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Trouble Understanding the Phenomenon...

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by MrDavid, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. MrDavid

    MrDavid Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'm about five days into my first Android phone, coming from the last seven or so years on Blackberry and... well, I'm having trouble understanding the Android hype. Perhaps some Android fans here can show me the light, because I'm about ready to send this thing back and buy another BB. I really want to love this platform, but I'm hitting one roadblock after another.

    The Galaxy is quite beautiful. It's the right size, the screen looks amazing, it takes great photos, and it's crazy fast on 4G-LTE. So far, so good.

    What I don't understand is:
    A. The complete and utter lack of e-mail functionality
    B. The completely worthless calendar application
    C. The insane amount of data that the Galaxy consumes

    A. Email
    My phone is, and always has been, used primarily for e-mail messaging. I knew that I would be giving up BBM in moving off the BlackBerry platform, and I made peace with that. However, setting up the e-mail application on the Galaxy leaves me puzzled... No push? It's 2013, right? So I'm left to either refresh on my own or wait for some auto-refresh interval (see gripe C above) for email delivery. If it were strictly personal e-mail, I wouldn't care, but work email is time sensitive and I can't be waiting 30 minutes for a system refresh if I'm emailing with a client.

    B. Calendar
    Another heavily used application by me, mostly for work. I receive several meeting requests each day from iCal, Google Calendar, and MS Outlook. I see meeting requests come into my inbox (eventually :) ), but cannot accept them or add them to my Google calendar. I read a bit about changing my Google calendar settings, which I did, but still cannot accept Outlook-generated meeting requests from my Android device.

    C. Data
    I know that BlackBerry uses some sort of proprietary data-compression algorithm that reduces network data usage, so I was expecting a slight uptick in data consumption on my AT&T data plan. However, I was not expecting to use, in five days' time, the amount of data that I would typically consume in a month on my BlackBerry. Through my settings menu, I have disabled the background data option for all apps with the exception of email and calendar, but the data consumption seems outlandish... to the point where I will need to upgrade my data plan in order to accomodate the amount of data the phone is using. Is this normal?

    At the end of the day, I'm just having a hard time understanding how these issues are not more discussed considering the number of people who are fans of, and working on, the Android OS. I'll agree that both the GUI and hardware are beautiful, the app library is immense, and the ability to run apps like Google Drive is very productive. But if I can't reliably receive email or respond to appointment requests from clients, what's the point?

    A common thread that I keep reading is "there's a workaround app for this feature or that", which seems counterintuitive. Shouldn't basic functions like email and calendar work on their native apps?

    Frustrated... :hmmmm:

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  2. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin'

    I know you said you don't like the idea of a "workaround" app, but that is what makes Android so nice. If you don't like something, you can always find a different app to do the same thing. I don't know how great the stock Samsung e-mail app is, but there are some decent e-mail clients in the play store. Touchdown is a common favorite, though is a bit pricy if you want MS exchange support. K-9 is also a pretty decent one as well.

    I'm also not sure about the Samsung Calender app as well, I use the default Google one that comes on the Nexus devices. I'm not sure where to get it though since it's not in the play store to my knowledge. But you could also try to search for one that suits your need whether it be google, exchange, or other support.

    Data consumption might be high because you have a lot a services syncing in the background that consumer data. If you could post a picture of your data meter screen, that would be helpful.

    I hope this helps somewhat.
    Unforgiven likes this.
  3. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Push email is app dependent. For example, the Gmail app uses push, as well as the Oulook.com app. For some reason Samsung didn't enable push on their own email app, but it's easy to get one that does.
  4. MrDavid

    MrDavid Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thank both of you gentlemen for your responses. JHawkkw - are you a Kansan with a name like that? (Ironically, I'm from East Aurora - not far from you - but live in Kansas City now)

    I'll try to keep in the order of the discussion... I'm not opposed to using an alternate e-mail client if there was one that fit what I'm doing. I do have the GMail app and notice that my personal e-mail hits there first (makes sense if it's a true push client). My work email is POP-3 hosted at GoDaddy; I'll have to check to see if there is some sort of email client that can work with that address the way the BlackBerry BIS could.

    My "workaround" frustration is more one of not understanding why I would need to purchase or install additional applications to do simple things like making the phone's indicator light blink to note new mail, or to turn on simple push email. I'm also puzzled as to why, if the point is to load the device with your own apps, the thing comes packed with five pages of (from what I can tell) mostly useless bloatware applications that cannot be removed. Granted, the BB platform is the extreme opposite of this, where you can add or remove anything, including critical system applications, but it seems odd for a platform that touts its customization strength to allow that customization only so long as you don't wish to remove 40 or 50 preloaded applications. :hmmmm:

    Granted, I'm way off my own topic there...

