My Android/Rogers/HTC Magic Saga

Posted by Phil on Jul 7, 2010 in Phil's Thoughts

Okay, first off I’ll admit I’m an early adopter. I eagerlay watched the Rogers website as it counted down to the “Revolution” and was in the store the day the Android phones were released.  It took me a bit longer to actually get my phone, but not much longer. I selected the HTC Magic because it had more memory and a better proccessor than the dDream. I figured itf I was going to get a phone I should get the better one. Although I wasn’t sure if I was going to miss the keyboard.

I loved the phone and Android. I liked it so much that I went out in September and got a Dream for my wife. I knew the keyboard was important to her. We even switched carriers to be able to use Android.

We were patient as we waited for the Market to open up for paid applications. THat wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was kind of strange to hear about all of the amazing apps that we couldn’t see.  We weren’t really sure who to ask about this because it wasn’t clear if it was a Google/Rogers or Canadian thing.

My first real frustration came when I found out that our phones had problems with 911 calling. It was more frustrating to be given a patch that was to fix the problem and that if we didn’t apply it we would lose data connectivity. Granted Rogers did credit us witha month of free data, but it was still a bit of a problem.

Then I found out that the patch did more than just fix the 911 issue. It made t next to impossible to “root” the phone rendering it impossible to add alternate OS builds. Granted, I liked the new UI (HTC Sense). This new UI was avilable to my Magic and not my wife’s Dream because Rogers said it wouldn’t do any more upgrades to the phone due to its limited hardware capabilities.

So, now my wife has a phone that will never get an OS update. Granted, they did offer a free replacement phone (which I gratefully accepted), but my wife is still using the Dream because it has a real keyboard. The hardware limitation proved to be a bit false as cyanogen has released a ROM for that phone that easily runs 2.1. I would love to apply that ROM to the phone, but since the 911 patch the only way that I have found that can do that is to actually tear the phone apart and do some soldering.

At the end of all of the updates we were still sitting on OS 1.5 Meanwhile Apple released a new OS and it got pushed out quickly. Meanwhile Google releases verions 1.6, 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2  Rogers announced a 2.1 update for the Magic midyear.  I waited patiently until today when we got notice that the 2.1 update will be ready for us sometime in August. This after several other carriers have already pushed 2.2 out to the same model phone.

The longer I sit on 1.5 the more I realize I am missing. I follow blogs and find interesting apps to purchase or install, but more and more of them require at least 1.6 if not 2.0. This is getting more and more frustrating.

I love Android. I have used this phone more than any other that I have had previusly. The same with my wife. We use the phones as phones, for games, for social media updates (we even have the new Social View plan). We love that they have gps and the 3G network. But waiting for OS updates is frustrating.

So why don’t I just get an iPhone? I wanted a phone that would let me tinker. I am a tinkerer by nature and use Linux all the time. I thought this phone would satisfy that. For the most part it does. Languishing on the old OS prevents that more and more. I knew I would be taking risks as an early adopter but with the phones already doing well outside of Canada, I thought we’d have better support than what I have seen so far.

What am I going to do? Well, I’m stuck on my Rogers contract for now. I’ not sure I will apply the 2.1 update when it gets released because I am not sure if there will e additinaly “features” included that won’t be publicized and change the nature of my phone. I will probably wait and see what others find from the release. Hopefully, Rogers won’t strong arm me by threatening to cut data if I don’t update.

I apologize for the rambling, I thought I would get my experience down in case others are feeling the same way with similar experiences. I don’t think this is a problem with Android. I thin it has more to do with Rogers being the first to release a new operating system and being surprised by the reaction of the early adopters and their eagerness for OS updates. Those getting newer Android phones may not experinsce the frustrations that I have seen. Let’s hope.

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