So the idiots at Sprint send Joel Splosky an LG Fusic phone to review, thinking he will promote their service.

Phone companies, as Joel points out, have a history of bad decisions:

And it’s 2006, and I almost can’t believe I’m writing this, because way back in 2000 I wrote almost exactly the same thing about WAP, and how cell phone companies keep failing to insert themselves as toll collectors because they’re so darn clueless about how the Internet works, and about the value of many-to-many networks instead of broadcast networks.

Needless to say, the phone sucks, and Power Vision sucks too. Is Power Vision a 3G service? Why do phone companies have to brand everything in some incomprehensible way? mMode? MEdia Net? Vision? Power Vision? Vcast? Stop, my head hurts.

Now, on to the good part:

the LG Fusic user interface could basically serve as an almost complete textbook for a semester-long course in user interface design, teaching students of usability exactly what NOT to do.

And one more:

A little bit more exploring and I discovered that there’s another entirely separate MP3 player on this device. It’s hard to find. You have to go to Tools, then Memory Card, then to the Music folder, and another MP3 player starts up which you can use to listen to your MP3s. For this player, you don’t have to be on the network, so it works in the subway, but—get this—the minute you close the clamshell, the music stops! I am literally not making this up. There are two bad MP3 players on this device, neither one of which remembers where you’re up to, neither one of which can be used on the subway with the phone folded in my pocket, neither one of which has a fast-forward feature.

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  1. I found your blog from a link on another site, in the comments, and I posted the following there, however, I thought I should share my frustrations with you, on a less technical and more “I-really-fuckin-hate-corporate-america” way. Enjoy a laugh on me and LG:

    So I’ve had my phone for almost a month and have officially decided my card reader is lost, so I still have no music :( But, I just got angry all over again and reading what LG and Sprint is telling everyone else, it makes me hate corporate america even more. Please excuse my ridiculous email, but you have to understand that I had four HUGE issues to deal with that week with other corporate bastards who could care less about me. Anywho, this is what I got from LG after sending them an email. I’ve edited my last name and info. out… also, what a nerd I am, but what an angry consumer I have become.

    Dear Customer,

    Thank you for inquiring of LG Electronics. Your e-mail has been received.

    We appreciate your feedback and suggestions. Please know that our products are manufactured according to the service provider’s request. As such, we also recommend that you submit your comments and suggestions to them as well.

    Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions or concerns. Thank you again for contacting LG Electronics.

    E-mail Administrator
    Customer Interactive Center

    —–Original Message—–
    From: “Gmail”
    Received: 9/11/2006 2:54 PM
    To: “customerservice”
    Subject: Re: LG Customer Enquiry-[Jenna ] Attn: Kristi

    I’ve read that you can use the sd card on a mac but have to use a
    card reader. I’m just kind of upset that there is no easily
    accessible place to find where it is compatible. I’m looking at the
    box and there is NO mention of it, also, in all of the user
    information I looked at before purchasing it, there is no mention.
    Now I’m going to have to try to return this phone because it is not
    practical to handle a microSD card everytime I want to update it and
    I will not use a shitty PC ever again on a regular basis. Once
    again, corporate america doesn’t care about the consumers, just their
    money. I seriously suggest making a large, blatent statement about
    the Fusic’s incompatibility with Macs. But I guess LG and Sprint
    don’t really care about mac users… they should though, Apple just
    doubled it’s stake in the laptop market (up to 12% right now) and
    will only continue to do so. I just feel cheated and ripped off that
    there is no easy way for me to know that this is a windows-only
    phone, it’s almost false advertising (but I guess this would just be
    omission). Also, if I download these “hacks” or other types of
    software, they’re not always safe and if I do damage with one of
    these programs I have a STRONG feeling that Sprint and LG will both
    tell me sorry, you aren’t supposed to use that, if you want your
    warranty or insurance to be valid. If I had local options I would
    support them, but I do not. Sprint is one of my only options and the
    Fusic was the only phone available with mp3 capabilities. I’m sorry
    you’re catching my venting, but honestly, what’s the point of being
    a good customer and paying on time and what not when nobody cares. I
    have now wasted more of my time (which is extremely valuable to me,
    as I am a college student and don’t have enough as it is) and will
    waste more of it, as well as gas money and more than likely missing
    at least an hour of work to get to a store during business hours. I
    just don’t know what I can do to make corporate giants like yourself
    understand how valuable my time is, how terrible most help is, and
    why it’s important to explain things like OS compatibility. Sprint
    doesn’t even know anything about this phone, as well.

    So thank you, LG, for wasting my time and money because you didn’t do
    your work and you didn’t note the incompatibility with the Mac.
    On Sep 11, 2006, at 1:49 PM, customerservice wrote:

    ———–Reply to Customer Enquiry————
    Dear Customer, Thank you for inquiring of LG Electronics.
    Unfortunately, the software that we offer for our phone models is
    not compatible with Macintosh systems. However, you may be able to
    perform an internet search and obtain software that has the
    functionality that you desire. I apologize for the inconvenience.
    LG software is only compatible with windows operating systems. To
    view LG accessories and software including product/software
    availability, please visit Also, you
    can contact your service provider to receive information regarding
    software that they may have available. Or, visit and
    inquire about their Data Pilot software which may fit your data
    transfer needs. Please be sure to read the product/software
    specifications thoroughly before making any purchase as all of your
    desired features may not be supported. If you have additional
    questions or concerns, Please contact us again. Thank you again for
    inquiring of LG. Kristi Email Administrator Customer Interactive
    Center LGEAI

    ———–Customer Details————
    Name : Jenna
    Telephone # :
    Country/Region : U.S.A.

    ———–Original Customer Enquiry————
    Received Date : 9/11/2006 12:04:57
    The type of inquiry : Specification
    Product/Model No. : CDMA Mobile Phones/FUSIC

    I just purchased the Fusic phone and after spending about an hour
    googling, I’m still lost. Is this phone compatible with my Mac? It
    won’t even recognize it as a flash drive, which I have found that
    other Mac users have experienced. If it’s not compatible, I think
    you need to express that, because this phone is obviously very
    appealing to apple fans, as it looks a lot like an iPod. Please let
    me know ASAP so that I can return this if that is the case, because
    anything that doesn’t work with Apple isn’t ok in my book. Thank you.

  2. The phone is actually quite impressive once you figure out how to use it. Picture quality is excellent outdoors and acceptable indoors with moderate lighting.
    EV-DO service is lightning fast (where you can get it, sigh).
    The best feature of this phone is the media player, not the useless Sprint Music store stuff. All keys are mappable, so setting access to it is easy. The media player supports MP3, WMA (unprotected) and 3G2 video formats (176×220 pixels). The stereo speakers that come with the Fusic are pathetic, so I spent 40$ on the Body Glove Earglove mobile stereo headset and it was well worth the investment. Audio quality is close to what I get with Shure E2c on my Axim X51. Video quality is surprisingly good given the resolution (I converted “Snatch” to 3G2 format using a shareware video converter, full movie with audio was about 60 megs), just make sure to name the file so its recognized by the media player (ie V_000XX.3g2) or it wont play.
    The media player interface allows you to access the mircoSD card directly, so you can store your music and videos however you like, just make sure you load the files into the proper folders on the SD card.
    All in all its a great phone for the money, and if you plan on using the phone as a modem 20$ for Power Vision with unlimited data (minute usage only) is next to nothing if your plan has unlimited nights/weekends

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