Dear ooVoo: here’s how to fix your annoying user experience

UPDATE 28/04: In the comments, an ooVoo representative reports that they have developed an update that addresses the below complaint. If you install this update on your Dell Streak from the Android Market, ooVoo will no longer start up at boot unless you want it to.

Dell obviously thought they had a winner on their hands when they managed to get up-and-coming video calling service ooVoo to support the front-facing cameras on their Dell Streak line, so decided to bundle it with the latest official firmware (based on Android 2.2.2) for the Streak 5 and Streak 7.

I installed the 2.2.2 OTA update on my Dell Streak 5 yesterday. It took me all of about 5 minutes to begin to detest ooVoo.

Basically, I wasn’t interested in using it yet. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a choice. It runs at startup and nags you about not being signed in, whether you want it or not, and there’s no way to stop it doing so. It also continues running in the background, even after you click Exit, and because it’s baked into the firmware, it can’t be uninstalled without rooting, which is something I’m really not interested in (and shouldn’t be necessary).

I contacted a couple of Dell reps on Twitter about it, and got mixed responses. @DellCares directed me to telephone support, who didn’t really understand what I was talking about. However, Stephen Jio (@stephenjatdell) clearly understood:

That’s reassuring, but while I think Dell probably should have held off bundling ooVoo until this annoying behaviour was rectified, ultimately it is ooVoo that needs to change their product so it’s not so sodding annoying. And doing so is not rocket science.

Here’s what needs to happen

Look at this:

That’s the Preferences screen in Skype for Android. See that top option? If I don’t want Skype to start automatically, I just untick that box.

Easy.

ooVoo needs this option. It needs it badly, and it needs it now. This option should either be accessible before the login screen so I can simply turn off the automatic startup, or automatic startup needs to be off by default until the first time a user logs in with an ooVoo account. So to be clear, it must not be on by default and hidden behind the login. No potential customer should have to create an account just to opt out of using the product.

This needs to happen quickly if ooVoo want to avoid alienating their potential customers before they even get a foothold. They certainly need to do it before Skype get video calling working, because right now the UI for Skype on Android is pretty much spot on, and ooVoo will be utterly and deservedly crushed if they can’t even get the basics right. Hell, I don’t even know if ooVoo is worth using yet, but I do know I won’t even bother trying so long as they are trying to force me into it.

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About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

19 responses to “Dear ooVoo: here’s how to fix your annoying user experience”

  1. Jen says :

    My softkey lights won’t stay lit for more than three seconds after 2.2.2 update. I find this so frustrating. I’m sure than before they were lit for longer, and doing an action like scrolling made then light again. Why have they done this to me, they have made me cry. Also, I can’t get ooVoo to go away. It’s stalking me. I was just starting to like my dell streak, now I hate it.

    • AngryTechnician says :

      I’m not seeing that issue on mine. Mine stay on for at least 5 seconds, and if I keep touching the screen before the 5 seconds is up, they stay on until 5 seconds of idle time. I honestly couldn’t say if that’s any different to what t was before or not as I’ve never really paid attention to it before.

  2. Bob says :

    Hi AngryTech,

    Can’t you use Android Assistant free from the Market place which has a really good startup manager built in to disable nasty programs that run on startup and dont give you a choice.

    Cheers

    Bob

  3. Jen says :

    Thanks for the follow up comment, so something has gone wrong with my streak after the update. I might try a factory reset.

  4. Jen says :

    Nope, factory reset didn’t work (course not!). Don’t know what to do now. I am certain the update did this though. Oh, ooVoo is still around though…

  5. ScottishTech says :

    Perhaps it’s called OoVoo because that’s the sound someone within earshot of impressionable young ears makes when they are either bombarded with this prompt and/or toasting their phone makes?

    OOooooo Voooooooooo!!!

  6. @mitydad says :

    Ok.. I read this post, loved it. I even sent EVILOVOO a message using it as a reference to my problem. Here is what they said.

    Remember, I have a Dell, and got 2.2.2.

    Here is how it sort of started..

    I am seriously in distress. I can’t stop your program. It is evil. Please help.

    Them: Blah blah.. Applications are uninstalled from your phone menu. Please follow these instructions:

    Phone Menu>Settings>Applications>Manage Programs>ooVoo>uninstall
    ~
    NOOO… But, on the Dell Streak, its baked into Froyo 2.2.2. I can’t find it in the uninstall!~ Please.
    ~
    ooVoo is not pre-loaded so it is uninstallable. Go to your device Settings>Applications>Manage Applications. This will display all your apps and you can unintall.

    ME: YES IT IS!

