Android, iPhone, And Windows Phone Users Unite: We Have The Smartphone Manifesto!

Posted by on November 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

We, the users of smartphones of all walks of life, hereby propose a unifying document to bring about positive, productive change in the wonderful toys and tools that we use on a regular basis. For all the cool, revolutionary stuff going on out there, there’s still plenty of room to improve, especially here in the US. Rather than merely camping out in front of Verizon, Sprint, or Google’s global headquarters like those other guys, we’ve decided to put forth a literal effort toward change. Join us in our Revolution!

To The Carriers

  • We don’t need voice plans anymore. VOIP is taking over everything. This doesn’t make as much sense in rural areas where only roaming exists, but if you’ve got a broadband connection and a wi-fi enabled phone, you get the idea.
  • We don’t need text plans anymore, either. You charge an exorbitant amount for what amounts to a rounding error on your bandwidth meters. That’s a big reason why we switched to Kik Messenger for our internal chats.
  • So give us better data plans. Without voice and text plans, we obviously need to be using these better. Capping people at 2GB is simply not going to cut it. You guys have colluded to bring us these arbitrary data limits and prices while you rake in billions of dollars in profits. Virtually everything that can be done via smartphone these days can be done through a data plan. We understand you need those vestigial elements to stay super profitable, but throw us a bone here, seriously.
  • Give us a better reason to be loyal. You guys are folding all of your loyalty programs. Your exclusive phones are only going to last so long before we get irritated by your other idiosyncrasies. Some of us crazy folk are just gonna ditch you for the next best thing if you don’t incentivise our stay.
  • Stop getting in the way of upgrades. I have no idea why you must make it so difficult for so many different phones (particularly in the Android and Windows Phone ecosystems) to get upgraded. You are making this terrible for arbitrary reasons.
  • Stop the carrier bloatware. While iPhone gets away with it and it’s easy to dispose of in Windows Phones, Android phones are plagued by the stuff and in some cases, it’s very difficult to remove without rooting. I’m looking at you, Motorola. You put this stuff in, HTC, and pretend it’s to help productivity but Android’s already plenty useful as-is. Also, HTC, let us get rid of some of this crap. I really can’t remove the Blockbuster app unless I root my phone and void the warranty? You make the baby Jesus cry.
  • AT&T.  For being as big as you are with the clout that you have, it’s a shame that the only way you propose to make your service better is to acquire T-Mobile. There a million ways to improve your network that I know you haven’t thought of, namely most of them.
  • Sprint. …look, we already wrote a bit about it. Just click through. You guys are this close to being the smallest provider in America and you’re already capping transit on mobile hotspots. Your bait and switch from WiMax to LTE is going to piss off a lot of people who bought your “4G” phones, even if you say you’ll support it through next year.
  • T-Mobile. You were basically abandoned by your German parents, so we really just feel sorry for you.
  • Verizon. …Yeah, we all know you’re the big dog on the block. Don’t go thinking that makes you untouchable, though. Your seeming inability to even update your flagship phone with current software shows an extreme lack of foresight, to a degree I can only describe as “herp derp derp”. Also, sort out your LTE network. I’m paying extra for it and it goes down more often than a herd of hookers at a business convention.
To The Platform Holders
  • Apple. It’s time to do something truly innovate again, and Siri isn’t it. Moving up another number, or adding an “S” at the end of your product’s name, is just a cheap ploy to sell more of the same phones to the same people. Your userbase isn’t going to fall for it much longer. Stop treading water.
  • Google. Unite your platform. It’s really cool to see you advance the platform with stuff like Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy Nexus, but it’s tragic that there are hundreds of millions of phones out there struggling to catch up. I’m talking about your previous flagship phones as well. Maybe you need a quick deploy setup in a program like iTunes? Or Google+? I don’t know, figure it out.
  • Microsoft. Okay, yes, we’ve also written so much about your issues. You guys spent a lot of money getting Nokia’s attention, but will it be enough? Their models are good, not great. You guys need to stop pretending you exist in a vacuum and come up with better advertising. If you don’t care enough to put your phone out there in a meaningful way, no one else is going to care either. You’re running out of time to create and capitalize on mind-share. At this rate, Windows Phone is about a year away from being the next forgotten Blackberry.
  • RIM. Speaking of… You guys are still around?
To The Phone Makers
  • Stop skinning Android. It doesn’t matter how harmless it seems to you *glares at Samsung* your junk is really getting in the way and slowing the whole experience. I honestly can’t wait for what horrible travesties await when we get to see a Droid-ified Ice Cream Sandwich. OMG, so awful.
  • Apple. More than one model a year would be cool. Also, is there a real reason why you need a 4S to use Siri? No. What about some bigger screens. Hmm? How about those?
  • HTC. Guys, AMOLED displays are awesome. You guys should look into them. Also, fix your camera issues. The lens in the HD7 is notorious for coming loose. Furthermore, don’t release hardware before it is time or while it is still broken. Your flagship Thunderbolt has more issues than National Geographic. 4 hours battery time? Really? Who do you think you’re trying to kid? Also, why make it so hard to root your phones? Are you afraid we may actually get some productivity out of them once we remove the bloatware?
  • Samsung. You guys seriously need to upgrade your junk, and not even junk, but flagship phones from a year ago. Falling a version or two behind for months and months is getting extremely irritating. We love your hardware, but your lack of support is horrendous.

