Update: My good friend (Dan Monsieurle Aka Mled) commented with the solution. Just try signing into the YouTube app with the account you want to sync and  it will automatically add it to the list of your accounts. Kapish!

The best solution is almost always the easiest.

Omachonu Ogali, I guess it was Google’s problem after all. (For those that don’t understand, see comments below 🙂

Update ended.

I got my Motorola android phone a little while ago and I am encountering my first problem which is making me really really angry and here is why.

I just launched my new startup Lotaar which has brought with it the need to create my new email address. I tried doing the sensible thing of adding the email account to my Motorola milestone and it gave me an error.

“Can’t establish a reliable data connection to the server.  This could be a temporary problem or your SIM card may not be provisioned  for data services. If it continues, call Customer Care.”

Ha! call Google customer care? I have a better chance of grabbing launch with Barack Obama than getting anyone at Google on the phone.

So I did the sensible thing and Googled for a solution. To my chagrin I discovered that the problem I am having has been around for about a year and more annoying is the fact that the scores of complaints  on the Android forum have gone ignored!

OpenSource vs. Proprietary Software.

Although I really really value open source but this problem I am having is the strongest argument proprietary software has against open source. When there is a problem, there is no one to hold responsible! Now, I do not know how open source Android is, but I know there are too many people that are in charge. So now I have this problem, who do I turn to? Motorola? Google? Android Foundation?My Telecoms provider? (in my case I did not by from a mobile service provider but many people complaining did.)

So for the next few days, I will be cut off using email with my mobile while I ponder a way out. If I was in a large organization the costs will be greater. I now appreciate much more the value of Microsoft and their proprietary software. If it was a problem with them, it would have been solved by now.

As Windows Mobile 7 comes out, they should make  strong selling point out of, “If you have a problem, you know where to turn to”

18 thoughts on “My Android problem and a case for proprietary over opensource. (UPDATED: With solution)

  1. Android is probably not saving the world afterall…simple attempt to use my Xperia X10 as a modem to connect my computer to internet takes me looking for PDANet the full version of which costs quite some bucks.There and then I sang praises to Microsoft and I wished I didnt quite on my Wondows Mobile 6.5.. So much for Android.But I must confess on other counts and grounds am quite impressed and I didnt have any issues registering my emails on my Xperia..Best Wishes..I'll be happy to trade my Motorola Talkabout for your Droid if the problem persists… ha ahahhaah

  2. I am not sure how this is an issue with opensource software, or even with Android, other than the fact that their bug tracker is publicly accessible, so that you can see that other people are having the same issue.

    Based on the error message, it looks like the issue might not be the bug you linked to, but that your Milestone does not have the right APN to allow for data connection (hence the suggestion that your SIM card might not be provisioned for data service. Since the APN you need is dependent on your specific mobile carrier, calling Customer Care was a suggestion to call your carrier, not Google.

    Assuming I bought a Windows Phone 7 device from a third-party retailer and received a similar error message, I am not sure how I would know whether I would know whether I needed to contact my carrier, the manufacturer, or Microsoft based on the fact that it is proprietary software. I am also pretty certain that proprietary software still has bugs and flaws.

  3. That problem sounds pretty bad, though, I think they mean Motorola customer support or your network. Open source doesn't necessarily mean you have no support, the company you buy the phone from should provide the support. If you buy a Linux distribution with support, the company that make the distribution provides support.

    I doubt Microsoft will do support directly either and they often leave bugs in their products for years. For example Microsoft Outlook performs very badly as an IMAP client and has done for a number of years, Microsoft stopped developing Internet Explorer for 5 years at the height of it's popularity and the growth of the Web – leaving 1000s of bugs unfixed.

  4. Tethering (connecting your phone to your computer for Internet access) was introduced as a feature in Android 2.2. Unfortunately, the Xperia X10 family of phones is still currently running Android 1.6.

    Sony Ericsson, the manufacturer, announced that X10 phones would be updated to 2.1 later this year: http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/2010/06/

    It is possible that they will decide to skip the 2.1 update and go directly to Android 2.2, which would give you the functionality that you want.

  5. Nice counter argument. You make quite a number of great points.

    But in this Android case, it is different with these mobile carriers, manufacturers, Google and Android being different.

    Now, if I call Motorola, they will refer me to Google or claim the fault is not from them. Of couse, referring be to Google is as good as telling me to get lost.

    The time when Msoft used to bull shit people has passed. I doubt that that can behave that way in this day and age.

    I cant wait for Palm Web OS and Windows 7 to sort out themselves. So with more options, every one will sit up.

  6. “Milestone does not have the right APN to allow for data connection (hence the suggestion that your SIM card might not be provisioned for data service”

    It des not work with WiFi too. But let me see the configuration of of the APN and check if that will solve the problem

    I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  7. Dude, seriously?

