Just say NO to Verizon Add-On Services!

Just say NO to Verizon Add-On Services!

My cubemate at work asked me a question about his wife’s phone, a Samsung Android device. See, his wife dropped her phone and her screen shattered, of course.  When the replacement arrived, we switched the SIM over, and everything was set … or so we thought.  All of her contacts were missing.  To make sure this doesn’t happen again, he told me that he was looking for apps to prevent this.  I told him he shouldn’t need anything for contacts beyond the syncing that happens with Gmail.  That’s when I checked his phone and realized it was set up to use Verizon’s Backup Service as its backup storage (and we assume his wife’s old phone was as well).  Not Google.

Are you kidding me?  That’s exactly what I said when I discovered it.  I said I would just input the contacts directly into Gmail and then it should eventually end up on his phone.  Probably not the most productive way but it will fix it.  His wife’s phone is SOL.  So he’s going to setup both phones so that the contacts are where they should be when you have an Android phone: Google.

Other then making sure that their lousy bloatware service gets used, there is ABSOLUTELY no reason for a Verizon Android phone to use their backup service.  None.  Zilch.  Zero.  The quality of the syncing with Google’s service is second to none when you have an Android phone.  I even switched carriers and did not lose ONE contact.  I have contacts I used on my G1 years ago and my Droid 2 after it and my Galaxy Nexus and my EeePad today.  They all had the same contacts that have carried across devices for years.  I have NEVER….EVER…lost a contact.  Period.  Verizon there is NO reason for your crappy backup application.  It sucks, especially since it didn’t work when it was really needed.

Verizon is still trooping out the bloatware too.  They just introduced a Verizon Branded Mobile Security App which is downloadable in the Verizon section of Google Play.  This App costs $24 a YEAR!  On the iPhone the equivalent is free.  On Android, there are MANY applications that are FAR cheaper than this on Google Play and then there’s Lookout  which has a free trial and will let you do $29.99 yearly or $2.99 a month.  It costs more than the Verizon solution, but that is because it’s better.  The Lookout app is far more mature than the Verizon version, and has a track record to justify the cost.  The point is: Verizon….EVERY one of your branded apps stink.  Not only do they usually cost more but they are just bad applications.  Developing apps are not your strong suit.  Providing a great network IS!  DO THAT!  Forget trying to get these extra fees on top of what we already pay and just give us the best danged network you can give us.

ALSO, if you chose to leave Verizon, then these branded apps will not work on a competitors phone.  They are not portable.  Any other app you find on Google Play is.  I have apps that I originally bought on my G1 that are installed on my Galaxy Nexus today.  Apps that I bought a long time ago and have taken from one carrier to the next.  THAT is how it should be.  Verizon apps won’t do that.   That’s why I recommend to AVOID ANY Verizon backed service.  Not only do you run the chance of losing your data but if you end up liking the Verizon app you will not be able to take it with you if you decide to leave Verizon.

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About the Author

Joel McLaughlin
Joel is a consultant in the IT field and is located in Columbus, OH. While he loves Linux and tends to use it more than anything else, he will stoop to running closed source if it is the best tool for the job. His techno passions are Linux, Android, netbooks, GPS, podcasting and Amateur Radio.

5 Comments on "Just say NO to Verizon Add-On Services!"

  1. Totally agree, Joel! I have complained about it before, but on each of the last three phones I have had (all Moto, all Verizon), I have had to choose WAY too often between Google Maps and VZ Navigator. I select the ‘always do this’ option, but some time later I have toi choose again. And the backup thnig is especially annoying … it was doing it even though I specified Google Contacts!

  2. While I completely agree with you, I believe that there are two good reasons for this:

    1. Many feature phone Verizon users who “graduated” to smartphones were already using the Verizon contacts backup service with their old phones, so it was an easy way for the technician at the store to get your contacts onto the phone.

    2. For those in number 1 who were not using that service, the easiest way to get their contacts from their old feature phones to their new smartphones was to sign up their old phone for the backup service, activate the new Android phone, and sync the contacts back down.

    It becomes unfortunate only when you switch from a Verizon phone to another network, when that backup service is no longer available.

    However, I do agree that the technicians should instead steer all users toward putting their contacts on Google contacts (for Android phones), on iCloud (for iPhones), or on whatever works with Windows Phones these days (sorry, I don’t pay much attention to that space.)

    However, in the specific case that you mention, the Verizon backup service should have worked the same way – activate a new Android phone on Verizon, log in to the Verizon backup service on initial setup, and the contacts should sync to the new phone.

  3. Wow really? Never seen that one my Droid 2 or my Nexus. Oh and the Nexus let’s you UNINSTALL any VZW bloat. Yahh me! Oh and JB is official now on the Verizon Galaxy Nexus! WOOHOO! (I already have it but…).

  4. Yeah I have no idea what happened to hers….

    I can see the point of the backup service….3 years ago. Not now though.

  5. The issue, though, is that when a technician in the store is setting up somebody’s new phone from an upgraded phone that already has Verizon’s contacts backup service. Do you really want a VZW technician to have access to your Google account to add contacts to your phone? (Or, asked better, does Verizon really want to risk having their technicians accessing your account and being accused of misbehavior if something should happen to your account?)

    There are other way, I suppose – the techs could create a CSV download of your contacts, copy that to your phone’s internal storage (somehow – connect to a computer in the store?), and then import them into Google contacts on the phone. However, the Verizon backup service is much faster and more efficient.

    It’s unfortunate, but I can see no other way that they can provide the service of moving contacts from one phone to another (unlike a GSM phone, there is no SIM that stores contacts with CDMA phones, and even LTE SIMs do not have this feature). What’s the alternative?

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