what problem Vodafone 360 was designed to solve...

Re:At what point isn't it a smartphone anymore? (4, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249972)

I couldn't quite put my finger on what problem Vodafone 360 was designed to solve...

The cashflow problem.

These guys have 2 products: the phone which they sell to you, and you who they sell to their partners.

Re:At what point isn't it a smartphone anymore? (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250038)

Perhaps in general there ought to be laws against that. In the US it's absolutely ridiculous that Fair Isaac Co., thinks that it owns my credit score. They calculate it, but they do so in a relatively fixed way on my data. They don't ask or get a waiver, they just spy on everybody and then expect to be paid. Likewise computer and phone manufacturers include software by companies that pay them to install it, but don't ask permission of the people buying the items. Given how prevalent it's become and the lack of disclosure it's really tough to avoid for a lot of people.

Re:At what point isn't it a smartphone anymore? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250412)

"Vodafone is the world's largest mobile telecommunication network company, based on revenue, and has a market value on the UK FTSE of about £80.2 billion (August 2010), making it Britain's third largest company"

Seems like they're doing ok to me.

Re:At what point isn't it a smartphone anymore? (1)

jgreco (1542031) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250418)

I can see that possibility, though I idly wonder whether a dating site is going to be able to create sufficient volume... presumably they're paying some large sum to get screen real estate on every Vodafone (360) phone, but that seems like it'd need to be a rather big number, and what happens when the expense crushes the dating site because actual clickthroughs don't match projections? Or maybe Vodafone sells their customers for cheap. That doesn't quite make sense to me because I would expect that the profit might easily be offset by the support costs of answering to angry customers as to why they were locked in this manner... and that's what seems to have happened.

I'm not saying that you're not correct, I'm just saying that someone someplace ... miscalculated.

Re:At what point isn't it a smartphone anymore? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252396)

I couldn't quite put my finger on what problem Vodafone 360 was designed to solve...

The cashflow problem.

These guys have 2 products: the phone which they sell to you, and you who they sell to their partners.

Yes, and much of that crapware is there because the phone company is being paid by a third-party to put it there. It's just another revenue stream to them. This is one case where the user backlash was too strong and they had to back off, but they'll try again. They can't help it, they're born-and-bred moneygrubbers.

Could be worse, it's only hardware (4, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249960)

I'm on Three, and anyone who wasn't previously on their "Xseries" service*, and isn't willing to pay £5/month for that service, is subjected to a content block. The content block redirects objectionable sites like B3ta to Three's PPV porn portal. It's like a protection racket: "pay us £5 per month, or you might find yourself looking at porn instead of the site you wanted to go to".

*Long story involving their move from a walled garden internet service

Re:Could be worse, it's only hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33251110)

"pay us £5 per month, or you might find yourself looking at porn instead of the site you wanted to go to"

....and was your wife happy with that explanation?

Re:Could be worse, it's only hardware (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251362)

...and if you *want* to view porn on you phone?

So what happens if you refuse to pay? Do they browbeat you into changing your mind? And what did you decide to do?

Re:Could be worse, it's only hardware (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253636)

I've got a choice between occasionally being redirected to a porn site when I'm trying to get to a modestly distasteful geek comedy site, or paying an extra £120 over the duration of my contract. Right now I'm trying to convince them to waive the service charge and/or redirect me to a brick wall that's not covered in porno.

Re:Could be worse, it's only hardware (1)

Tobias Lobster (169833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33255800)

I was all ready to get fired up with righteous indignation, but I just tried visiting B3ta from my Three UK mobile and there was no issue.

I'm on a standard contract, never had Xseries, not paying the extra fiver. Want to list a few more sites you're having trouble with? I'll test them out here, could help getting unblocked for free if other customers aren't having the issue.

Re:Could be worse, it's only hardware (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 4 years ago | (#33255986)

The content block redirects objectionable sites like B3ta to Three's PPV porn portal.

"It's not a bug, it's a feature!"

Future Expansion (4, Interesting)

Arbition (1728870) | more than 4 years ago | (#33249980)

By the sounds of it, they haven't actually given the option to roll back to Vanilla 2.1, they just said, in fututre, the 2.2 will be available vanilla. Maybe they are expecting people to warm up to the "features" prior to the update?

Don't hold your breath... (2, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250182)

Vodafone don't care about firmware upgrades unless they can control the content.

I have an N900, admittedly a niche product, and they just stalled and stalled about putting newer firmware on it. I think they are currently 2 or 3 versions behind the latest, and they are unlikely to produce a newer version since they dropped the phone from their line up. They probably dropped it because they can't control it.

They intentionally make vague threats about installing vanilla firmware and losing your warranty. They refuse to clarify their position on the matter.

The only reason iPhone users get their upgrades on Vodafone is because Apple dictates what software goes on it through their contract.

Great. . . (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33250134)

Another day another android slashvert. How very fucking tedious.

Vodafone 'rogered' my mobile phone years ago... (4, Interesting)

brindafella (702231) | more than 4 years ago | (#33250400)

I keep telling this story **about** Vodafone, which cost me a **considerable** amount of money; and, they know it.

