Sprint Needs to Step Up: Android/Evo Error Messages

Back in July I dumped my iPhone for a new Evo from Sprint. I have enjoyed the phone (yeah the battery life sucks) and services (LOVE the mobile hotspot functionality!) however there has been a single persistent problem that has been causing me grief and it’s time for Sprint to step up and fix it.

When Sprint made the Android 2.2 update available I installed it on my relatively new Evo… I had it just a few weeks. Immediately following the update I started getting “android.process.acore” error messages and a force close message where the app I was using would, well, force close (how very Mac). Sprint replaced the handset 3 times and each time following the upgrade I started getting error messages.

The last time it was replaced I told the Sprint store to just update the software and provision the handset and I would pick it up… still generating the error messages. Clearly this is not a problem with apps I may be running as the last update was done on a virgin handset by Sprint and it’s still happening.

The local Sprint store told me today that a software update that has not been previously disclosed and for which no details are available would resolve this issue, however, not surprisingly I guess, a date has not been made available.

Out of frustration I called Sprint technical support and an indignant support rep told me 2.2 was “defective” and nobody should update to it and if I hard reset my phone it would go back to the old version. Anyone who has done the hard reset knows it does not roll back the ROM to a previous system software update, and to my knowledge the only way to do this would be to root the phone and install the earlier RUU file with the appropriate utility. Irrespective of technical details, an unpublished fix that consists of going back to an earlier version of the software really isn’t a fix at all.

Sprint needs to step up, there are other people having this error messages post 2.2 and it does render the phone impaired, for example if when writing an email you get this message the email app is shut down and your message is gone with it.

PS- Apple hardware/software has problems but the defining aspect of their customer support response is that they take ownership for fixing what isn’t right.

UPDATE: My friend @mmasnick had a Google engineer look at this problem and they determined that the HTC Facebook app is the culprit. I could not remove the app as it is a default app and deleting it requires rooting the handset, however, I removed the Facebook account attached to that app and the android.process.acore error has stopped.

Google, the Wisdom of Crowds and Conventional Wisdom

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about crowdsourcing and whether or not the benefits suggested by proponents are overstated. It’s not that crowdsourcing doesn’t have value, the problem I have with it when applied to generalized questions is that the result often mirrors the conventional wisdom on any given subject. It’s not surprising, we are informed by the information environment that we reside in and with the diversity of media the leads to an ability to self-select information to reinforce previously held beliefs.

History is replete with spectacular examples of conventional wisdom that turned out to be very wrong and I’m not talking simply about long ago examples like Galileo’s challenge in convincing people the earth was not the center of the universe; anyone who watches Mad Men will know that in the 1960s the conventional wisdom was that smoking was not harmful (interestingly enough, even among doctors).

Today came the perfect example to highlight with regard to conventional wisdom, and from an unlikely place… Google. One of my Enterprise Irregular colleagues points out the supposed absurdity of Google attempting to call growth in display and mobile advertising an example of success in diversifying their business.

Let’s put aside whether or not this is actually diversification (for the record, I believe it is) and consider the criticism that Google receives for not being diversified. More pointedly, why do they need to diversify? They dominate a very large and sustainable marketplace and invest accordingly to remain on the forward edge of the technology curve, advertisers and users alike seem pretty happy with them, and most significantly, they are generating a massive amount of free cash (I’m tempted to say more than any other public company at this point but I’m not sure how financial companies stack up by comparison).

Why diversify if you can claim all those attributes? The answer is conventional wisdom has it that successful companies exist outside of the realm of a single industry or single product focus. This view is very industrial era, when car companies diversified into heavy trucks and chemical companies added plastics to their product portfolio, but it has also been used by some of histories best known technology companies to justify their expansion investments… Microsoft in gaming comes to mind immediately.

I am pretty comfortable with the idea that it isn’t essential to diversify if your market is large and growing at a rate well above the market as an average, and your economics and dominant market position are sustainable. Why would you risk the distraction?