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.
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.