Quite a few years ago, not long after Vodafone arrived in Australia, I was sold a mobile plan with Vodafone using an existing handset. I inserted the Vodafone SIM, and the phone would not work. **I had not yet made one call!** The company's designated repairer agreed to have the phone "unlocked" and, weeks later, it was returned to me supposedly fixed.

I tested the phone in the store: The phone still did not work with Vodafone's SIM, but seemed to work with my old carrier's SIM. I gave it back to their designated repairer on the spot.

Weeks later the handset was returned to me and I was told that the phone was affected by water, and would cost over $1000 to fix; much more than the handset was worth, or could be replaced, even back then.

I pestered Vodafone for over a year, when they bothered to call to try to get me to pay their mounting monthly bills which I refused to pay. at the risk of repetition... **I had not yet made one call! (on Vodafone)**

My premise was that I would happily talk to their people, for hours in some cases, until I had used up the cost **of their time** that they had ascribed to my "bricked" phone (that Vodafone had "bricked".) And, I alays told them what I was doing; that I was using a headset with the phone when they rang me at work, and I was actually productive while they were not!

I regularly suggested that they buy me a new handset, which I would use with my existing Vodafone SIM. They refused. I would have used it, too! (Meanwhile, we had another handset with another company.)

Eventually, a senior manager from Vodafone who called me worked out -- in the midst of a long conversation -- that I really meant what I was saying, and "wiped" my bill. However, my parting shot to him was to say what I had said to his other people; that I would continue to tell this story ABOUT (and never 'against') Vodafone. After all, I do not want to get into any legal trouble by bad-mouthing such a prosperous company.

So, I just have told my story, again!

You decide.

Peter

Re:Vodafone 'rogered' my mobile phone years ago... (1)

valeo.de (1853046) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251310)

Sounds shitty. Everyone has operator horror stories, though. Myself, I've never had any problems with Vodafone in the five or so years I've been using them here in the UK. My old phones (all Sony Ericsson handsets) were branded, but not to buggery like they tried with the Desire. And on the rare occasions I had to deal with their customer service department, they were always very helpful and eager to resolve my (minor) issues as quickly as possible. I guess they saw me as a valuable customer... pits operators don't treat all of their customers this way.

O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Virgin on the other hand have all shafted me, cost me hundreds of pounds, wasted countless days (if not weeks!) of my time, leaving me to wish that one day they might die in a fire. ;)

"Open" is good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33251148)

And here I thought everyone bought Android phones because they liked openness.

Re:"Open" is good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252238)

No, we buy Android phones because we want to get a decent smartphone without paying a penny to that smirking douchebag in the black turtle-neck.

No suprise (1)

MSDos-486 (779223) | more than 4 years ago | (#33251972)

Just another instance of mobile phone companies (mostly service providers) thinking they know what their customers want.

Meteor Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252156)

I got a HTC Hero on the meteor network in ireland for a subsidised price when it came out, and thank god the phone came with the standard Android 1.5 firmware with HTC sense, there was not one bit of meteor branding or any other bloatware and junk on it, they rolled out the 2.1 update and again the standard firmware with no branding what so ever, this is the way it should be done. Give you the phone you want e.g Android smartphone, with no branding bloatware or geneal other junk on it and let you do what you want with it. I left vodafone about 2 years ago and Im delighted to have cause they are one of if not the worst network in ireland at least anyway.

How far away are we from customer unions? (2, Insightful)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252686)

I don't have to deal with Vodafone, but I get so much ridiculous crap from AT&T I've started to wonder how long before *customers* have to form unions to protect themselves from this sort of garbage. One person threatening to take their business elsewhere gets no notice, but if you could organize and get thousands of customers willing to "strike" together, maybe we could actaully have telcos that don't act like they're monopolies. I think a little bit of collective bargaining could really help us out on the monthly fees department too.

Re:How far away are we from customer unions? (1)

Velex (120469) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252906)

but if you could organize and get thousands of customers willing to "strike" together

It's called a boycott. Good luck with that. Seems only religious kooks are willing to do boycotts anymore.

Re:How far away are we from customer unions? (2, Interesting)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253398)

Boycotts are not quite the same thing. They're reactive instead of proactive. A company does something you don't like, and then you TRY to get enough people to care to boycott. I'm talking about organizing people beforehand and being very clear about what you don't want done.

Re:How far away are we from customer unions? (1)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 4 years ago | (#33254022)

Then isn't what you're asking for something along the lines of the eff? There are already consumer watchdogs, et al around that try to keep companies inline so what would yet another one add?

Vodaphone cheap and garbage philisophy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33256654)

I have always hated the crap Vodaphone installs on phones. 1) the bullsh*t is always unstable
2) it lags the official latest firmware
3) The default crap can not be removed

I hate them and their stupid firmware versions

Verizon BB users still stuck with Bing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33257048)

I'm amazed Verizon backed out. As far as I know, their BlackBerry users are still stuck with only having Bing in their browsers' quick search bars. (and an irremovable bing app/icon that they can only hide from their main screens to get rid of it)

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