Alan Wallace's Blog

Thoughts… Rants… Rave's – mostly on Tech

Verizon – Love my Droid Hate the Forcedware

Windows users are used to this – we buy our dream machine and once we boot it for the first time we see all the OEM’d software that we sometimes keep, sometimes leave but in many cases remove.  In fact applications have been built to do just this such as the much user beloved PC Decrapifier.  I understand somehow this is supposed to reduce the cost of my computer but so are commercials before movies and unlike technology movies are not getting cheaper.

Now a couple of weeks ago I blogged about my new DroidX – this is beautiful hardware and just what Verizon needed (as they still can’t seem to get Apple to do the right thing and bring a great phone to the best carrier) so while I was getting tired of waiting I decided the Droid was the jump I was ready to take. 

I have been pleasantly surprised that I could check more than one exchange account but surprised that my DroidX would not show exchange linked pictures of people calling – opting only for pictures on Facebook or Twitter – seriously – Why?  Please fix this in an update.  But so far until now all I have thought has been very positive.

But today I learned that VZW bundled apps that I cannot remove from my Droid – so while I’m still in my honeymoon phaze with the Droid, I have also decided that  I’m presenting my first ever “WTF AWARD” to Verizon for this botched bundle.

To me Forcedware ™ is crapware that cannot be removed by the user.  Specifically, I’m would like to remove the App called “CITY ID.”  Verizon included City ID with my new Droid Verizon (In a 2008 announcement Press Release – “Verizon Wireless customers purchasing the Voyager will receive a complimentary 15-day trial of the City ID application beginning with their first incoming call. Customers may subscribe to City ID for $1.99 monthly access per line added to their monthly plan.”  This is the same deal that my DroidX has been stuck with.

For the first time I have an application on my phone that is really not important yet impossible to remove.  Now I understand some apps need to be there – and I don’t even mind the account management tool from Verizon being pre-loaded and not removable – but when an application times out after 15 days and then if I want to use it you are going to charge me about 2.00 per month – than I should be able to uninstall it.  Apparently I’m not alone on this desire (http://www.google.com/search?q=city+id+uninstall&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7)

I called Verizon support and they thought initially they could help me – they could not and I went back to the store where I purchased my phone and they had apparently heard my thoughts several times today alone – I’m guessing from more people who like me bought this phone on launch day.  I wonder how many of them thought I still have 15 more days to return it?

Verizon, you are a good company, I like your products and I have no real issues with the pricing.  Why now are you making me think twice?  Why are you forcing an icon on my phone for an app I won’t use.  I’m not sorry you put it there to try out – but if I decide I don’t want it – why are you locking it and not allowing it to be removed – does this really show that the customer comes first?  If I like it – I will use it and you and the software developer will both benefit – if I want to remove it please let me.

No one benefits by forcedware.

Can someone at Verizon, Motorola, Google or Cequint please do the right thing and let your users have a way to uninstall?

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DroidX – First Thoughts

I’m normally just ok with a new phone – happy I have something newer and hopeful that I’m not ready to give it back in the first 30 days but usually after the first 5 minutes I have figured out everything that I thought was cool and am already bored.

Today I purchased a new DroidX.  I found some nice bundles at Verizon today that helped me get better prices and thought that today was the best organized I have seen Verizon on a phone launch.  I cannot remember a previous time when I could get the accessories I needed on the same day but today was certainly the exception that should be the rule and the accessories were really cool.

Likes and Product Suggestions:
I have missed docking stations and for the DroidX there are docking stations for home and the car – I may get another one or two for the home as I like them.  I also got the rubber case for the DroidX but wish that it would still fit in either docking station when I put the protective case on – I want to use the great docking stations – but also want to do what I can to protect the phone for when I accidently drop it.

Not sure if it will replace my car’s GPS but I love how I can plug the phone into my car’s AUX jack and listen to radio stations via the IHEART app – and in fact not only the audio quality for streaming but the built in internal FM radio sounds better than the FM Radio in my Nissan.  I would like to take this time to say to all of those who doubted me when I said at the Country Radio Seminar in 2001 that Internet Radio would be in the car within 10 years – that I was right and have a year to go on that prediction (remind me to email David Lawrence)

I’m experimenting with all of the new apps and enjoying what I’m seeing so far.  I’m not sure what will happen with the Android Software Push in the near future but here that it will have enhancements for Microsoft’s Exchange ™.  I’m looking forward to seeing what will be coming but at the top of my request list – is help the phone to be able to read more than one Exchange account as I access at least two exchange environments.

Lastly it makes really clear phone calls – I almost forgot this was a phone too.

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I’m buying the DroidX on the 15th

I have been a loyal Windows Mobile user for years.  I have strayed occasionally to RIM and would have loved to have switched to the iPhone but could not comprehend switching from Verizon but as a loyal Windows Mobile User I have felt like I was missing out.  I was there from day one version 1 and still with 6.5 and a plethora of disconnected smartphones from Samsung to the Palm Treo as well as my current HTC and I am just not going to wait for Windows Series 7 anymore.  I had hoped that Apple would grace us with good news for Verizon but if Google is willing to step up – so am I.

I had a chance to try out the Google Nexus for 30 days on T-Mobile and the phone was so cool I almost forgot it was on T-Mobile but the apps were amazing and nothing like I have ever seen on a Windows Mobile device.  I had stayed with these phones mostly because I’m an Exchange user which in looking back is RIM actually offers more features than Microsoft as it’s the device that would allow me to run more than one exchange account.  Odd since MS invented Exchange and Windows Mobile and Outlook.

So Microsoft is now working on version 7 of its phone OS but just killed its KIN with only a few weeks release – so again – what is it I’m waiting for on Win Series 7?  What I find really interesting is how cool the IPhone was on Version 1 – how cool the Google Nexus was on Version 1 – the Microsoft Phone on Version 7 may be cool but I have been disappointed so many times and I’m not ready for this again.  I know I’m not switching to Zune so if Win Series 7 is supposed to be more like a Zune – it’s not a selling point for me.

So while I wish the DroidX had a keyboard like its predecessor – I’m still going to get it and hear that the screen and camera are more Incredible – than the HTC Incredible.

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What Did I Say on Twitter

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