Smartphones are great until they stop working, at which point they’re not. Great. Apart from the obvious physical damage they can sustain, there’s also the unfortunate truth that like all portable computers they’re prone to wear and tear, software glitches and all other types of problems which can make them stop doing their stuff. At which point your options are to call a remote tech help line, trudge down to a repair store or throw the thing away.
Now there’s a new alternative which sounds interesting and which could really take off in a big way if it works as advertised.
Supportime is a new service and free downloadable app for Android smartphones which embeds a technical support service in your phone. It’s basically a direct line chat system to a techie, along with some clever remote diagnostics, but what that means is if there’s a problem with your handset, you can get instant help and feedback from someone without all the call center nightmare.
The app comes with a range of options, including direct chat with the tech center, call back and advanced services such as repair and replace (using a network of global phone maintenance companies) and soon a lost and found feature, which will use the handset’s GPS to locate your missing phone.
The company behind the service is a well established cell phone test company called Testime, which provides seriously low level testing and fault analysis for phone manufacturers out of the Far East, so they should know what they’re doing in terms of analyzing problems with your phone. And if the phone needs a serious repair, their diagnostics should make the process less bother than running it through the cumbersome traditional process.
The service is free for the first year, and there’s a £0.99 one off payment thereafter if you like it and wish to continue. It’s almost too good to be true, so we’ll reserve judgment until we see how it works in the real world. When we tried it out as a test, there were a few glitches, like nobody on the other end of the chat, and the fact that we couldn’t sign up for an account, but we’re going to be charitable and assume these are just teething problems for a brand new service.
In the meantime, it’s probably still worth a shot downloading the app to see if it actually does work for you. You can get it here. If we hear any more back from the developers, we’ll update this post.