I am upset. Upset with OEM’s. Upset with Carriers. Upset with blatantly stupid decisions. Let me clarify, this is a rant. It will go largely unnoticed. It’s something that people have complained about before and will continue to complain about in the future. And its also something that probably won’t change. But it is something to think about.
June 10th, 2010; Samsung released the first Galaxy S phone into the world. It was beautiful, fast, and cutting edge. At the time, it was king. Everyone who had an upgrade coming and even a small love for technology wanted one. And those who were loyal to their OEMs like HTC or Motorola still couldn’t help but wonder what it be like to own one.
July 15th, 2010; the first Galaxy S variant hits the United States. July 18th, 2010, the second Galaxy S variant hits the States. August 31st, 2010; I was the First person in line for the Sprint Galaxy S Epic 4G. September 9th, 2010; the weakest Galaxy S variant hits the States, having Bing software inserted over Google that couldn’t be changed unless you rooted the device.
Note these dates. The phone launched in most countries starting June 10th! Over a full month later, the States FINALLY gets its first variant.. and its gimped. It’s not the same as what we all lusted over during the announcement in March. It doesn’t have the single hardware button flanked by two software. It didn’t have the front facing camera! The last variant arrived four months later in September. Four wildly different phones. Really the only things they had in common were their screens, their SoC’s, and the Samsung logo. Where was the uniformity? Where was the phone I wanted? In Europe. And if I had approximately $700 US I could have it imported. That’s not exactly cost effective.
Fast forward to April 29th, 2011. The Samsung Galaxy S II is released in South Korea. Over the next month it spreads like wildfire throughout Australia, Asia, and Europe. September 16th, 2011. The first United States variant is released by Sprint. Practically identical to the international version except it: was missing some software features from the international touchwiz (again!), it was lacking NFC from the international variant, and again it looked different. October 12th, 2011; the second Galaxy S II variant is released by T-Mobile. But guess what? It also looks different. It also lacks NFC. It also lacks some software from the international version. And.. oh yea.. it runs on a different SoC! November 6th, 2011 AT&T finally gets their SII. Being GSM and still having the Exynos SoC its the closest internally to the international version but its still not the same phone! Verizon never even got a Galaxy II! Again, if I wanted the phone I fell in love with, I was going to have to shell out around $700 just to get it. Unbelievable.
Herein lies my problem. The source of my rage. Carriers in America suck. Verizon, sucks. AT&T, sucks. T-Mobile, sucks. And Sprint, sucks. I’m sick and tired of being caught in the middle of this war for my money. And you know what? I’m tired of manufacturer’s bending over to them!
“Make this change and this change and take out these features because we don’t want them. Then add all this bloatware and maybe we’ll consider selling your phone.”
This idea of needing to differentiate the devices found on different networks bothers me. The arrogant attitude of our way or we don’t want your phone enrages me. Who is Sprint, or AT&T, or T-Mobile, or Verizon, or ANYONE to tell me how I like my phone, and furthermore how I like to USE it! We will always have to put up with some sort of lock down on phones unless you pay a premium for it to be otherwise. That’s actually somewhat understandable. The majority of us may not agree with it, but we understand it. However, there was nothing wrong with either the Galaxy S or the Galaxy S II the way they were produced. Nothing. They were slim, sexy, powerful, fast, beautiful, and made anyone who saw it want it. It was enough to tempt and sometimes “convert” users of a certain “fruit-based” product. And then the carriers had their way with it. Delayed its launch by nearly 4 to 6 months. Ridiculous. What is there to understand? For there to be understanding there has to be something reasonable. Look at any other market worldwide and the scene is DRASTICALLY different. The only way to differentiate one networks phone from another with out first turning on the screen is the logo on the back casing, and sometimes not even then!
My rant against carriers is this: Focus on your freaking networks! I’ll worry about my damn phone! My money will always go to the carrier who works best in the areas I frequent. Period. Whether that’s T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. So why should I be made to suffer if, by choosing Verizon because here in Central Texas they are awesome, I have to miss out on the phone of the year? I would have to switch networks to one less reliable to get the phone I want. Only.. its not the phone I want. It’s the carriers version of the phone I want. Not the manufacturer’s original vision. This is bull. Complete and utter bull.
My rant against manufacturers is this. “Stop bending over to every freaking carrier that demands a change! We fell in love with your vision! Not with their meddling! You don’t have to kiss carrier ass to make money! It will happen anyways!” Look at Apple for Pete’s sake! If Samsung were to tell the US carriers that they were getting phones as they were getting them and that’s that, and Sprint said: “Forget you, we make the rules.” Do you honestly think that Sprint wouldn’t start losing more customers than they already are? People would be coming around to upgrade looking for the SIII and would be told: “Sorry no we don’t have it but look at this Kyocera….” and their customers would walk.
Brand loyalty. It’s not just an Apple thing now.
Fast forward to today. I saw the HTC One series unveiled. I watched them tout the One X, the One S, and the One V. It was love at first sight for X and I. I swore to myself I would own this phone. It’s going to launch in what, 2 days in Europe? Sooner? Pre-orders are already arriving. When is the first “variant” coming to the States? Maybe in May? Who knows. Once again the Carriers are getting their hands on them and making changes. AT&T demands LTE: and that means the One X won’t have that beastly Tegra 3 in it anymore. T-Mobile doesn’t want the One X at all. And apparently Sprints making all sorts of changes. That’s not to say that these changes won’t suit some people, or that they’re bad in and of themselves. Increasing the battery size and adding a kickstand are pretty cool. BUT it sacrifices the vision. It’s not what was originally planned, unveiled, and sold to me by Peter Chou. And yet again, if I want that vision, I’m out at $700+ dollars.
Well guess what? I’m forking out $700+. It’s my way of sticking it to the man. I’m tired of getting screwed over by greedy carriers that honestly don’t seem to know a damn thing about what their own customers really want. I’m not going to hand my money to them for a device that ISN’T WHAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH. I’m still going to choose a carrier for a sim card (Straight Talk most likely) and they will get my monthly payment for service. But thats it. No more paying for a device that I don’t truly love.
It’s time to take control of my phone. And the first step in that is buying the one I want.