I’ve just got my shiny new HTC Desire phone. It’s my first touchscreen device and while it is utterly gorgeous in many superficial ways there are numerous issues with the way the thing actually works.
(Boy do I feel old right now.)
The worst thing so far is the number of people I have called by mistake. It is not a large number, but it is a non-zero number, and as such, unacceptably large: that sort of thing has never happened to me before with any previous handset. Here’s how it happened.
It didn’t take long to copy my contacts over from my previous phone, as I had already backed them up to the PC. That was easy and quick. After I had done so I found numerous numbers in my contacts list that I had no idea I had - these appear to have been automagically gathered from Facebook.
I was curious, so I tried scrolling through my whole (now rather large) list of contacts to see how many new numbers there were. I didn’t get very far through the list before I called someone at random. A friend, thank god. I hung up immediately, as it was a bit late to call that person really, but I knew I could explain if I had to. Still embarrassing though
Like a fool I went back to scrolling through the list - how stupid of me to want to scroll through my contacts list on my own phone - why would anyone want to do that? Of course, it happened again, this time with someone whose number I happen to have but who I really really did not want to miscall at 1am UK time. Or ever.
This was now seriously, seriously embarrassing. I was feeling physically sick at this point.
I was lucky, as I only miscalled UK numbers. It could have been much more costly than mere embarrassment: now, via the black magic of Facebook, I have phone numbers in there from internet friends all over the world. I really can’t afford to miscall Australia.
Here’s why it is so easy to call people by mistake on the HTC Desire: the touchscreen action required to scroll through the contacts list - sort of drag your finger up and down on it - is incredibly similar to the touchscreen action required to call someone in the list. Tapping a list item does not merely select it - it actually goes ahead and calls that number.
This is a serious problem.
The sensible fix would be to make it so that tapping a list item just selects it. If I want to call someone I’m happy to press the big green ‘Call’ button. I can’t find a way to turn the call-on-select feature off, and I can’t understand why it is there, unless it is a deliberate and cynical ploy to get lots of people to make lots of potentially costly random unwanted calls to friends, family and random people they happen to know on Facebook.
Android being android, there is an app that fixes this - it is called ‘Call Confirm’, and I just installed it. It intercepts the ‘select to call’ thing on the phone and brings up a dialog box saying ‘Really Call Y/N’. Great, problem solved.
But this problem should not have been there in the first place.