Reluctantly got a new smartphone

I finally had enough of paying for a smart phone that slowly became obsolete as app development shifted from Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10 Mobile.  I wrote several times about HTC and Microsoft if you’re interested in hitting the archives.  I had made all the payments required to qualify for a “turn-in upgrade,” essentially meaning I gave them the phone back.  My original intent was to fight with AT&T and get out of my finance agreement so that I didn’t have to continue paying $133 additional and go a few months without a finance payment.

They actually pulled up the contract I signed (and didn’t read at the time) that clearly indicated that my choice was to turn in the phone and get a new phone (with new agreement) or pay to the end of the contract (another $133).  I relented, pushed harder for anything to be done that relinquished this HTC phone without me having to sign into another finance contract, but it was clear to me their hands were as tied as mine were.  I made a few comments about the fact that being a customer since 1999 has no merit, getting the ditch by HTC was a crappy move and the whole idea of a mobile phone has forced us to worship the glowing screen of complacency.

In the end, I got an S7.  Yes, I could have gone with something cheaper in the mid-range market.  I could have even have gone with a no-name high-end device and still probably have paid less.  My fear was that anything other than a device that has sold millions of units ran the risk of pulling an HTC and ending support without warning.  My monthly payments are only a few cents different so I’m using that $133 on something that is fully functional and fully supported.  I’ve decided to run lean on applications and work to remove this device from the focal point of my daily activities.  No NFC payments, no fingerprint single-sign-on, no social apps that demand attention at every ding.  I do know for sure that it will at least get Android 7.0 and be more than functional for at least the next 2 years, possibly three.  By then, I hope to have finances where I can purchase a new mobile device outright and never need the stupid financing option again.

Still couldn’t do Apple, although I did contemplate it for approximately 0.25 seconds.

Have a new year….

I wrote this post a few days ago and scheduled it. I’ll most likely be at a party with friends I’d rather not see and do things I would prefer not to do. Any literary motivation would be sufficiently killed if I had sat down and published this on the day it actually was scheduled to post. That being said, I’ve reflected quite a bit on 2016 and the year that seemed to drag slower and slower the farther into it we got. There’s way too much to review in a post, and if I did review everything that impacted me, I would be writing this well into 2017 and probably never actually publish because it would have become too burdensome to proof it.

There were three things that really had an impact to the year that history will most likely judge harshly in the coming decades. Rather, three things that had an impact with me personally. Consider this a top three-year in review for w1nt3l. We all have our own top three, I’m sure, we might even share some, but I am so happy that this year is almost gone and really really hope that it doesn’t carry residuals into 2017. Well, here we go.

Windows 10 for Mobile, titanic shaft to loyal fans

My archives are littered with Windows 10 for Mobile (formerly Windows Phone) going back several years. I was a huge fan of Windows Phone (WP) and had three mobile devices that ran various versions of the mobile operating system. What I failed to realize with my last device is that HTC was going down the same path as Nokia and Blackberry getting complacent that they had their act together and no one could possibly take the top spot. Well, they were wrong, and HTC is in a bad situation right now losing ground to Samsung and Apple. A little known device that ran Windows Phone 8.1 failed to get upgraded by HTC to Windows 10 for Mobile. Multiple excuses were given as to why, there was even some finger-pointing between HTC and Microsoft, but in the end, it came down to the fact that hardly anyone actually purchased one making the user base statistically miniscule compared to the Android version of the same hardware. Windows 10 for Mobile was now a fail whale in my book and I decided to never own another device again. I switched to a cheap-o Android phone that I get frustrated with every time I pick it up; daily reboots, slow, locks up, apps crash, etc. Pure Android is awesome, it starts to suck hard as soon as a manufacturer thinks it can improve it, hence, the previous sentence rings true. 2016 was the death of Windows Mobile in my opinion.

Wasn’t the year of the third-party

I wrote off the Democrats months ago. I was never a Republican. This was the year I went independent and supported a third-party candidate for President. Despite Jill Stein having a really good platform and some ingenious ideas to help fix things, she never captured a lot of support from anywhere in the country. Gary Johnson had a real chance of at least getting to 5% of the popular vote to have a third-party receive national recognition, but one gaffe after another blew all the steam out of his sails. In an election where there was negative news on both Trump and Clinton, unfavorability for both Trump and Clinton and poor performances in debates from Trump and Clinton I would have thought that Americans would have sought an alternative. That was not the case, as Clinton-haters voted from Trump and Trump-haters voted for Clinton. I’m also convinced that a lot of people just didn’t vote because they didn’t like either of them. 2016 was not the year of the third-party candidate unfortunately.

