HTC 8X inaction
As I write this, an HTC 8X is going through its death throes on my desk. Every 15 seconds it wakes up, shudders, shows me an HTC splash screen, then goes dark again. There is no way to get to a menu to do a soft reset; following the steps to do a hard reset does nothing. And because the HTC doesn't have a removable battery, that option is lost to me too. All I can do is wait for the juice to run out, then ship it back to the vendor for a quick and unceremonial burial. A quick Google search proves I'm hardly the only one with this problem.
To be fair, when it's not having a complete mental breakdown the HTC handset has been pretty slick. I don't know if this problem is HTC's fault, a glitch in Windows Phone 8 updates, or what. But this is the second handset where I've had the exact same problem, and that's plenty. It's the HTC splash screen that keeps flashing over and over, reminding me that I probably should have chosen the Nokia.
Also to be fair, Robert Downey Jr. is one of my favorite actors. The fact that he agreed to become the face of HTC shows that a) he doesn't take himself too seriously, and b) he's probably taking in a buttload of money. Like Intel's Will.I.Am and BlackBerry's Alicia Keys, Downey secured not just a big paycheck but an amorphous role "to help shape HTC's creative direction," which I'm guessing translates into serious stock options. Remember, this is a guy who made $50 million for starring in a film where half of his screen time was CGI. He's a guy who really doesn't need the money, and there's certainly no prestige involved, so the deal must have been too good to pass up.
HTC: Heal Thy Company
Honestly, I'd rather HTC had spent its millions fixing my phone. No amount of Hollywood glitz is going to make up for ticking off your customers. No quasi-clever ad campaign is going to make me feel any warmer and/or fuzzier toward my handset maker, to whom I have zero loyalty even in the best of times.
I have some some subversive thinking for HTC. Hiring the Clown to Hijack the Conversation is Hardly the Cure.
What does "HTC" mean to you? Post your subversive acronym substitutes below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "Hint to HTC: Iron Man alone won't save your company," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.