What Elephone is doing wrong

As you all might (or might not) know, I’m a big fan of Elephone. I participate in their forums actively, and support their giveaways and events too. However, there are just a few things that they are doing wrong that are angering customers, and potentially moving customers to the many other brands all over the world that are manufacturing cheap smartphones like the ones Elephone sells.

First of, Elephone falsifies their device specifications. Many users on the forums are specifically angry because of that, and the one thing that is always coming up in the forum is poor battery life. The battery life of most Elephone devices are usually lower than written in the specifications, and although there is no way to test this, the battery life gives it away, with users complaining of extremely short screen-on times. I’m skeptical of this though, as I thought after so many events and dissatisfaction among customers that Elephone would stop doing it. Tests were even done on the batteries to show that they had sub-par capacities. If they had stopped doing it though, then it was a problem with the ROM itself. I have noticed that in a lot of MediaTek ROMs, the screen-off time, regardless of whether the Wi-Fi, data, or GPS have been turned on or off, is ridiculously long. An MTK6589T device I had with a 3200mAh battery (or so it claims) could last 14 days on one full charge, totally on standby and with the screen off. However, once the screen is turned on, the battery starts draining. Is this a failure in OEM or MediaTek?

Secondly, the Elephone support forum administrators do not respond swiftly. Ethan, one of the main (or possibly only) administrator on the Elephone forum is almost invisible on the forum. He checks back occasionally to post ROM updates, and give away prizes. However, it seems that the number of support personnel is already too low, or just not assigned to the forum. Elephone needs to put more people on the forum, as there are people who are more comfortable typing their problem than talking face-to-face, or over the phone. Speaking of which, they have launched, very recently, their new Skype support center. How it will perform is not known yet though, as it seems like not many use Skype, or if they wanted to, couldn’t, as Skype is banned in Mainland China.

Furthermore, Elephone does not release updates for their devices quick enough. If you have an Elephone device, chances are that there is at least one thing annoying about it, be it a bug, or unwanted feature, that hasn’t been fixed or removed yet. The Elephone P2000, which I own, is one device that has numerous bugs that have not been fixed. The fingerprint scanner stops randomly, and the screen sends rapid touches to the bottom right corner when inactive for a prolonged period of time. Many calls to Elephone seem to be ignored, or simply put aside because of time constrains. OEMs like Ulefone have already released the latest Android 5.0 (Lollipop) for their devices, specifically the Be Pro, while Elephone is still lagging behind on their P6000. It is promising that Elephone is the first OEM to get CyanogenMod running on a MediaTek device, though I doubt that will even get any updates. Again, this is a failure either in the OEM or MediaTek. We will probably never know, as the ROM builds are done in private, and MediaTek’s confidentiality policy prevents any of their source code from being released (obviously annoying major developers who want to start developing ROMs for MediaTek devices, them being so cheap and widespread).

Well, those are the 3 things Elephone could do better, or really I should say, both Elephone and MediaTek. Cheap phones are great, but when there is a barrier between the end-user, the OEM, and the software provider, it just brings everything down. This does not apply to just Elephone too, as there are many OEMs out there that are probably worse off than Elephone (i.e. Unbranded OEMs, clone device OEMs such as HDC, and OEMs that don’t even get enough sales). I’m sure if the community works with the OEMs, everything would be much better.

That’s all for today, see you next time!