Android Annoyances

· Read in about 3 min · (612 words) ·

So yesterday and today while driving back from work, I’ve had to join conference calls. The conference call provider we use at work has 10 digit passcode numbers. Usually, I have a few bridge numbers with the DTMF codes saved in my contacts so I can just click on the contact to get dialled to the access number and have the participant passcode typed in for me. However, yesterday and today’s calls were on a different bridge and I had to try to remember a 10 digit number after dialling the access code - and all that while driving. Needless to say, it took a few attempts and I’m sure at that time my attention wasn’t where it should have been - ie on the road and on the traffic. Besides being thoroughly unsafe on Bangalore roads, its just frustrating(thankfully - better sense prevailed today and I pulled over, dialled into the bridge and then started driving again).

So the issue really is that the native parser that parses out email and calendar invites doesn’t understand access codes and passcodes. It shouldn’t be too hard to do - but then I started digging a bit deeper this evening. Granted that the parser isn’t smart enough, at the very minimum if it handles tel: links properly, then its just a matter of educating folks who set up meetings to set them up so that you can click to call with something like <a href="tel:23423432233,,9230233#"> - in fact, in Outlook if you type TEL: and then the number, it will automatically be parsed as a tel: hyperlink. Turns out that its a massive fail - if I click the link, Android will show me the dialler but without the DTMF codes (basically, only the number upto the first comma). TOTAL FAIL.

So, Isn’t this something that should have been brain dead simple to do? I mean - this is 2012 after all - and I’m not asking much. All I’m asking is that the tel: url parsing/handling be done in such a way that we can use our phones properly!!! Turns out that there’s an open ticket 4575 since Nov 09. And its marked as an enhancement - I find that laughable since its a bug and definitely something that can be done quite easily (esp since a contact that has DTMF codes is dialled properly). However, for the 2 years that the ticket has languished, there have been 73 comments and not a single response from big GOOG :(

At the moment, doesnt look like this is going to be fixed - so I started browsing thru the Android source tree to see if I can find where the implementation for tel: urls - however, given the size of the android source, that’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Guess I’ll have better luck with seeing if CyanogenMod folks can fix this in CM9.

So about that, the other thing that has confounded me is why in the world can’t Android bundle a decent T9 dialer/smart dialer out of the box. I know there are tons of apps on the market that do that - but seriously, is smart dialing something so out of the world that I need an app for it? As expected, there’s a ticket but no action.

I think its safe to assume that Google isn’t interested in fixing these issues as there’s no 'benefit' in doing so - though for the life of me, I can’t imagine either of them being particularly hard. In any case, I’m eagerly awaiting a CM9 build for the Nexus One (right now, am running an ICS build from XDA).