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Old 12 March 2013, 08:22 PM
Kallah's Avatar
Kallah Kallah is offline
Join Date: 19 July 2004
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 2,598
Default Misleading TracFone advertisement

I'm currently a member of SafeLink wireless, which is TracFone's piece of the LifeLine program. I was given a free phone, which is absolutely awesome, but the screen on it is small and hard to read, and the buttons are absolutely tiny. This is vastly better than no phone, of course, but after several months of fumbling with the thing I asked if there was any way I could upgrade my phone to something with larger numbers - I was more than willing to pay for the upgrade. I was informed that any TracFone could be used with SafeLink service, and all I'd need to do is purchase the new phone and call them up to change the number over. Sweet! I was excited to see that they even had several touch screen phones for under a hundred bucks (not really smart phones, but I could adjust the size of the buttons, which was my main goal) and decided I would have to do some saving.

Of course, advertisements started popping up left right and center for TracFone, and one of them caught my attention: this advertisement for the LG 840G appeared to have the Android OS logo attached to it. Having a real smart phone would be fantastic, and for just 59.99 the price was certainly right. I wrote down the model number to look up more information on it, but advertisements kept popping up everywhere I went.

Anything more than a quick glance at the phone's technical information, however, reveals that it is absolutely not running an Android OS. I've watched almost a dozen reviews, and read several more, each of which makes it very clear that that the phone appears to be running a proprietary (and vastly inferior) operating system that is not compatible with even the most basic third party services, such as gmail. Things get even weirder when you check the official LG840G User Guide (warning .pdf file) which indicates that the phone should be running an android OS, and should be compatible with the Android Market, as well as Google's other services. There is, however, a warning at the beginning of the manual that states:

Some of the contents in this manual may differ from your phone depending on the software of the phone or your service provider.
If TracFone has replaced the Android OS with some home-brewed operating system that isn't meshing well with any of Google's products or services, can they still use the Android logo? Google's Brand Guidelines page says that the robot logo can be used freely in advertisements, as long as it is attributed, but can it be used to advertise non-Android products? Is TracFone doing anything wrong by strongly implying their product is using an Android OI, when it clearly is not?

I'm annoyed that I was mislead about the phone, but what it boils down to is can I actually do anything about the situation, other than be annoyed?
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Old 17 March 2013, 05:53 AM
Not_Done_Living's Avatar
Not_Done_Living Not_Done_Living is offline
Join Date: 02 September 2006
Location: Markham, ON
Posts: 3,735

the problem with Android phones, is that there are MANY versions of Android OS, and apps are not designed to be backwards compatible.

I suspect this phone has Froyo (2.2) which is not compatible with the new Google Play store -- and the phones are NOT upgrade able to a generic version of the OS.

  1. Version Code name Release date API level Distribution (March 4, 2013)
  2. 4.2.x Jelly Bean November 13, 2012 17 1.6%
  3. 4.1.x Jelly Bean July 9, 2012 16 14.9%
  4. 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich December 16, 2011 15 28.6%
  5. 3.2 Honeycomb July 15, 2011 13 0.9%
  6. 3.1 Honeycomb May 10, 2011 12 0.3%
  7. 2.3.3–2.3.7 Gingerbread February 9, 2011 10 44%
  8. 2.3–2.3.2 Gingerbread December 6, 2010 9 0.2%
  9. 2.2 Froyo May 20, 2010 8 7.6%
  10. 2.0–2.1 Eclair October 26, 2009 7 1.9%
  11. 1.6 Donut September 15, 2009 4 0.2%
The same issue with cheaper tablets probably not working with the official google app store.

So technically it IS misleading, as people assume Android is Android -- so i agree!
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