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  • Anonymous

    Completely agree with the first 2 points:

    We don’t need voice plans anymore and we don’t need text plans anymore, either! However, is anyone listening or reading this and is any action ever going to be taken?

    • guest

      here here!

    • Rob

      Well, there IS a lot of reading of this article going on.  The better question is “do the mobile giants care about what we think?”.

      I think that we’re all screwed until we can figure out a way to force them to sort it out.

      THAT will probably never happen :(

  • Wayne2626

    Talking with many people the size of the iPhone is ok just as it is.  People have said that a larger screen would mean more battery drain and make it like a brick which android suffers from. 

    • Rob

      Meh.  People are too needy, in terms of size.  I had one of the original “bag phones” back in the day.  It was like a phone in a purse that weighed 10 pounds.  

      I can easily handle carrying around a 10 OUNCE smartphone.

  • Anonymous

    Good Article. First time I’ve seen a lot of popular sentiments aggregated in one place in a long time. I agree with most of it…

    Personally I don’t mind the customization of Android. If every android phone was the stock GUI, we consumers would be board out of our minds! However, the bloatware does need to go (or at least be removable) and the programming language needs to be streamlined in order to make skinning more versatile, and update-able. 

    I’m really not sure what to think about data caps and throttling… I mean look at what the iPhone did to AT+T’s network. With unlimited data and the ability to tether there is nothing stopping people form abandoning their ISPs and going one hundred percent mobile. But were talking about “wireless” networks that cover areas in square miles and in most cases cover hundreds of thousand of people. Part of me thinks we techies might be asking a little too much of them at this point — just wait till Google buys Clearwire and simultaneously builds out their fiber-optic network. :)

    • Rob

      I think it’s an AMAZING idea to put the ISP’s and the mobile providers at odds with one another.  If the mobile providers start being used as primary access providers for the interwebs, this will start to force the ISP’s to stop screwing us with their crappy networks and overpriced plans.  Once that happens, it will force the mobile providers to sort out THEIR networks and stop charging so much for data packages.

      It’s a win-win!

  • Len Waugh

    Almost all of these issues are rooted with the carriers. And there is no reason the carriers need to change as no carrier is going to stop its practices. They are not ever going to do things for us, they do things for their investors.

  • ooh, someone should get a Life! 
    Actually Apple have it about right; one phone a year is good. Issue a phone and then support it rather than keep issuing new phones that make your one out of date after only 3 months or so!