So the same day I published my previous post on ditching my Android, a customer service guy from US Cellular named Tom pinged me on Twitter and asked for my email address so he could respond. I sent it to him, and he responded with a 1000-word treatise trying to address some of my points.
Highlights from his side of the story:
Android OS Updates
Samsung actually stopped releasing software updates for all 1st generation Samsung Galaxy S devices. Samsung made the decision that this line of devices would not get an official Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0x or Jelly Bean 4.1x update.
This is much like Apple no longer supporting older hardware be it OSX Lion on an older Macbook or IOS 6 on an older iphone. As the software requirements are greater, older technology is rendered obsolete.
OK, so it’s not US Cellular’s fault, or Google’s fault – it’s Samsung’s fault. Still, his comparison to Apple/iPhone is misguided. As I pointed out in my original post, if I’d bought even the older iPhone (3GS) available back in December 2010, it would still be able to pick up the IOS 6 upgrade later this year. Advantage: iPhone.
Backing up an Android device is a different story. If you are looking for ways to back up specific application data, then there isn’t much I have found out there to do this…
To be fair, he notes that you can use Google to keep your calendar, contacts, and mail in sync w/ your Google account. But still, otherwise, he concedes the point. Android’s backup solutions all suck, and to do a full apps/settings backup requires you to root your phone and void the warranty.
This is something that has only been getting better with newer hardware and software. My Galaxy S II for example has never had any issues with freezing up. My wife has the Mesmerize and from time to time will have issues with certain applications causing her phone to freeze. The Galaxy S III is in a ballpark all of its own. The hardware and software is much more advanced then even the Galaxy S II…
At this point it feels like he’s starting to quote from the promotional literature. In short: yeah, your current phone (which we sold you as top-of-the-line 20 months ago) sucks, but trust us, it’s getting better. Oh wow, I feel so much better with that reassurance! Or not.
Phone/Signal/Software issues you’ve had.
It’s clear you have had issues with your phone. I do not doubt that at all. How much of this has been caused by rooting and putting different roms on the phone is unknown and can be debatable.
Ha, I knew it’d come back to this. When it comes down to brass tacks, I’ll get blamed for rooting it. But I digress.
I’ve seen the back button issue before. This can be caused by many things, from internal cracks in the digitizer, software related issues, internal hardware malfunctions, or even a screen protector not being put on the phone correctly. Your statement about it only happening in low-signal situations is the first I’ve heard this and will definitely be looking at that more closely.
Oh, great. He’ll look at it more closely. That helps me a lot.
I emailed him back with a short rebuttal, thanking him for his time. Yeah, US Cellular has been great customer service-wise. But I only use Customer Service maybe once a year. I use my phone every day. If I have to pick between one or the other, I’ll go with the phone.
I sent one last email to Tom at the end of last week, with my final summary, and an offer:
I appreciate your desire to keep me as a customer, but at this point I don’t have the time/inclination to continue a debate on the merits of Android/iPhone. I’m sure that Samsung has improved things significantly now with the Galaxy S3; however, I’m not willing right now to spend $300, mess around with a rebate, and commit to another 2 years of service to take a chance on the new Android after my previous experience, especially when I know my alternative (once my contract runs out in December) is to purchase a phone that has uniformly brilliant reviews from friends and family members.
If US Cellular wanted to provide me with an S3 at a much-reduced price, and without requiring me to re-up my contract, I’d be happy to give it a fair evaluation, a review on my blog, and return it if I still decide that I want an iPhone. (I’m not expecting that from USCC, but that’s about what it’d take at this point to get me to consider the S3.)
To this point, I haven’t heard back from Tom. I don’t really expect them to take me up on my offer.
The new iPhone can’t come soon enough.