    Call customer service at your mobile carrier.

    Not the handset manufacturer (Motorola).
    Not the OS developer (Google).

    If you have a problem with adding an e-mail account to your BlackBerry, who do you call first? Your carrier or RIM?

    Just sayin'.

  8. “If you have a problem with adding an e-mail account to your BlackBerry, who do you call first? Your carrier or RIM? Just sayin'.”

    Just syain' or Just askin' ? 🙂

    I would call the the carrier because they are the one specifically providing blackberry email. If I cannot access Facebook I would not call my carrier. If a Facebook phone came out with carriers selling it, and I could not access Facebook with it, I would call my carrier. You get?

    Moreover, I did not buy the phone from my carrier. It is not a carrier issue, it is a software issue.

    If I have a problem doing stuff on Windows with my DELL laptop, who do I call? I will call Microsoft because they are responsible for the software and the updates.

    With the Android ecosystem, it is haphazard. Google's Android released 2.2 and Motorola has refused to update my phone. You see where things are complicated? My carrier has NOTHING to do with that.

  9. android claims to be open source and most of it is but the rest is still locked down by google….and if you buy one from a carrier its even worse………but you are right….you should call google in this case but you will probably get a call Motorola….or a call the phone company……
    On another note android is still a half baked OS and i guess you are realizing that now from actually using it.
    Plus don't tell me ur one of those pple who actually listen to engadget? web OS or Windows 7??? really? You should be looking forward to meego and symbian^3, thats whats up…..

  10. That error screams “network error” to me — I had a similar error on my G1 when I had the wrong SIM card in it, got a new SIM, and all was well.

    The mobile OS “ecosystem” isn't a new concept. It's existed before Android (Symbian OS, Qualcomm BREW, etc) — the handset manufacturer is different than the OS manufacturer. Examples are Nokia-Symbian (before the acquisition), Sanyo-Qualcomm, Ericsson-Symbian.

    A new OS version may come out, and your handset manufacturer may decide to incorporate the update or not. Then, your carrier may decide to push the update or not. The decision *never* lies solely with the OS folks.

    A good OS cannot save bad hardware. Nor can it save a company with manufacturing problems and bad customer service procedures, that has been swirling around the toliet for the last 6 years, since the release of the RAZR.

    If you have a problem with some Dell component on your Dell laptop, and call Microsoft. Microsoft will tell you to call Dell, end of story. They are responsible for a portion of the software/updates, not every single driver in the world.

    If the majority of Android users had problems adding their e-mail accounts, I guarantee you they wouldn't still be Android users.

    Nothing has changed in the grand scheme of things, everything about the original mobile model is still the same for the most part. The only difference is that you, the consumer, have unprecedented visibility into the OS release cycle, unlike before where it was just a big opaque box.

    So, saying Android is haphazard makes no sense to me.

  11. “That error screams “network error” to me”

    I will call them and see what they have to say. An I will report back

    “Nothing has changed in the grand scheme of things, everything about the original mobile model is still the same for the most part. The only difference is that you, the consumer, have unprecedented visibility into the OS release cycle, unlike before where it was just a big opaque box.”

    Well, that is a change there.

  12. I had this exact problem. I figured out that if you sign into the Youtube app with a different Google account, this action adds that account to the list of accounts you can sync. From here on the problem is fixed and you can just add other Google accounts in the Settings. Hope that helps.

  13. Wow – if you’d posted this a couple of days ago, maybe I’d have been able to add my new accounts to my Milestone without needing to root it! My solution was to root it and then add an entry to /etc/hosts for android.clients.google.com – using the address you get by running an nslookup on that domain on your PC.

    For those not in the loop, the issue is NOT a connectivity issue – Google accounts that you’ve already added work just fine, it simply refuses to add any more accounts. Some people have reported success by removing and re-adding their APN, or other various tricks – but for many people (myself included), none of those work. Other people find that a hard reset (which wipes all your data off the phone) fixes it – but still others don’t, and some people (such as myself) refuse to wipe their phone to fix an issue which shouldn’t require it.

  14. Ouch. Sorry, I read blogs at the weekends.

    I noticed that when I tried to stop syncing a Google Account and remove it completely in the Settings, it was unable to do this as the account was still in use on the Youtube app. I figured that Youtube was possibly what could be blocking all changes to Google Accounts and Sync.

  15. Thanks mled

    Same problem and even simpler fix. I couldn’t get my google calendar on Samsung I9000 android 2.1 to connect. I just tried to log on to YouTube with my already established google account. After that logon failed, my Google calendar connected and open. Magic :-)))

    Best regards Bent, Oslo, Norway

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