I came very close to calling this post “The Motorola Q Turd”, but I thought that was a little brash. After all, I have had it for about 8 months and at times it was a good phone and I even talked about it being close to Nirvana at one point.
My troubles began last fall after Moto provided a firmware update that allowed push mail from Exchange. Some good things in that firmware update where that the phone was more responsive and push mail is HUGE. But, my phone started turning itself off, and I wasn’t able to reliably make/receive phone calls or sync data.
So, I submitted bugs to the Windows Mobile team. They came back and said that both were known issues and were due to Moto/Verizon’s implementation of Windows Mobile on the hardware.
- The issue of it powering off is most likely due to Moto deciding that even in Device Lock mode, holding the power button shuts off the device. There are two types of locks on the Q: keylock and device lock. The security policies pushed down from our Exchange servers force device lock, which mean that you have to enter a password to use the phone. The theory is that the power button (aka the end call button) gets bumped in the holster, backpack, or purse (not mine of course) and powers off the phone. Keylock works correctly in that it won’t let you power off the phone. The Cingular blackjack is much better in this regard because it has a discrete power button on the top of the unit where it is less likely to get bumped.
- The issue of it not being able to receive or make calls or data is blamed on the radio stack. Radio stacks are created by the provider and optimized for their network. In the case of the Q, the radio stack goes buh-bye and screws up a bunch of stuff including voice calls, data, and even its ability to detect the battery being charged. Often times when it was in this state, I would plug it in to the charger (not USB) and noticed that it wouldn’t change the charging display icon, and if I left it plugged in overnight the battery would not be charged in the morning. Pulling the battery was the only fix.
In late November, the phone refused to boot up. Verizon quickly replaced it with another Q, which I thought would be a good because it would eliminate any hardware problems that might have caused the phone to have these issues.
The problems persisted, and while I was skiing with my son in December, an avalanche closed the highway near the resort we were at. My panicked wife tried all morning to call me because we had only passed through that area 30 minutes before the avalanche occurred. At lunch I finally tried to call her and the radio stack was frozen. I pulled the battery, and when the phone came back up I had service and 3 frantic voicemails with my wife in tears, not good. I caught a lot of crap that day all because of the stupid phone.
I contacted Verizon in January to determine what my options were because this phone was not meeting my needs. I was told that I was locked into a 2 year contract and that I would have to pay retail to upgrade to another phone (no business discount). I escalated with customer service, they wouldn’t budge. I contacted the Microsoft account manager and he engaged a local engineer. We determined that I didn’t have the latest firmware on the phone from Moto, so we upgraded. Again, I thought my issues were over. Not even close, all the same problems except now my Bluetooth would not reliably see my headset and wouldn’t always detect that it had a gateway (allowing me to use Voice Command via a button on the headset). I gave 2 months of due diligence to troubleshooting, and I am no better off. In fact yesterday, my wife needed me to come help make a huge financial decision and couldn’t get a hold of me because the turd was off again!
Verizon has offered to allow me to buy another phone now at our discounted price, but in no way is offering any money back because their implementation stinks. At this point, I am going to pay the $175 to terminate my relationship with them and am switching to the Treo 750 from Cingular.
I hate being in a position where I have to discourage people from buying something that runs Microsoft software. But IMHO, there are some big flaws in the Mobile Device ecosystem because Microsoft makes the OS, a hardware vendor makes the phone and drivers, the provider makes the radio stack, and all of them can change little parts of the OS. Is there too much freedom or too many chefs in the kitchen? I think so. I have heard that Treo is doing a much better job in owning the entire platform, so I will give them a try.
I wish Verizon would have worked with me a bit more, especially after determining these were issues that they own. Wouldn’t it be great if they had customer service like Bose?