War and terrorism

No one likes any of this. Show me a war or terrorist attack that actually had any positive impact. I made a comment on a post a few weeks back that listed the number of people who died in conflicts from the Civil War to the Vietnam War; ended up being hundreds of millions. Did we really need to let things get that far? Perhaps. Some conflict is just unavoidable when no one on either side is using so much energy for their mouth that they be come deaf and blind. I’m sorry, call me an apologist if you wish, but *I* think there is always a better way that doesn’t involve weapons, death or destruction. In recent weeks, I’ve discovered the true meaning behind “the pen is mightier than the sword” or a more modern version, “the keyboard is mightier than the AR15.” I’d ask when we lost the ability to listen and reason, but I don’t believe we ever had either of those mastered. I’ve chosen to try to make a difference, one person at a time, one reader at a time, until the knowledge pay-it-forward effect is perpetual. 2016 was not the year we chose something other than war.

Have a New Year

I didn’t mean for this to be a downer, but that is what it became. Blame 2016 for being such a year of suck that we’re all better off to have it in the rear-view mirror. The problem is that 2017 looks like a road under construction that is going to continue tearing at the under carriage of the United States and the rest of the world. Buckle your seatbelts, we’re in for some chop.

An open letter to Microsoft and HTC

The History

I’ve been using Microsoft Windows Phone (now Windows 10 Mobile) since the first release of the OS after the appalling Windows Mobile 6.5.  Here is a list of the mobile devices that I’ve owned, all running Windows Mobile:

  • Samsung Focus (Windows 7.x)
  • Nokia Lumia 920 (Windows 8.x)
  • HTC One M8 for Windows (Windows 8.x, 10 preview)

Current Status

It’s just been announced that at this point there is to be no update to Windows 10 Mobile for my HTC One M8 for Windows.  This is a technically superior phone to the Microsoft Lumia 640 (that’s getting the update btw) that I purchased mainly for the fact that the hardware would easily get me 3-5 years of efficient usage or more.  In fact, I’ve been running the Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview for over 6 months without any major or minor issue found.  This is my daily driver AND is used for work as well through the BYOD program at my company.

The Rub

This says it all:  HTC M8 Is The Latest Windows Phone Model Not Getting Windows 10 Mobile

Open Letter to HTC

Dear HTC,

I’m disappointed that you have not stood by your products in the last several years.  You’ve developed some fantastic hardware that can easily be classified as flagship devices, however I’m concerned that you’re missing a huge market that I personally think is about to explode.  Supporting a device for two years is just that, supporting it.  Dragging your feet and delaying a response to customers on an upgrade, regardless of mobile OS, is just plain out manipulative.  At this point in time, I will never own another HTC device and will actively discourage family and friends from purchasing an HTC device.  I’m disappointed in you as a company.

Open letter to Microsoft

Dear Microsoft,

Our relationship goes back to Windows 3.0 on my Packard Bell 486.  I’ve continually used a system that has had OS’s from Windows 3.x, 9x, Me, 2000, NT, 7, 8 and now 10.  It was an easy decision for me to jump on the Windows Mobile wagon as everything I ever used was called Windows or was from Microsoft at some point in time or another.  After the announcement that the HTC One M8 would not be receiving Windows 10 Mobile, which at almost 2 years old is still superior to the Lumia 640, is very disappointing.  In fact, its downright shitty if I’m being honest.  It seems that it was based on Insider feedback, which I personally always answered honestly, usually positive though as I worked through the minor issues with certain apps or services.  A techie does that.

The fact that now you’re not supporting a large fan base and leaving them out to hang stuck with Windows 8.1 on hardware that can easily support Windows 10 Mobile isn’t a good move.  I’ve championed Windows 10 for both PC and Mobile and now am questioning your commitment to making the Mobile part even the least bit successful.  It would seem that you’re focusing on the business market, which is what Blackberry did, we all see how that ended up.

My plea

I urge you, HTC and Microsoft, release Windows 10 Mobile for the M8 and let the phone users decide if they want to upgrade.  The Insider Preview has been running on this device for months without a lot of issues (that I’ve seen at least), the least you can do is release a version that can be used.  I still have over a year before I can get a new phone and having to face that year on Windows Mobile 8.1 just sucks.

Fix it, or I’m going to Android.

References for this letter:

  1. Windows Insider
  2. Microsoft
  3. HTC