Sunday, July 01, 2012

My Little Smartphone

The Goat has been dragged kicking, butting and bleating into the 21st century. Having had his LG handset suddenly go wrong and then refuse to behave itself even after being reset, rebooted, and even left overnight with the battery out, it was deemed a DBJ (dustbin job), and the Goat headed off to Carrefour to obtain a basic dual-SIM handset. He was sold one, which he then contrived to lose a week later. Whoever picked it up and immediately removed the SIM cards, the Goat hopes you’re happy with your new toy, you thieving git: a more reasonable person might have phoned ‘Home’ and attempted to return the handset to its rightful owner.

One trip to Dubai and two showings of his Emirates ID Card later, the Goat had replacement SIM cards for both Itisalot and d’oh, and it was time to find a new handset.

On the recent Japan trip, the Goat’s phone hadn’t worked at all, whereas Beloved Wife’s quad-band handset had quite happily connected to phone and internet. So the quest was to obtain a quad-band, dual-SIM device. It transpires that a lot of allegedly quad-band handsets are either 900MHz/1800MHz (which is fine for Europe and the middle east) or 850MHz and 1900MHz (which is what is needed for the USA and Japan). The Goat eventually ended up with the most basic smartphone he could find. It’s a Samsung that comes with a touch screen, GPS, 3G, WiFi, MP3 player and, once the Goat figures out how to use the handset properly, an app to do the ironing and wash the car.

Based on Beloved Wife’s experience with call trees, a real, physical keypad was also a must-have. Fighting the screen during a call in a vain attempt to Pless 1 for Engrish is something without which the Goat can do.

Unfortunately, it has so far been impossible to take some friendly advice and find a screen protector. The Samsung Service Centre staff looked at the Goat as if he’d asked for a lightly-grilled weasel, and none of the shops in Doha’s mobile phone souq had one either. One sales lack-of-assistant was busy sticking a screen protector on another customer’s machine before turning to the Goat and asserting he hadn’t got any. A BlackBerry 9900’s display is almost the same size, but the cutouts for the speaker are in the wrong place. Arse.

Getting more exasperated, the Goat eventually bemoaned this sorry state of affairs in the last shop. The Egyptian American behind the counter grinned, shrugged his shoulders, and said: “Welcome to Doha!” He cut down an iPhone screen protector to an approximately correct size and applied it as a temporary measure. Free of charge; he wouldn’t accept any form of payment. So much for a gem of advice offered ten minutes earlier. “You can’t cut it down. It won’t work if you cut it.”

So the Goat’s touch screen is protected for now. Maybe, just maybe, there’ll be something more suitable for sale in Dubai. Or America. Or internet mail order. As is apparently traditional, there’s loads of stuff for sale in Doha but little in the way of after-sales service.



Mita Ray said...

If you find that app that does the ironing and washes the car, please do share... am in sore need of one. The present 2-legged app is proving somewhat useless!

Martín said...

not related to your post, but I added the 2nd part to my trip through the Isles, and the third will come this week.
And to cut out an iPhone's film... I could've told you that (duh!)


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