Anyone surprised that Samsung Mobile profits have crashed?

Tuesday 2 December 2014 @ 6:20 pm

Not me. The Q3 results showed a steep decline in profits (over 60%) caused by weak demand for the shitty Samsung Galaxy S5. Serves ’em bloody right.

The S5 was launched in a blaze of the usual publicity earlier this year and has failed to live up to expectations. It’s not hard to see why either. Like the S3 and the S4 and pretty much all of the so called flagship mobiles, the Galaxy S5 has no compelling value proposition to encourage users to upgrade. Hell, it doesn’t even have a quarter of a value proposition.

The heart rate monitor shite is as dumb as it sounds, the screen is far too big and the battery life is beaten to a pulp by the far more desirable and elegant Sony Xperia range which has also been dust proof and water proof for years, long before Samsung decided to jump on that particular bandwagon.

That leaves the fingerprint sensor (shyeah, riiight) and 16MP camera. Fair enough, the camera will do the job but you’d need your head examined to buy the S5 just for the camera. As for the fingerprint sensor crap, this is supposed to allow you to make payments and unlock the phone and used for other security features. Only problem is that it’s not half as useful as the Apple version so don’t expect it to work. As with pretty much everything Android, it’s all buggy, laggy, sub optimal and offers the kind of end user experience that you leaves you snorting in derision.

Oh, and if you were expecting a premium finish, tough, it’s the same plastic crap, albeit with a mock leather back thing, that Apple fanboys will be mocking you again for like they have the last two years. The flagship phones from Huawei, a company far more on the ball with Android than Samsung, put the S5 to shame and are far more premium.

So there’s nothing on the hardware side but what about the software side? Specifically Samsung TouchWiz? Well, if you like the worst kind of bloatware that can’t be removed and that comes with two versions of everything, Google’s snooping apps rubbish and Samsung’s feeble stocking filler version that nobody will never ever use, then this is the handset for you.

No surprise then that there are warehouses full of Samsung Galaxy S5 stock which they can’t shift for love or money and which has accelerated the development for the next pointless version of this shitastic mobile. Samsung have said they are going to reduce the number of mobiles they bring to market (currently around 20) and focus more on the ones they do which is every bit as vague as it sounds. They might want to start by making a smaller, and by that I mean sub 4” screen, more premium handset with a useful battery life instead of being locked in the ridiculous hardware race with ever more ludicrous specs.

Welcome news then for any change in direction by Samsung, but don’t go expecting anything revolutionary. For a lot of people, Android means Samsung and those sheeple will happily buy anything with a Samsung sticker slapped all over that plastic casing. Plus, with a market as crowded and as stupid as the Android one, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate against other more compelling handsets.

If Samsung are to move back into the black, they will have to do a lot more than just churn out yet another tired Galaxy handset with a few rubbish upgrades.

Random Annoyances: Tiny Notification LED’s

Sunday 1 June 2014 @ 10:46 pm

What is the point of adding an LED to a mobile phone to notify the user of an event and then making the LED so tiny that you can’t see the fucking notification unless you’re standing right over the phone with a pair of binoculars?

Fair enough, there’s no need for a huge light that could ward off ships from a craggy coastline but neither is there any point in having an LED that makes it next to impossible at actually seeing if you have a missed event.

For years now, HTC have been the worst culprits, offering a tiny prick of an LED housed inside the speaker grill. You have absolutely no chance of seeing it unless you’re perpendicular to the phone and even moving a little to the side completely obscures the LED.

Why? Was it really so difficult to add a proper LED that you can actually see from across the room instead of something that’s barely bigger than a pinhead?

Time and time again, companies screw up even basic functionality that’s really not rocket science and HTC should know better.

But you know what? If HTC can’t be bothered to make their phones properly, I sure as hell can’t be bothered to entertain the idea of buying one.

MobileBitz – experts in selling overpriced crap

Saturday 17 May 2014 @ 10:41 pm

If you’ve visited any of the main shopping malls across the UK, chances are that you’ve come across a shitty little kiosk selling mobile tat staffed by grunting imbeciles who barely speak English. Welcome to MobileBitz.

These purveyors of cheap, overpriced crap are experts in selling you poor quality cases, screen protectors, guards and all other manner of Chinese rejects and knockoffs for your beloved mobile. I don’t have a problem with that at all. If you want to pay £10 for a faux PU leather case that fits an iPhone as snugly as an iron maiden and costs about 50p to make in a Chinese sweatshop then go for it.