    I suppose the same situation is true for the calendar application... perhaps both the email and calendar issues have more to do with Samsung than with Android itself. I'm certainly not trying to bash Android... again, I really want to like the platform. Coming from the BB world, I'm accustomed to the device and OS being inextricably linked, so I made the same assumption here. If it's the stock Samsung apps providing the base for my frustration, then shame on Samsung... It still feels like more of a gadget/toy than a real business tool, designed for people who want to use it for personal email, surfing, etc.

    If you can show me how to capture the data screen, I'm happy to share it. I did go through the process of shutting down apps' ability to do anything in the background - after I discovered some preinstalled Yellow Pages app that sucked several MB's of data on the first day without me even knowing it was on the phone.

    On the data point, I can say that I spent all of 60 seconds this afternoon looking up a couple of FedEx package statuses, and I looked at the Web Browser data consumption before and after. Looking up two packages took roughly 5 MB's of data from FedEx's mobile site, a process which would have taken about 1-2 MB on my BlackBerry.
  5. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Actually you don't have to get a new app to make the indicator light blink, it's somewhere on the notification settings. The great thing about using say, Lightflow is you can configure the light colors to something you like.

    Also, I don't normally receive invites via Google calendar but I think that issue was due to Apple's new patent for smart links. What you do when you get an email is open the invite link on the browser to be able to add it into your Google calendar. In my experience, Samsung's Splanner is actually more functional than the stock Android calendar.

    To do a screen capture, go to the screen you want to take a picture of, then simultaneously press power and home buttons and hold until you hear the shutter sound and animation.
    Unforgiven likes this.
  6. jj2me

    jj2me Well-Known Member

    Try thinking of the BlackBerry as your work-supplied PC, filled with the necessary programs your employer thinks you'll need, and de-bloated. Android is more like your home PC. Bloated (a manufacturer ideas to get the price down to consumer level) and with not much else, expected to be custom tailored.

    You can argue with those decisions, but I kinda like my more powerful home PC, without Microsoft Outlook (wouldn't use). Similarly, I would be lost without an alternative keyboard and app organizer (Folder Organizer Pro for me), etc. that I can have on Android.

    My guess is that the majority of smartphone users are predominantly Facebook users and text senders and picture takers, and even they will use the Facebook app and the text app and camera app their friends use. How can a device manufacturer supply the best apps for every user? They don't write them, and why try?
  7. MrDavid

    MrDavid Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I think that's pretty accurate. And also describes the root of my confusion/frustration. I'm accustomed to having a smartphone as a business tool... one that I can also occasionally use to check FB or snap a picutre, but a business tool first. I suppose I just prefer something that works! At least I can remove the bloatware from my home computer. ;)

    ChanChan, I thank you again for your feedback. I've made a small bit of progress by setting up my work email as an "account" within my GMail, and leaving it so that when I respond through GMail, my work email address is still displayed as the sender. At least this way, I get push on both work and personal emails through the GMail app, and just turned off the Samsung email app altogether.

    I also turned off the Samsung calendar app and loaded Google Calendar instead. The sync here is much better (all of my scheduling is done through Google Calendars), but I still cannot open or respond to any meeting requests, which I find very odd. When someone sends a meeting or appointment request, the GMail app shows the calendar attachment, but clicking on it gives a message "Info: No app can open this attachment for viewing". The appointments show up as .ics files. Still frustrating here.

    I'd love to have someone show me how to turn on a notification light. I've waded through the setup and notification menus of the GMail, Calendar, and System and can't find anything about this. Is this perhaps related to the Gingerbread 2.3 OS? Should I be updating to OS 4 (it's available for my device)?
  8. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Wait, what phone do you have? I had thought you were using a more recent device. With you saying you have a GB device, that means you have an earlier device. Some of the earlier Samsung phones don't have notification LEDs.
  9. MrDavid

    MrDavid Lurker
    Thread Starter

    It's a Galaxy Exhilarate i577. Supports 2.3 (preinstalled) or 4.x (via update). The LED is a purely minor gripe, so I'm not too worried about it.
  10. jj2me

    jj2me Well-Known Member

    This comparison chart indicates this phone has no light, if we go by the dash ("-") under "Service/Notification Light". And also this one, under "Other Features" it lists "Service lights" for the other phone in the comparison, but not for the i577.

    [EDIT: Here's the page for the user manual--there's continuing value to you if you get it and look, than if I do.]

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