Saturday, June 09, 2012

Sony, Dearest, You Gotta Do Better Than This

I have an Android phone, by Sony. I have an iPod. When Apple releases new firmware for the iPod, it gets installed when I attach it to iTunes. There's a bit of a terms & conditions, a click-through license, it gets downloaded, it works. When Google releases a new version of Android, I have to hope my hardware vendor adapts it to my hardware. Sony usually does—which is why I bought Sony—and indeed, I can now updates my Sony Xperia Mini Pro, to Android 4.0, "Ice Cream Sandwich".

Perhaps. On my Mac. But the whole nonsense starts out with a warning. The phone management program on my Mac, akin to iTunes but made by Sony to run my Sony phone, shows a screen saying that before you can upgrade you need to read some messages. Only after you click on the hyperlink that opens a page in the browser, can you go to the next screen. Why that warning had to open up a whole new browser instead of stay in the management program, well, I can take a guess how stupid fiefdowms and deadlines and managers made that happen, but I won't here.

What is this important notice? It's a warning:

What the hell, people? A coded warning this may kill how well my phone works, as the first bullet, without even outright saying it? WTF? You are giving me the most fundamental piece of software without even having the balls to tell me how good or bad it will be? You made my phone, you should know this, Sony. And only have released this upgrade for my device when you were sure it made my device better. Not 'may'. The rest of the buller points are kind of dumb too, but I will not get into that.

Look, making things difficult and clunky may be acceptable for cheap devices; everyone knows one trades money for convenience. But the Xperia line is not some bargain-basement device. This is contempt for the user, this is laziness, this is outmoded behavior. Apple has changed the baseline of what acceptable is, and this throwback to twentieth century 'let the consumer struggle' is just not cutting it any more.

Every time Sony posts another disastrous quarter we get a thought spreading that Apple should buy Sony. But why would they? Sony seems to be filled with people who think not caring about how the product, once bought, continues to work for their consumers is acceptable.

Needless to say, once I click through this and Continue, of course the update never happens. I get the message that some Update Manager—is that a process on my computer? My phone? The Internet?—isn't working and I should contact tech support. I wouldn't even know what that would look like or what they could possibly say to help.