However, be advised that these cowboys are only interested in taking your money.

Want a refund? Feck you.

Shoddy quality so case no fit properly? Feck you.

Sold the wrong accessory because the imbecile barely speaks English? Feck you again.

What about my consumer rights? Hahaha, me feck you big time.

In short, they have a policy of no refunds and exchanges only allowed within 2 weeks of purchase if it falls within a full moon period. Which is handy if you are visiting another part of the country.

So if you are looking for quality mobile accessories do yourself a favour and avoid MobileBitz like the plague infested pit it is. You owe it yourself and that 500 quid mobile in your pocket for something far better.

New iPhone, same old muppets queuing like iDiots

Friday 20 September 2013 @ 6:32 pm

With the new iPhone out today, and I use the term new in the loosest sense, the same motley crew of brain dead sheep across the world have been queuing cult like to get their grasping mitts on one so they can boast about the “accomplishment”. First in line at the Regent Street store was 17 year old muppet Noah Green who has been there for four days and refused to give up his first place in the queue when offered £5k. The deluded fool apparently said he “would have considered it for £10k”.

Fair enough if you’re queuing to get one and sell it on for a healthy profit, there are plenty of gullible fools who are not quite stupid enough to stand in line for one but will happily pay a couple of grand for an iPhone on launch day. And another thing; why do the queues always comprise a refugee column of assorted illegal asylum seekers who all look as though they can’t speak a word of English and have just come from the benefits office? Seriously, looking at the hoards of people, you wouldn’t think they’d spend 7 quid on a phone let alone 700 notes.

BlackBerry shares plunge 29% on $84 million loss

Friday 28 June 2013 @ 10:32 pm

Looks like the new OS10 has changed nothing for BlackBerry and the Canadian firm continues to rack up huge losses. It’s not hard to see why either, the new OS is rubbish. BlackBerry used to be the phone for the discerning professional, a proper messaging tool for grown ups that did everything quickly, efficiently and without fuss.

With the advent of touchscreens phone however, BlackBerry decided to chuck away everything that made the platform so good and replace it with a dreadful gesture based swipe heavy OS that’s about as intuitive as a Japanese game show. In a cack handed attempt to attract a few more punters with social media friendly “features”, BlackBerry seemed to have forgotten that people buy BlackBerry’s because they are BlackBerry’s and excel at messaging, not because they want to check their shitty Facebook with a touch screen mobile.

And let’s not forget the hardware which is overpriced and has ditched the proper hardware call and end buttons together with the ultra useful optical trackpad. Incredibly, the new handsets still omit basics like a proper FM radio. Oh, and you still can’t silence the shutter noise which just comes across as plain arrogance.

Quite frankly, other than proper push email, which you have to pay for anyway, there’s absolutely no compelling reason to buy a new OS10 handset. And that’s sad for a company which used to make by far the best business oriented mobiles.

BlackBerry Messenger coming to Android and iPhone on 27 June 2013

Thursday 6 June 2013 @ 10:25 pm

As a self-confessed BlackBerry fan, I still can’t decide whether or not a cross platform BlackBerry Messenger is a good idea.

BBM is a compelling value proposition for owning a BlackBerry and the best instant messenger by a huge, huge mile. In comparison, WhatsApp is OK but it’s generally a buggy, battery draining bloat-fest that has gained traction purely by being cross platform compatible. BBM not only blows it away in terms of reliability, functionality, scalability, ease-of-use, flexibility and security, it takes the blown up WhatsApp pieces, smashes it into smaller smithereens and feeds them to the mangy pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

That leaves Viber which seems marginally less buggy but at least is free. Like WhatsApp though, it relies on exposing your phone number so forget any idea about security or unwanted spam.

On the one hand, BlackBerry are stupid by releasing BBM on other platforms because it neatly removes at a single stroke, the sole USP for owning a BlackBerry in the first place. A lot of people buy a BlackBerry solely for BBM and the bullet-proof email. Taking this way gives them no reason to buy a BlackBerry or stick with a BB handset.

On the other hand however, making BBM cross platform is a smart move because it means that those with a BB will no longer feel compelled to jump ship just so they can message other platforms for free. It might also attract newbies to BlackBerry who wanted a secure instant messenger par excellence but were put off by all their mates having Androids and iPhones.

