My patience with mobile app exceptions is shockingly limited

Here’s an illustration of my super-short attention span when it comes to exceptions with mobile applications. I’m surprised by how I am reacting.

One of my regular BlackBerry apps is BeReader. It’s a really nice Google Reader client for the BlackBerry platform. I bought it via App World last year and I’ve been a regular user ever since.

I very much enjoy the BeReader experience — I use it a lot when I’m in restaurants or on the train or delayed.

The company behind BeReader, Bellshare, are — as Kevin from Crackberry put it earlier — one of the best RIM developers out there.

So all is good.

Now, I am using lots of BlackBerries all the time. Whether it’s the Curve, the Bold, the Torch, I’m swapping between them regularly for evaluation purposes. I’ve 6 BlackBerries on the desk at the moment.

Normally when I’m properly testing a BlackBerry device, I will transfer everything to the phone. It’s quite a nice experience. Type in your RIM account details and all your apps come flying down and, if you wish, your email account settings/BBM details are all copied over.

BeReader is one of the first that I will re-install.

For a variety of (I’m sure) perfectly valid reasons, Bellshare integrated copy protection on to BeReader. That is, you need to have a license code to run the app. One would hope this is not needed given I bought it from RIM’s very own App World, however it’s still there. When you download the app, you’re assigned an activation license number and you need to cut/paste that to make BeReader actually work. Fair enough. Convoluted, especially in the “it just works” world.

I tried to do this on my new Bold 9900 and got an error. Apparently I’ve activated the license far too many times now. That’s it. Game over. Go and use our online form, the app reported, to tell us you’re transferring to a new device.

I went and hunted for my BlackBerry PIN number. I visited the non-mobile enabled Bellshare site and filled in the form.

My patience was already shot to shreds. My frustration palpable. Fair enough, I know what I’m doing, but my wife? A ‘normob’ (“normal mobile user”) — she’d have given up and started screaming by now.

I’m already cooking on gas with annoyance when the form returns an error. Nope, it says, you really need to email us. You’ve activated too many times.

I exploded.

I can’t stand exceptions. I really can’t. I just want this shit to work. I bought it through App World. You KNOW this.. I really, geez, come I can’t be doing with this level of involvement, not when Reeder — a brilliant, brilliant iPhone alternative — is about 0.5 milliseconds away from me.

And you know what? I’ve had this issue for a little while. I solved it by using my iPhone instead. Because I carry both.

It was only this evening that I thought I’d actually bother clicking through to the form as I had a bit of time sitting on the train.

As I pointed out earlier, Bellshare has an excellent reputation and the BeReader app is second to none.

What really took me by surprise was my total lack of tolerance for the process not working as I expected. Now then, is this just me?

I think it’s possible it could be.

I emailed Bellshare’s support and got a confirmation reply from their ticketing system 12 minutes later. Now I’m finding myself thinking, “What are they doing? Why are they taking so long?”

I almost want an instant response from them.

Goodness me.

I think it’s just me. Other folk would have more patience, right?

I have no doubt that I’ll get a note from Bellshare shortly rectifying the situation. In this particular case, it has to be an exception given the amount of devices I’ve been using.

I wanted to make the point about exceptions though. I wonder if I’m the vanguard for the rest of the world becoming completely intolerant to anything other than “it just works”.

What’s your view?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “My patience with mobile app exceptions is shockingly limited”

It’s a common problem: expecting an Apple-like experience from a company other than Apple. 

I had a similar issue with CoPilot – once you bought it legally, you had to enter your Google Checkout number (you don’t have to do this on ANY other Android App!). If you did it too many times (even on the same device), you got locked out. CoPilot comes with 3 months or similar telephone tech support, after that, you have to email them and wait for a response. I waited nearly two weeks for them to ‘unlock’ my Google Checkout number.

I won’t touch their apps again.

No, I’m like that in many ways! I fight for the right for it to work as it should. Unfortunately my wife just assumes she is doing something wrong and gives up. Depending on how much she thinks she needs the application to work it can range from 5 minutes to 5 weeks before she asks me to help her with it!

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