I didn’t mean to. I just got excited and jumped the gun a bit.
Heads up – this is a long post…
Remember that HTC Wildfire S I got from Virgin Mobile as my early Christmas gift to myself? Hopefully, if you do you remember how I instantly fell in love with it when it made me giggle on the first day of having it in my hands you also how I loved the resolution, size and screen sensitivity. The phone that had almost no internal memory but I was sure that would be okay since I got a 16 GB external micro SD card.
Turns out it was terrible. I seriously have not had as many issues with any other phone that I had with the HTC Wildfire S, if you got it because I recommended it – I am really sorry, if you are thinking about picking it up… don’t.
The reality of the matter is aside from the physical look of the phone and possibly the battery life, nothing lives up to the description. I take that back, maybe it does… in the description they do state that the phone only has 150MB of internal memory. Perhaps I should have done more research into whether or not that would be enough or not; possibly I have this post all wrong – but let’s assume not and continue on with all the things that went wrong.
I never had an Android phone on any other server, so if Verizon, Sprint, AT&T or T-mobile phones come with a handful of annoying preinstalled applications I wouldn’t know, but a Virgin Mobile phone does.
Along with your standard Google, Gmail, Market place and the now standard Facebook and Twitter; Virgin Mobile also loads your phone up with Virgin Mobile Live, SCVNGR, Poynt, My Account (which just opens up the Virgin Mobile home page in the internet browser), something called AirG Chat and others. Most of the applications Virgin Mobile puts on the phone that they consider to be most used or are simply their own product, I don’t touch them and on most phones they cause no problems – but with the HTC, oh man was it a whole other story.
Every app, Virgin Mobile, popular, Google or standard that came on the HTC needed to be updated in order to be properly used and status bar alerts to disappear. Once every preinstalled application is updated, well then that needed HTC update has no room to run. Even if you don’t update all of the applications and just update the ones you need, they go from a manageable size leaving you 145MB of internal memory to work with to huge making it impossible to do anything with.
Originally I thought, “Oh hey no big deal I will just move all the big ones over to my 16GB micro SD card.” It is a real shame that plan didn’t work. It turns out every application that came on the phone has to stay on the phone.
So now all the applications are up-to-date, the Gmail is set up, Facebook logged into, Twitter ready for tweets to be sent. At this point I went into the settings and deleted all the memory on any of the pre-installed applications I was not going to use and uninstalled all of the updates. Doing this gave me just enough room to install my two favorite games, BubbleBubble Burst and Jewles, but still left very little room on the phone.
I like pictures. I like to take pictures and now that phones take, share, and display pictures, well I am like an old lady with a digital camera – I have pictures on my phone from years ago. Sure roll your eyes and think, “well it’s no wonder you have no space on your phone...” but seriously internet, you think I am that dumb? All of my photos were on my SD card. The plethora of music I had once had on my SD card in phone and listened to twice I took off when I discovered Google Music. I had everything set up so that space should have been available.
Yet, on a daily bases my phone would pop up a screen that said, “Hey you have like no memory left!” So I would delete and clear everything – reclogged into Facebook and Twitter – old text messages set to auto clear.
Then I would take a few pictures of Margaret doing something, her automatic response, “Can I see the pictures? Please?” I would go to the gallery just to get a message saying “Hey your internal memory is too low for me to show you pictures on your SD card.”
“Hang on Margaret… apparently I need to delete everything off my phone to show you.”
Soon this was a daily thing; I would get low memory messages three or four times a day. I would be unable to send or receive text messages and then while sitting at work one day I realized – hey my email hasn’t refreshed since last weekend.
My experience with Virgin Mobile through this process is something to be noted as well.
Between the end of November and the end of January I went through three phones, over 50 emails and countless phone calls to get the issues resolved.
I have had Virgin Mobile for a few years now, I know the routine of phone calls and I know not to call in on the phone you are having issues with. So the first time I called Virgin Mobile I did so on my lunch break at work, for nine minutes I sat in their menu “No, Speak with a LIVE ADVISOR,” “No… No… No…” Finally I got through to nice gentlemen whose voice exuded sympathy for my frustrations, “Will you please hold so I can transfer you to our technical difficulty team?” he asked.
The next tech asked me what was wrong, so I explained again. He then told me that what I was telling him was wrong, that I had it wrong, I said, “No you don’t understand…” and started in on my story again. I was getting close to the end of my third story when I noticed click and a strange silence. I looked at my phone and the numbers were flashing – he had hung up on me.
Frustrated I tried to reach out for help by submitting a question online, only to get an error message every time I tried. It was being easier to complain about and fight with the phone then it was to talk to Virgin Mobile to get the problem fixed.
Then when Jared and I both lost service and our 3G went out at the house one night I called Virgin Mobile again. The call taker on the line at Virgin Mobile called me stupid, in a less straight forward fashion, for calling in on a phone that had issues. I was outside of the area I had issues in, and had previously been hung up on… seriously what did she want me to try and do? I hung up on them this time around.
I had always been skeptical of this account, previously they had asked me to tweet them my account information which I did not feel comfortable with. But this time was different, if someone was going to try and help, well I would take their assistance. It also helped they only asked what type of phone I had.
A few angry tweets back and forth and they realized that this problem was bigger than 140 characters – they asked me to email them. Our trouble shooting email exchange began… try this; now try this… how about this?
Our first success was when I was told to factory reset my phone (again). As frustrating as it was everything worked… for three days, then all of the memory full messages began and my email stopped.
“It looks like it is an issue with your headset,” they told me, “we will ship you out a new one. We just need your account information and mailing address.”
I Googled the email address I had been writing back and forth two for an hour before deciding it was safe to send my information over. They mailed me a new phone that arrived in two days.
Set up the phone again and everything seemed to be working that was until the next day. Over 50 email exchanges took place in trouble shooting both HTC Wildfire S’. I rest everything they could think of on the phone and even tried using it in different locations. For some reason it was not until message 50 that it finally clicked…
We are very sorry for the inconvenience this is causing you. We have reviewed the issues your having. It looks like your experiencing a memory issue; this is common with this handset. When you want to use your email, you need to have the other apps off (not running in the background). Do you have a task killer app? A few of us use a advanced task killer (a 3rd party app as a company we do not guarantee).
Social Media Team
I wrote them back and stated that I did not feel that was an acceptable answer. Telling them I don’t want to have to “kill my apps” every time I wonder if I have a new email, I just want the phone to tell me when I have a new email. To top it off my phone claimed the memory was so full that I could not even download the task killer app to give it a try… well then they decided it was time to replace my phone with a different model.
It only took two months, but I finally have a fully functioning phone again, the HTC Wildfire S was nothing short of adorable but not worth all of the pain and frustration.
While Virgin Mobile may install a bunch of unnecessary crap on their phones and have quite possibly the worst call center I have ever dealt with (this is coming from someone who works in a corporate call center), there Social Media Team was amazing to deal with. I may have lost my cool on them a few times, but they never gave up and they tried every possible solution until my problem was solved.