I really don’t want to see BlackBerry handset’s disappear from the market, you can’t beat them for anything remotely message related. However, I can’t help feeling that BlackBerry deserve an Epic Fail for foisting the dreadful gesture driven OS 10 upon us and getting rid of the optical trackpad in a silly attempt to try and pick up a few crumbs in the useless touch-screen segment.

Samsung Galaxy S4 – same old rubbish, slightly better build quality

Friday 17 May 2013 @ 9:46 pm

Another year, another pointless handset release by Samsung who are hell bent on hogging the entire Android market with an endless stream of tiresome Galaxy handsets, each slightly different from the last but with the same tired look and creaky build quality. Hats off to Samsung though, at least they’ve tried to make an effort with the S4, albeit a half assed one; instead of the usual tactic of making their flagship handset look like it’s been covered with glue and then dipped into a bucket of the cheapest plastic available without causing offence, the S4 actually has a sliver of metal around the edge that makes it as nice as a Samsung can be. Sure, it’s no oil painting and the metal isn’t real, and both the iPhone and HTC One beat it to a pulp in the quality stakes, but it’s a start.

Dimensions are still ludicrous but in a good way; it’s the same size as last years rubbish S3 but has a larger screen. Does make you wonder though, why didn’t they just do that with the S3 last year. All these touchscreen handsets are way too big anyway but if you’re determined to get a moby the size of a jumbo pitta bread, might as well get something that maximises the space.

The accompanying software additions are the usual lame gimmicks. This time round we have air gestures and a smart view. Neither will save you any time, neither is a must-have feature and neither will be the reason you buy an S4.

The handset is 4G enabled for anyone stupid enough to fall for this overpriced scam. Here in the UK you can’t even get a reliable 3G signal let alone 4G. Worst of all though, Samsung has removed the FM radio from the S4 citing that most users listen to streaming radio now over the Internet so there’s no need for an FM hardware solution. Of course, this is utter bullshit and whoever made that call at Samsung deserves a right royal slap because streaming radio is as rubbish as it sounds.

So the Galaxy S4 then; overpriced, oversized and overrated, basically the same crap as the S3. Roll on the next pointless update to this inbred collection of monotonous malingering mobiles.

Rubbish Ribbon in Office 2007 (and later) makes a chore of simple work

Sunday 12 May 2013 @ 10:29 pm

Long before Windows 7 came along to bog down everyone’s working day with stupid changes that made no sense, Microsoft had already cornered the market in dumb-ass interfaces by releasing the frankly quite dreadful Office 2007.

God, I hate this piece of shit software, an object lesson if every there was in churning out a package for no discernable reason other than to alienate existing users in a pathetic attempt to justify yet another pointless upgrade with “new” features nobody asked for. The Ribbon takes everything that was intuitive, familiar and easy to use from the Office suite, stretching as far back as 1991 during the days of Word 2.0, and throws it all away in the name of “progress” to replace it with an obscure and counter intutive mess of an interface.

There is absolutely nothing, repeat nothing, of genuine usefulness in the new versions of Office. The Ribbon ensures that anything you frequently use now takes twice as many clicks to achieve whilst hiding away the more common tasks into stupidly categorised menu’s so you spend more time buggering around trying to find a particular function than you do actually being productive.

Then there’s the size of the Ribbon; take your pick from Ludicrously Expanded which resembles an oversized supermarket shelf packed with end-of-life rubbish nobody buys or Contracted Hairline with nothing to show that makes it about as appropriate as a flame retardant bonfire.

Did I mention the default font has also changed so any doc you open in an older version of Office now looks complete cack? That is if you actually manage to save the doc in the first place to open in a friendlier package, the default format has now changed from the universally used .doc to the new .docx which is a pain in the ass since it requires older versions of Office to download a convertor just to open the document.

If you’re in the unfortunate position of having to use Office 2007 or later, do yourself a favour and grab an old copy of Office 2003 if you want to retain your sanity. Office 2003 is the last decent version of Office and will do everything you need quickly, simply and without any fuss.

However, if you’re forced to use the later versions of Office, a passable workaround is to switch off the damn Ribbon crap and customise the top toolbar with all the icons from your favourite Office version. Sure, it might take a good 10 minutes putting on there but at least you’ll have all your functions exactly where they belong and in the order you want them.

Bloated Avast turns into a hog

Monday 25 March 2013 @ 11:25 pm

As is the case with most software packages that start off lean and mean and then slowly begin to bloat, Avast antivirus is the latest to heave its blubber onto the groaning bandwagon under the guise of “improvements”.