    ~

    There was a few more “back and forths” as I screamed and cried. EVOLVOO kept opening when I try to answer a call. It opens all the time! Goodness help me if I ever find one of these people..

    HERE IS WHAT I GET!

    We are checking into it as the Dell Streak is not even formally supported at this time. I’ll get back with you.

    Huh?

  7. @mitydad says :

    I just got this message from oovoo

    We are working on a solution. Dell loaded a really old version, without our knowledge, and we are working to develop a fix for existing units and repair for new purchases. It will be by tomorrow morning.

    I think that is in English. Not sure.

  8. Matthew de Ganon says :

    UPDATE FROM OOVOO

    All: On Friday, 4/22/2011, Dell sent an over-the-air update to the Dell Streak 5, with Android 2.2.2. Included in this update was an ooVoo Android client (version 1.0.8.314).

    Unfortunately, this version was not the latest that ooVoo delivered to Dell. The latest version fixes several known bugs and user experience issues:

    • ooVoo auto starts when the device powers on
    • Reoccurring notifications
    • Application running in the background after user exit
    • Requiring forced close to stop app from running

    ooVoo was first alerted to this issue several hours ago. Thank you for your additional details! We regret that many of you have been affected and we are working on an upgrade process to immediately fix this issue and provide you with the updated ooVoo client. You will find this version to be an excellent video chat experience. We are planning to automatically send this upgrade out to you, and also to the Android market, by end-of-day tomorrow.

    Our goal, and the hallmark of our service, has been the quality of our video experience across Mac, PC, Android, iPhone and tablets. We take any event like this that impacts our user experience very seriously and we have our teams mobilized to provide a quick resolution.

    In addition, here are the instructions on how to uninstall the ooVoo client from the Dell Streak.

    Again, we regret any inconvenience the update caused. If you are in need of additional support, please contact our support group at support@oovoo.com, or reply here to me.

    Thank you,
    Matthew de Ganon
    EVP Marketing, ooVoo

    Uninstalling the ooVoo client 1.0.8.314 from Dell Streak:
    1. Go to Settings
    2. Touch on
    3. Touch on
    4. Touch on
    5. Uninstall
    6. Touch on

    • AngryTechnician says :

      Matthew,

      Thanks for your very welcome update on this issue. One point on your uninstall instructions however: any program that is installed with a firmware update cannot be uninstalled unless the handset is rooted. This includes the version of ooVoo that Dell bundled. The Uninstall button is greyed out in these circumstances, which is why so many people are frustrated. If course the simplest solution would be to simply uninstall the ooVoo application, but it is simply not possible using these instructions without rooting the handset.

      Regards,
      AT

  9. Tom Newton says :

    I hate bundled apps. I have Orange’s Mail App running 24/7 on my Desire S. I don’t use it, but I can’t get rid. Why would I use it? Given that their maps app crashes when not connected by 3g, I don’t quite trust it – would rather use the standard mail app. Got to live with it biting my batteries tho.

  10. Jen says :

    Anyone got the capacitive lights issue. Heelllp meeee!!!

  11. @mitydad says :

    If you go to the Market and install the new oovoo update you can kill the app, but you still can’t get rid of it. (on the streak) here is what they told me.

    A new version is now available that will resolve all the problem you are experiencing. Please go to the android Market, select ooVoo and download the new version.

    The application was embedded by Dell so you’ll need to contact them if you wish to uninstall.

    Thanks for your patience.

    Best,

    Roberta

    I can tell you one thing, I am the one that told them about it.

  12. AngryTechnician says :

    Have just installed the update myself, and when I turned the phone off and on again, no ooVoo services started up. It now behaves like any other bundled app – you can’t remove it, but you can just let it sit quietly in the app drawer.

  13. Peter says :

    Thank you for helping with this junk. The software itself maybe fine – I just don’t need it and don’t want it. Thanks a million for helping with pushing it into the background at least.

  14. Cosmic Rhapsody says :

    My daughter had a Dell Streak and constantly bitches about this Oovoo booting when she restarts the phone, what she does is

    1. Tap on settings

    2. Tap on applications

    3. Tap on Manage Applications

    4. Tap on the running tab (2nd tab in)

    5. Scroll down till you find Oovoo tap on that

    6. Tap on force stop.

    this aparantly stops it running even in the back ground

    From what I have been reading whilst researching this, Oovoo aparantly don’t want a share of the market, or their marketing manager needs to be fired right after someone informs him about the impact on potential customers if you Piss them off constantly.

  15. ted says :

    Always go to hear someone is “Gonna, try to help” both Dell and Oovoo are truly failures and “Gonna continue to Try”