How do I hate Smartphone OSs; let me count the ways

How do I hate Smartphone OSs; let me count the ways

Summary: I've been trying out Hotmail's new Exchange ActiveSync on multiple smartphones today and it occurs to me that I hate all of them.Windows Mobile 6.

TOPICS: Windows

I've been trying out Hotmail's new Exchange ActiveSync on multiple smartphones today and it occurs to me that I hate all of them.

Windows Mobile 6.5 I'm like an ex-smoker on this one. I used to really quite like WinMo - especially on the Touch Pro 2 - especially with the wonderful Skyfire browser. I haven't liked a WinMo device since HTC took that back and this Toshiba TG01 I grabbed out of the pile is the pits. Beautiful, non responsive screen. I hit the Today icon and comment that yes, I did want it to load 'today'... I have Wi-Fi turned on, but ActiveSync still tries the 3G connection first every time, four or five times before it uses the faster connection. I am looking for an image; I scroll up and down the Start menu five times before I can pick out the icon for the picture viewer - it's like someone just vomited icons all over the screen. EAS does task sync and mail sync and contact sync and it would even do SMS sync if Hotmail supported it and it does sync one calendar - only one though.

Android Still. Not. Ready. I have two or three Android devices on my desk and I'm trying things on all of them. This gives me context whiplash because the interfaces are all subtly but importantly different. EAS doesn't do task sync at all on Android. On some devices I can't search any mail account except Gmail. On one device I can sync two calendars via EAS, on another I can only sync one. Everything I really like about Android is actually HTC specific (see: I loved my Touch Pro 2)

iPhone I hate you the most iPhone, and your little keyboard too. I just don't get on with iPhone. I type in the username wrong and it takes five attempts by two people to make it save the updated username. The context sensitive keyboard adds and removes symbols so typing the same thing in two fields is a completely different experience. It has the best EAS experience but using iOS itself makes me twitch; I would like MORE THAN ONE BUTTON PLEASE - I have more than one finger. And a physical keyboard, while I'm asking for the moon...

Palm I like Palm but only when I'm feeing patient; I like the notifications and the keyboard works much better than you think it's going to; it seems to read my mind even when my fingers hit the wrong teeny tiny key. Yes, I really like Palm, except when it autoconfigures things without asking and hides the manual option in the menu and I never know if there's going to be a menu on the page or not. And why when I feel patient? Well, it's pretty but it's slooooooooow. I tap an icon and watch the calendar loooooooaaaaaaad....

Nokia I switched on a Nokia phone the other day to see if I wanted to use it as my 'just for texts' phone for my other SIM. I turned it off again three minutes later after seeing the 'how about cancel' interface again.

BlackBerry I actually hate BlackBerry the least - that might be because I have lower expectations of the current OS and haven't tried 6 in anger yet. There are some great things about BlackBerry. It's like Palm but not slow, but the interface is showing its age and apps are less advanced. I love the keyboard and the battery life and the email sync that makes up for a *lot*.

Windows Phone 7 (I don't have one, but while I'm at it). It's so pretty! It's pretty! I want to play with it! I want to swipe my finger across it! I want it to have a nice keyboard! I want OneNote on a device that has a keyboard! But OneNote without copy and paste - indeed many of the apps I want a smartphone for - is no use to me. I don't know if smart information transfer will make me only miss copy and paste in OneNote (see: I don't have a phone to try yet), but I will miss it in OneNote enough that I think I just won't be able to love WP7 though I will try it out to find out (see: I don't have one yet). I know I'm a minority wanting copy and paste and that there isn't time to do everything; I'm not using the other platitude because actually I am *exactly* the target market for WP7; if it's not designed for people like me it *ought* to be.

So what phone am I using? At the moment, I have an HTC Desire for email and Google Maps, an aging Bold for text messages on my other SIM because the battery life is beyond awesome - and I use an VAOI P instead of a smartphone for everything I'd usually use a smartphone for.

I'm Mary. I've used a smartphone since the first SPV and currently I hate them all.

Topic: Windows

Simon Bisson

About Simon Bisson

Simon Bisson is a freelance technology journalist. He specialises in architecture and enterprise IT. He ran one of the UK's first national ISPs and moved to writing around the time of the collapse of the first dotcom boom. He still writes code.

Mary Branscombe

About Mary Branscombe

Mary Branscombe is a freelance tech journalist. Mary has been a technology writer for nearly two decades, covering everything from early versions of Windows and Office to the first smartphones, the arrival of the web and most things inbetween.

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  • Hello Mary. Thank you for your brave admission.
    Great article - it was helpful on the items I'm not familiar with, and it made me smile. I'm so pleased I'm not the only one who hates the iPhone. It will also make me sound very knowlegable as I intend to quote you next time I have to discuss mobiles (I work in IT so they tend to get discussed a lot).
  • I know someone who bought an iPhone because they're an Apple user generally, and because - well, x million users can't all be wrong. Well, maybe they are. This individual found it a real struggle to get accustomed to, it was unintuitive, and settings were difficult to find.

    Me - it just confirmed (as if I needed it) that, even if I approved of Apple's attitude to and assumption of zero intelligence of its end users (which I don't), I still wouldn't want an iPhone.
    Manek Dubash
  • Samsung's Galaxy Tab looks and sounds amazing if they could shrink that as is to phone size and not subtrack anything from it & still allow it to use the tab's accessaries, that would grab my attention and I dare say other's too.
  • This reminds me of how computers in general have traditionally claimed blazingly fast speed with each new model, when a more accurate description would've been "Not quite as slow as previous models". Technology still over-promises and under-delivers.
  • A computer is like a toolbox. The bigger it is, the more you stuff in it.

    while still alive ...

    Eventually of course it gets impossible to carry, so you get a small one for just your 'essentials'. Later you find it isn't quite big enough, so you get a bigger one.

    ... loop