Alcatel OT 918N (Note that the Android version on this photo is wrong since the phones here have 2.3.5 installed. This is 2.2.x.)

For those who noticed my social network posts about getting a new smartphone, particularly an Android one, here’s an update to that. This is not exactly a review.

I decided on getting a transitional phone that’s still an Android and settled for Alcatel’s One Touch 918N (Glory). It seemed great for its price and although I don’t consider it a full-blown smartphone because of its small screen and small internal storage. My primary purposes for it are

  • use it as a WiFi hot spot or USB data link when the Internet at home decides to act up
  • use it for development purposes as I was going to venture into Android programming

The tethering feature functioned well and with flying colors. Was able to make it work on Smart but strangely enough not on my Globe. It got me to ask if the SIM (or age of it) has control over data link sharing?

Another thing I want to bring up is the location service feature. We know how data or WiFi connections can be used when an actual GPS signal is not present. On this phone you can’t make it run indoors. (Obviously, GPS requires you to be outside and I have not tested it that way with Google Maps and a live data connection or if I could access my WiFi signal outside.) It always reports “Your current location is temporarily unavailable.” I tried verifying it with other units of the same model and it failed every time. I finally took it to the service center to have it diagnosed and they too cannot make it work.

One last feature I have to mention that requires attention is the USB driver for “rooting.” The phone comes with software for backing up data and updating. Updating here actually means overwriting  the existing ROM, or flashing, or rooting. But done the official way. Nothing about downloading stuff into your phone or SD card and have it update your phone’s libraries. I don’t think new phones are designed that way anymore. I have tried it several times on Vista and XP on the same computer, and once on Windows 7 using another computer. They all fail to download the necessary drivers.

The three problems above discourage me to recommend the phone. Although I am not saying that I dislike it. It looks and feels real sleek and gives the impression of a higher priced one. In addition, it’s dual-SIM. Scraping the Internet for verification of my problems, I ended up on Cheftonio’s Blog where comments tell that other people seem to have the same complaints I do.

I will update you again if reprogramming the phone will solve the issues I mentioned above. This was the solution that the techs at Memo Express (Alcatel official service center) recommended and I have to go back there some other time for it.

(Update: I finally got to test the GPS with Google Maps on a WiFi connection and it works. If they resolve the other problems it could give Samsung a run for its money in the basic Android market.

Further update: For those checking it just this time, the problem with Location Services was solved by upgrading the ROM using One Touch Upgrade. Refer to my comment below.)


4 Responses to An Android Phone (Mis)adventure

  1. Lij says:

    Generally this phone does not need a USB driver for rooting just enable the USB debugging and it will automatically detect your USB.

    • Nono says:

      Hi Lij. Thank you for your comment.

      Enabling USB debugging was one of the first things I did since I am using the phone for development. But it didn’t work. When Alcatel uploaded a new set of software in their site the USB driver finally loaded.

  2. vin says:

    have you finally fixed the problem with the ÿour location is temporarily unavailable? i can use the gps when im working on the maps however when im using facebook and need to check in on particular location , i cant do that and the error was continously prompting
    hope you can help me if ever you had finally discover the solution

    • Nono says:

      Hello Vin.

      Yes, I did. I managed to make Location Services work by using the latest version of One Touch Upgrade and choosing OT 918 (not 918D) as the model. It will take about an hour to upgrade your phone. Please backup your data before doing so.

      Hope it works for you!