Phone makers are collectively dropping the ball on software quality
Phone makers like Apple, Google, and Samsung have mastered the art of making desirable smartphones that command premium prices.
But they’re screwing up with the software big-time, and it’s starting to look really embarrassing. When you’re asking people to pony up $1,000+ for a phone, these mistakes are inexcusable.
Then there were audio clicking issues. On the Pixel 2, the notification LED doesn’t work even when the feature is turned on.
People are reporting the oleophobic coating that’s supposed to help resist fingerprint smudges on the displays are wearing off unusually quick.
Personally, I’ve noticed the camera app frequently won’t turn on (it gets stuck on a black screen) until I reboot the phone.
Some people even received Pixel 2’s without Android installed on them.
To be fair, these problems don’t plague all Pixel 2 and 2 XL phones (our review unit only has the color-shifting, which Google says is actually acceptable) and none of them single-handedly cripple them to the point where they’re unusable or dangerous (thank god, it’s not a Note 7 repeat).
But there are now enough issues piling up on the daily that some people are demanding a recall. Google hasn’t caved yet and it’s even pledged to address some of these issues with software updates, but is this what you should expect from a phone that starts at $650 and is supposed to offer the best Google hardware and software experience?
I expect this kind of quality from a budget phone. A $50 phone with Amazon ads. But not one that’s made of premium materials and is supposed to provide the best time you’ll ever have with a phone.
And these kinds of bugs aren’t exclusive to the Pixel 2’s. Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X have their own set of problems that are equally as unforgivable.
A bug that causes the letter “I” to autocorrect to “A[?]”? How about a software glitch that’s causing the iPhone X to stop responding to touch when it gets just a little bit cold? Or reports of green lines running down the side of their iPhone X’s?
Guys, this isn’t normal.
Apple’s been making iPhones and developing iOS for a decade. Google’s been crafting Android for nearly as long and even though it’s only in its second year of Pixel releases, it’s not like the company is a complete n00b at hardware.
It’s like everyone is collectively sh*tting the bed.
How the hell are they screwing things up so badly? It’s like everyone is collectively sh*tting the bed.
The Essential Phone’s a beautiful titanium phone, but its cameras are a hot mess. Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 without Bixby, the digital assistant it deemed so crucial it has its own dedicated button.
When this happens, customers have to wait for multiple patches to arrive after launch to fix issues that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
We’re so enamored by new hardware with edge-to-edge screens and slimmer bezels that we’re starting to overlooking the details — the basic stuff that these companies are tasked to get right.
I don’t have answers as to why these bugs keep slipping through. Apple prides itself on how laser-focused it is on hardware and software and yet it’s dropping the ball.
I applaud these companies for listening to customers and pushing out software updates to address issues that they overlooked, but they’re promising perfection and we should be getting that (or something damn near close).
Still, it’s time to demand better from phone makers and hold them more accountable for releasing phones and software updates that clearly haven’t been thoroughly tested.
I know that Google and Apple are beloved tech brands, but there’s no better way to let them know it’s not okay to ship sub-par hardware and software than by not giving them your money.
Vote with your wallet by not buying pricey phones that are effectively broken. And if you have just purchased a phone that suffers from myriad problems, return it.
Another option: Voice your device’s issues on social media, Google’s Pixel User Community forum or Apple’s Support Communities, and Reddit. Phone makers won’t be forced to reevaluate their standards and improve them to meet customer feedback if they aren’t aware there are problems.
After all, we are paying more for our phones. “We’ll fix it later” isn’t acceptable. It should never be.