Battle of the Widgets
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I decided to adopt a second SIM to use for testing phones to avoid the hassle of switching out my main SIM all the time. I’ve been on Telstra forever. Well, since 1996, with the same number, which is forever. Or if you want to count land lines, I’ve been on Telstra since 1980. After 37 years, I ought to get some kind of award.
But I chose Optus pre-paid because I wanted a backup in case Telstra was ever down, and I liked the ability to carry over data on the $30 Optus pre-paid. (Not to mention that the 3GB data allowance is more than my more expensive post-paid Telstra plan.)
It has also given me the chance to compare certain aspects of mobile telephony and data between providers.
For years I’ve been somewhat irritated by the Telstra Android widget that is supposed to tell you how much data you have remaining in the month, along with some other bits and pieces.
What’s a widget you say? Ah, you must be an iPhone user. Widgets are a feature of Android phones. They are like continually running mini apps that can provide you information about something or other. Say, the stock market for example. Or how much data you have remaining for the month.
The two things that irritate me about the Telstra widget are: 1. It frequently stops working, and just shows a message saying “An error has occurred”. Helpful. 2. It often looks like this:
That is, it says “Unable to display your usage when on Wi-Fi.” In order to make it work to check your data you have to get away from your WiFi access points so that it connects back via the 4G network. Or you have to switch WiFi off to achieve the same end.
Meanwhile, while the other phone is connected to the exact same WiFi access point, the Optus widget looks like this:
That is, it tells me how much data I have left, how many days remain in the period, and when it was last updated.
One of these is useful. The other is not. Furthermore, that other is ugly.
Perhaps it’s about time Telstra did something about it.
Update (at Sydney airport, a few hours later):
Just to be clear, this is what the Telstra Widget is supposed to look like:
Oh, and here’s what it looked like a few minutes before that (I had to tap on it, taking me to the Telstra online data, to fix it):