Orange Being Dishonest About Their Froyo Release?

As you’re aware, Froyo has been out for owners of unbranded phones since the start of August.  Now it’s been one and a half months and in that time we’ve seen a couple of networks releasing the update such as Vodafone and O2 (who pulled the updated shortly due to bugs) but users of other networks have still been waiting for this update.  T-Mobile say they’re still well on track for a late September release, rumour has it that Three may not even be getting the update (can’t confirm as even the Three staff seem to be contradicting themselves) but today the spotlight falls on Orange who promised a mid-September update and when they failed to deliver decided to push the blame on HTC.

When Froyo was released, conorfromorange (PR Manager for Orange) posted a Tweet on 2 August saying:

We are working with HTC to bring the 2.2 Android update to Desire customers as soon as we can. This process normally takes about four weeks

Since that date, their customers waited patiently (or impatiently in some cases), the 4 weeks came to pass at the start of September and still no update.  That’s fair enough considering 4 weeks was an guideline, not a fixed release date.

After, since the start of September, conor has posted several Tweets that seem to be blaming HTC for the delayed update and not themselves:

27 August (link):
Android fans there has been a delay in receiving the 2.2 Froyo update from HTC, & we now expect it to be available mid-Sep. Apologies

7 September (link):
@CKrypt1 Hey, mid-September for Froyo as previously tweeted http://bit.ly/cnqpux

15 September (link):
HTC told us they’ve had issues with the update, but these are now resolved. So we’re just waiting for them to give finl partner approval

15 September (link):
Apols for the delay guys. We’ve been told to expect it shortly – think days rather than weeks!

BUT, when a MyHTCDesire reader decided to email HTC to find out why they were holding up Orange and their Froyo update, HTC replied with an email clarifying the situation and denying the accusations coming from Orange about it all being HTCs fault:

Dear xxx, Thank you for your email. The upgrade is authorised for release for unbranded devices at the same time it is released to network providers. In this case, Vodafone and O2 have had the new software for the same amount of time as Orange have had. I apologise for the incorrect information they have given you. The software is in their hands, it is their responsibility to release it to their customers. If you have any further questions, please contact me again. To send a reply to this message or let me know I have successfully answered your question log in to our ContactUs site using your email address and your ticket number XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Sincerely,

Martin

HTC

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The message from HTC clearly states that Froyo has been available to ALL mobile networks since HTC released the unbranded version, which would be the start of August.  They also go on to say that customised and releasing the update is the responsibility of each network provider, not HTCs.

Additionally, when the reader who sent the email above called Orange a few days ago, he was told that the update is still being tested and would be released in 2 weeks which contradicts conor’s promise of “days rather than weeks”.

To be clear, the issue isn’t that the update has been delayed.  Delays for any software-based products are to be expected and even HTC are known to slip up – when I was on my HTC Hero they were promising Android 2.0 last December, then said that wouldn’t be released and they’d release 2.1 in January instead and even that wasn’t released until June, by which time I’d long sold the Hero and got the Desire instead!  The concern is that why are Orange constantly blaming HTC for the delay when HTC have cleanly denied being responsible?

In all fairness, if Orange keep to their promise of a few days then they’ve still done a better job than the other networks. Only Vodafone have made a successful release so far.

Personally, I really think the networks shouldn’t even be allowed to brand their phones.  If it was done within a reasonable timeframe and actually improved the user experience then it would be a different story.  When it’s the first major update to one of the best phones available at the moment, and customers are being forced to wait before receiving an update that’s been available to their friends with unbranded phones for 2 months just so that networks can cripple the update with their own bloatware then it’s really unfair on those customers.  It’s a poor of way of taking advantage of the lack of alternative that the customers have.  All the networks do it, so it’s not as if people can threaten to leave and join another network.

Are you on Orange, and have you heard any news from them regarding Froyo?  I’ll try contacting conorfromorange to see what he has to say on the issue.

Angry Birds Is Finally Out, For Free!

This morning Rovio announced the news that the full version their long awaited Android game is finally available; and on top of that they also announced that the game is completely free of charge (but contains adverts).

Anyone running a rooted phone with adblock enabled obviously won’t even get the ads, but if you want to support Rovio then you will be able to buy an ad-free version in the near future.
Rumour has it that the ad-free version will be released on the Android Market after they’ve pushed 10,000 free copies (I’d be surprised if that number isn’t already reached) but only time will tell.

Download

They’ve currently submitted the free version to the Android Market, so it will be available on there within 24 hours.  In the meantime, they’ve also published a copy of it on GetJar but unfortunately their servers are currently down due to the overwhelming demand of this game!

Just to make things easier for readers, I’ve uploaded the game and you can download it from here

UPDATE: It’s now in the Android Market, here’s the QR code (click it if you’re browsing on your phone):

Bye Bye to Unlimited Data from O2

Yesterday I received the letter below from O2, it comes only a week after receiving a text message saying:

You’ve gone over your data allowance on your mobile.  You need to cut down or get a bigger Bolt On to keep using the internet.

To be totally honest, I can’t remember even using so much data in the past couple of months.  The most data usage on my phone is emails which definitely don’t require a huge data allowance.  I can’t even remember last time I used YouTube on it, none of the apps I’ve installed have been that big, and I tend to use WiFi for browsing because 3G is sluggishly slow at work anyway.

As they wrote in the letter, they could just completely disable my mobile Internet if I happen to go over my data allowance again (supposed to be “unlimited*”), which I guess is better than getting a huge bill, but is still quite ridiculous when I can’t even seem to recall using that much data in the first place.

On top of that, from what I’m told by readers on Twitter, the O2 data allowance limit should only apply to new customers whereas I’m 10 months into my contract.

Either way, I think that O2 have really taken the Boris with this.  When Vodafone introduced their 500MB limit there was an outcry, but O2s policy seems to be even worse.
With Vodafone you can receive up to 3 warnings, and then have to pay £5 for an extra 500MB, with O2 they can decide whenever they want to cut your data connection and that’s it.  The only alternative is to pay £15 extra for 3GB – not gonna happen!

I’ve spoke to O2 this evening, and they definitely haven’t been able to increase my data allowance so I’ve requested my PAC.  I’m switching to GiffGaff, who are a subsidiary network owned by O2, but they promise unlimited data – they just don’t want people using it for tethering so don’t use it as a WiFi Hotspot!  One of the advantages of GiffGaff is that you’re not tied into a contract. You could try their service, and if they aren’t up to scratch, or if they unfairly change their terms like O2 or Vodafone then it should be pretty easy to move on to another network provider.

Unlimited – At giffgaff ‘unlimited’ means ‘unlimited’, so play fair and play nice, so it stays that way.

Here’s the letter from O2: