Why smartphones aren’t clever

On Wikipedia, and from other similar sources, one can read something to the effect of

A smartphone is a full-featured mobile phone with personal computer like functionality. Most smartphones are camera phones that support full featured email capabilities with the functionality of a complete personal organizer. An important feature of most smartphones is that applications for enhanced data processing and connectivity can be installed on the device, by contrast to regular phones which support sandboxed applications. These applications may be developed by the manufacturer of the device, by the operator or by any other third-party software developer. “Smart” functionality includes any additional interface including a miniature QWERTY keyboard, a touch screen, or even just secure access to company mail, such as is provided by a BlackBerry

Today, I had the questionable privilege of witnessing two very modern "smartphones" being unable to complete the simplest of tasks. My wife is evaluating a HTC S710. Before she can really use it, she has to move contacts, calendar entries, etc. from her current Sony Ericsson P990i. The usefulness of a common SIM-card standard is long gone, but there are a number of other ways of doing this. Some involve bridging the gap with Outlook, others by means of using some sort of synchronizer. If you don’t have a zillion entries, BT-zapping (using Bluetooth to transfer one or more entries from one device to the other) seems like a logical path.

Only, transferring more than one entry at a time fails miserably. The HTC cannot receive multiple records/entries. If this is a failure on HTC’s part or the fault of SonyEricsson’s P990i, I don’t know; and I don’t care. What gets me is that these two “smartphones” are very recent. The HTC S710 is the company’s first Windows Mobile 6.0 smartphone (and they decided not to 3G it, yay).

The manufacturers and network providers talk the talk, but they sure as hell don’t walk the walk. How can something as simple as transferring multiple contact records from one phone to another, using a “standardized protocol” (let’s not be too picky) cause problems for two such “professional” products? This has me timewarped back to the days of Xmodem/CRC and Xmodem/Checksum problems (“You know you can alwas rely on the simplest of the protocols like Xmodem if everything else fails”).

It’s time these manufacturers get their head out of whatever hole they’ve got it stuck in, get seated around a huge round table, and sort this out. There are no excuses for this. For this “one world”, “one connection”, “one people” bullshit to work, we need to have devices that can communicate with each other using some form of lowest common denominator when everything fails. The SIM card stopped being that for mobile phones a long time ago. Wake up and smell the maple nut crunch!

** What we’ve got here is…failure to communicate **

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