Apple, Google, and other smartphone manufacturers miss the point

Commentary: Jack Wallen is fed up with smartphone manufacturers making devices that aren’t smart enough. He reminds Samsung, Google, Apple and other smartphone manufacturers: Remember why we buy phones.

Google Image

I get a bit excited. Why? Why? Because all smartphone makers have lost the ball. They’ve gotten so focused on the “smart” that they have forgotten the second syllable, “phone”.

When smartphones first appeared, I was very forgiving. The call quality wasn’t great. After Android’s first release, I was willing turn the other cheek when my HTC Hero refused a call. After I bought my first Pixel device, it was a one-off issue that I thought it was.

After that, I returned the device and the new phone did exactly the same. One day, I was having a conversation when suddenly, the person I was speaking with couldn’t hear me. It was very frustrating, as I love to use my phone. I actually make and receive phone calls. Yes, I do like to talk to people.

That problem disappeared after two Android updates. Google denied that there was ever a problem with the software. 

SEE: BYOD Approval Form (TechRepublic Premium)

I was so relieved to finally be able to say good-bye to all the old phone problems that plagued my previous Pixel. Nope. The exact same problem occurred. I would talk to someone and then realize that they couldn’t hear what I was saying. Another RMA, but no solution. For the phone call problems to disappear, it was necessary to upgrade the software.

Mic drop … right into the toilet bowl of life.

It was no surprise that my Pixel 6 Pro had the exact same problem. It’s easy to see why. Other usersAre you having the Same problems with their Pixel 6 phones. As with previous phones, the problem always strikes no matter what I do. Switching back and forth between the speaker and the phone is the only way I have found to hear my voice again. But even that doesn’t always work – sometimes it even requires a reboot.

However, it was a good time. Google admits there is a problem. Even so, we are back at square one. Google seems to have forgotten the fact that smartphones must be able place reliable phone calls, not serve as small computers.

It is frustrating. What if that happened on a 911 emergency call? What if I was interviewing a potential client over the phone? What if you were on a phone interview with a prospective client?

It’s not just a Pixel problem – phone calls seem to be the last thing smartphone manufacturers think of when designing these devices. Perhaps there is a higher level of logic than people like me don’t accept. The younger generation doesn’t enjoy (ack!) talking on the phone. To them, the phone portion of smartphone is just a remnant for relics such as me. Whippersnappers.

I have heard the same problem with Motorola, Apple, Samsung and Apple devices. 

This shouldn’t be the case. All smartphone owners should be able rely on the phone part of their smartphones. Let’s not forget about these devices. These devices should be called what they are: Pocket computers that can make phone calls when conditions are right.

SEE: Microsoft 365’s iPhone, iPad and Mac users guide (free PDF). TechRepublic

Google, Apple, Samsung and OnePlus: Stop making substandard phones. The flagship sticker must be able to make flagship-level phone calls. If it doesn’t, then the product isn’t worthy.

Smart. Phone. Phone. Before you sign off on a device, ensure that the quality control team is actually making calls.

Can you hear me now?

TechRepublic’s Newsletter Subscribe YouTube: How to make tech work for all the latest tech advice for business pros from Jack Wallen.  

Also, see