Friday, 11 April 2008

Incompetence meets rudeness and begats excressence

An update on this post, wherein I complained about Samsung's incomplete, unfinished operating system and inaccurate manual.

You might like to skim it first.

I have found out that it is even worse than I first thought.

With persistent optimism, I went back to trying to pipe music through the headset, driven more by stubbornness than by hope.

Also because I had an idea, but had not previously tried it because, well, they couldn't really be that incompetent, could they?

Yes, it turns out, they could. The idea was that maybe music files on the removable memory card were handled differently to music files in the phone. So I found the single solitary file kept on the phone's internal memory - Dance of the Knights from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, which I use as my ringtone - and played it and, what do you know: The bluetooth menu items magically appeared!

For the love of Golgotha, what possible reason could there be for refusing to let you play music through a wireless headset (wired earpieces work fine, but with a proprietary connector you're stuck with Samsung's earpieces, which suck) when it's on the removable memory card, a card of up to 4GB or above for micro-SD smaller than my thumbnail, and leave you stuck with anything you can squeeze onto the frankly rather pathetic 24MB internal memory (and I had to go hunting for that figure - I couldn't actually find it on any of the packaging or materials that came with the phone)?

Oh but wait, there's more!

Having found the "Play via bluetooth" menu item, I had to try it. And...

Nope, still broken, incomplete, incompetent and abusive to customers.

The phone, already paired with the BlueAnt Interphone, went searching. And found nothing. And said "Can't find a stereo headset. Try again?"

Oh, for fuck's sake. You demand a stereo headset when a perfectly good mono one is available? I am bereft of any possible explanation beyond the most cynical: Forced upgrades. I can't even imagine how incompetence or short-sightedness can lead to a refusal on the part of this handset to send music through a mono headset and refuse to even recognise that headset's existence.

I am baffled as to what the intended market for the SGH-A701 ever was. It's not business - the address book isn't powerful enough. It's not people who want to replace a separate iPod - the music player is too basic, and you can forget wireless headsets. It's not people who want to replace a camera - it doesn't have a flash, and it's reasonable at best.

So we have to return to the fact that this, along with a Motorola, was the first offering of HSDPA - NextG in Telstra speak (which is scarier even than Newspeak) - in Australia. And yet the built-in browser is so basic and crude that it makes a mockery of the richness of content, and the access to full websites, that high-speed mobile broadband promises.

So we're left with fashion victims or people who don't know any better and, with considerable cringing and self-recrimination, I put myself in that second category, my previous phone having decided to spontaneously and catastrophically fail and leave me insufficient time for research.

Which, of course, only makes my hatred at Samsung all the worse. Most of th
ese problems, and problems with java as well, would be fixed in firmware updates by any decent company. But Samsung never released a firmware update for the A701 - they upgraded it to the faster HSDPA A711 instead, and left everyone who had bought generation 1 out in the cold. Nokia came out with the N95 8GB and the N98 and seventeen other phones, and are still releasing firmware updates for the original N95.

I say again: Samsung, you suck.

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