I’ve used the free version of Avast antivirus for years and it always served its purpose well. Fast to load, minimal impact on system resources, comprehensive protection without impeding usability and capable of working on older hardware.

Last years’ version 7 started the inevitable decline to crapulence when toaster ads started appearing with virus updates and the journey to the hog factory is complete with the latest release, version 8 that proudly boasts an interface straight from the Windows 8 bumper book of Offensive GUI’s. Version 7 was just about palatable but this new version 8 is rude, obnoxious, full of hidden software updates without prompting the user and worst of all, leaves behind a venerable sewer of software flotsam and shit if you try to remove the app. If there’s one thing I hate on a PC, it’s an arrogant software package that refuses to cleanly uninstall.

Upgrading your existing version 7 of Avast to version 8 promptly installs the auto software updater and tries to slip in some Google crapware without user interaction. Then, when you fire it up, you’re presented with the new Avast GUI that wastes no time in punting a feeble collection of rubbish Avast software that nobody will ever need along with ads, social media junk and other crap designed to annoy and slow down your PC.

Then there’s the actual bloat itself. Running on both XP and Windows 7, boot times have vastly inflated and the whole system just feels far more sluggish. Open up the GUI and it’s not difficult to see why; despite your current version 7 custom installation, Avast 8 will see fit to install all the shields whether you want them or not.

Now you might say well it’s a free app so some degree of advertising is acceptable and that for a free package it’s pretty damn good. I disagree. I’d argue for a free app, it’s far too aggressive in shoving ads in your face and given that there are far more agreeable alternatives available, it’s time to get rid of Avast for good and kick it into the bin marked “sod off”.

As for replacements, I’m going with the freeware Panda Cloud Anti Virus version 2. It’s lightweight, unobtrusive, has a panda face for an icon, doesn’t bombard you with ads and offers a nice tidy single interface with no fuss or annoying toaster ads. I’ve used this on a few PC’s over the last year and it’s time to move over for good.

Avast can stay in the pig farm and continue wallowing in its own slurry of lame ass advertising.

New BlackBerry Z10 fails to impress

Thursday 7 February 2013 @ 12:38 am

Now I’m a big fan of BlackBerry’s; they’re brutally efficient and with bullet proof messaging and the best keyboard in the market, a proper serious tool for the business user without all the teeny social media shit that other companies are obsessed with. After a numerous delays and promises, the new BlackBerry Z10 handset has finally been launched. And what a total fuckin’ disappointment it’s turned out to be.

It’s difficult to know where to start. Everything is so different and obtuse that core BlackBerry users’ will be alienated whilst new users are unlikely to be attracted to the gesture heavy interface. And therein lies the heart of the problem, the new OS 10 relies on you having to learn different types of swipes and gestures to just accomplish the bare basics. Gone is the ultra efficient optical trackpad and its replacement is the new all touchscreen shit, the very thing that a BlackBerry absolutely doesn’t need. Not only are touchscreens a pain in the ass to use, they’re uncomfortable for power users simply because you can’t use them very well single handed, there are no keyboard shortcuts and by mere fact of having to swipe and touch all over the screen, finger fatigue soon sets in. Or to put it another way, touchscreens are about as ergonomic as a thumb screw.

Then there is the software and OS 10 itself. Rather than being innovative, the new BlackBerry has taken all the rubbish bits from other platforms such as deep social media integration, NFC and a cursor that hasn’t got a cats chance in hell of being positioned correctly for text editing, and then just made it even worse by removing the best bits of the old BlackBerry OS. That means no separate email inbox icons, no personalised notification sounds and no “delete from device & server” option.

The camera still can’t be silenced when taking pictures and there’s still no bloody FM radio available. As for the much vaunted peek functionality, it’s a pain in the ass to use because it relies on yet another stupid gesture (up and right). The fact is most people buy BlackBerry’s for the superior emailing capabilities and are unlikely to be doing much else with it.

Oh yes, almost forgot; there’s no mass USB storage mode (you have to install a bloody driver) and the battery is no better than your average run-of-the-mill Android handset.

You often see BlackBerry users owning two phones and the reason for that is simply because a BlackBerry cannot be beaten for messaging but it’s pretty much average for everything else. The Z10 and OS 10 provided a real window of opportunity to offer a genuinely new value proposition that does away with a business phone and a personal phone. Unfortunately, this new handset from BlackBerry does neither very well at all.