Now, if you can’t reach me this week by mobile, there’s a simple explanation: I’m using the Vodafone 360 Samsung H1 device *all* this week as my primary ‘phone’.
Normally my device of choice is a BlackBerry Bold — but I’ve shelved that away (well, I’m still carrying it, just the SIM is in the Samsung) and I’m living like a Vodafone 360 Consumer.
And I’m quite annoyed.
The device itself is what you’d expect from Samsung. Big, gorgeous screen, reasonable user-interface (beyond the 360 stuff).
Getting your head around the Vodafone 360 UI is — for me, as a mobile geek — quite a challenge. By that I mean the square avatar interface. The one that’s being advertised everywhere.
My expectations were completely wrong.
I’ve been operating on the assumption that 360 works with Google and it works with Facebook. Right?
Well it does.
I just assumed that it worked the way everyone else expects it to — that is, to synchronise. That’s what ‘360’ is all about, right? Getting a 360 degree view on my actual social network?
The first degree, then, surely, has to be ripping a copy of my contacts out of my Google account, complete with their mobile numbers, right? Yes I’m a power user, but this is the absolute minimum I expect from ‘adding my Google account’.
It doesn’t do that.
It does, however, set up an email account with the correct details. And it also sets up an IM account correctly. This, dear reader, is good news. As long as you overlook the fact that the email account — by default, it seems — wants to download (sorry, ‘synchronise’) the 17,000 emails in my account. Arse.
So. Hold your breath for a moment, right. Suspend your disbelief. Let’s move on to Facebook.
Login with your details. Done. It really is a nice experience setting up the account on your phone. You have to wait a few minutes for your device to download all your contact photos and status updates. And it is rather cool being able to see up to date profile pictures and status messages. I quite enjoyed swishing them back and forward.
Mismatched assumptions though. I thought the device would also take the phone numbers from my Facebook friends and populate them into the address book.
This isn’t, as I speculated initially, a Vodafone 360 problem per se. No. It’s a user permissions error.
The only one of my 600 Facebook contacts who has given permission for her mobile number to appear public is my wife’s good friend, Joey. So hi there Joey. It’s just you and me.
The fact I can SEE the phone numbers of my friends on the web — ON their Facebook profile — doesn’t seem to matter. The overwhelming majority are not synchronised so I can only assume it’s a user permissions thing at Facebook. Everyone’s left the ‘don’t show my mobile number in public’ option on. Apart from Joey.
So whilst it’s brilliant to click on a friend and see all the various ways of contacting them… the reality is, I can ‘Vodafone360-them’ (send an email from my Voda account) or I can ‘Facebook-message’ them.
No text. No MMS. No telephoning. If I want that, I have to edit the contacts.
Which is precisely what I did before I left the house this morning. I added my wife’s number — MANUALLY — into the phone.
This, I’d like to point out, is the first time I’ve added my wife’s number into my phone in flipping years.
It was a novel experience, I grant you that. I hardly ever TYPE mobile numbers into address books anymore. The prospect of going through 50 or 100 numbers is not appealing.
I’m kind-of enjoying the 360 experience, then. It’s just these dropped balls that are annoying me. And the rest of the 360 users too. Just do a search for aghast normobs wondering how the hell they’re meant to add their address books. (I mean their ACTUAL address books, not the social networking stuff). Turns out if you plug your handset into your PC, you can install the Samsung PC Suite which should do some kind of desktop address book synchronisation.
If you’re on a Mac like me, you’re stupid. No support today. None that I could discern.
I have no intention whatsoever of synchronising my contacts via one of the VMWare Fusion PC installs I have. It is not 1998 again and it is not, as the Vodafone eForum chap suggested on one forum I read, appropriate to suggest consumers ‘go and buy a Samsung PC synchronisation kit’.
I think it’s patently ridiculous that a billion dollar company such as Vodafone stuck this out into the market without duplicating the basic functionality of the other platforms. iPhone syncs with Google.
BlackBerry syncs with Google.
Nokia syncs with Google.
ANDROID obviously syncs with Google.
I mean… do I have to carry on?
Yes. Because it’s a trial. I will use this device for a week. Just don’t expect any email, calls, texts or anything else from me. Ok, maybe a Facebook update…
There are nice aspects of 360 though. I’ll get to them once the red mist of frustration has gone from my eyes.