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TU Go from O2 - brilliant idea, flawed implementation


TU Go is O2's solution to poor network coverage. A brilliant concept that allows the phone to continue to receive calls and texts while it has no cellular coverage. The implementation? Not so brilliant.

To use TU Go you must be on a pay monthly O2 plan then you simply download the app from the Play Store and register. Registering took quite a while and it didn't work first time for me, but then again just about every process in the O2 system failed at one point during my testing with systems regularly tripping up due to them not properly supporting Number Porting.

And We're Off

And We're Off

No, that wasn't a typo - it's what will happen very quickly. TU Go runs a separate inbox, call log and dialler and the first problem you experience is duplicate text message notifications. O2's suggestion is to turn off the stock notifications which is not a great solution at all.

As I said, you are running a separate dialler and text message app so you will not be able to use your normal dialler or text message app - you are stuck using TU Go and it is an unmitigated UI and UX disaster. That brand new phone you just bought with all those professionally designed apps? Scrap them, you are using TU Go.

The app's layout is taken 100% from an iPhone with the buttons, badges, tabs etc. all copied across lock, stock and barrel. There is no Holo theme here, in fact there is no Android here at all - it's iPhone all the way, There don't appear to be any high resolution graphics in the app leading to an "out of focus" experience and the colour choice is bizarre. The final result is a muddy, messy and badly designed app.

There has also been zero attention to detail, notifications show the wrong size icon and the text gets chopped off halfway down, the badly drawn speech bubbles around the text have no smooth edges and are so close to the text that sometimes it's unreadable.

The app is just horrific.


OK, so looks aside, how does it work?

As good as it looks, unfortunately. I was getting double notifications for just about everything and when I used it for calling the call quality was poor, delayed and very echoey, when it worked.

Texts continued to be a mystery and i was getting texts in my TU Go inbox and texts in my stock inbox but neither place had the whole text conversation meaning you had to flip backwards and forward between the two apps to read the whole conversation and try and work out where each piece went.

When I received a MMS it never arrived in my stock inbox but TU Go helpfully delivered it as a text message and stripped the picture from it.

In summary

O2 claim it's just a first release and the app will only get better. Fair enough, but it's so flawed in execution that I can't see it getting better very quickly, especially when no real effort has been put into making an Android version at all.

If you have absolutely no O2 coverage at all at home then something is better than nothing and TU Go will "solve" this problem to an extent and it's portable too, all you need is WiFi and you are good to go. I'm guessing that this would allow you to use your phone abroad as if you were at home - just turn the cellular radio off - but I wasn't able to test this.

However, a far better solution would be to switch networks to one that has coverage or, failing that, switch to Vodafone and purchase a £50 sure signal box (femtocell) which "boosts" your signal in your home without having to run any extra apps - it's the only system that gets anywhere close to working.

Poor show O2, you've lost a valuable customer inside his first week.

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2 Comments

Photo
The Soup Thief
May 02 2013 09:37 AM
This seems similar to TU Me (turns out they're sister apps both by TU - can't see in what way they're different, other than that TU Go uses blue as it's main colour, while TU Me uses orange). 48 months, a brand of O2 Ireland, offers a package that largely depends on your use of this app for voice calls (offers uncapped use though, so depending on your circumstances, if you could get it working it might represent a good deal).
I've not used TU Me and not read any reviews of it, so can't really see how it's in any way different from this fairly ropey implementation. Might become useful one day.
EDIT - just had a quick look at http://www.tu.com/ It looks like the main difference is TU Go works via mobile numbers while TU Me is more like Google Talk, identifying users primarily with their login names and not allowing you to call people not using the TU Me app. I could be very wrong. Feel free to put me right if you can be bothered
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Hi "The Soup Thief"

Yeah TuGo is an extension of your mobile number and is O2s attempt to supplement their network in dead zones (ie your house).

One thing I forgot to add in the article is that there is a desktop version and it only supports Windows7 and requires a download and installation of a native app. Macs are not supported.

Matt
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