Suggestion: Republic Lab for unsupported phones


While I have been using RW for years and love the service, I am not as happy with the phone selection as I would like to be. It seems this really should not be a problem since there current software sounds like it would work on pretty much any stock android platform.

What I’d like to see is a Republic Lab where you could get their software without the specif phone check. It should probably check the android version and the other things that really are necessary for the service to work, but then allow you to try things out on the phone.

People in this lab would understand that an unsupported phone is just that, unsupported. But it would allow them to see if their favorite phone has acceptable functionality as well as giving feedback to RW so that they can expand their list of supported phones.

Seems like this would be a win win and would eliminate yet another reason for people trying out inferior competitor offerings.

BYOD 1) wording on website comes across as misleading 2) New phones beta testing?
BYOD 1) wording on website comes across as misleading 2) New phones beta testing?

Great suggestion.


the Suggestion is good from a cutting edge user point of view but I don’t know if Republic will be to quick to do this
Testing the phones for compatibility is one of the major hurdles for a phone to be approved by Republic but it’s not the only one
Republic needs to have a relationship with the OEM also 1 to work with to make sure the initial Release of the North American Factory Unlock model has no conflicts with the Republic apps and service and also to make sure when the phones get updates these updates do not break the phone (or if they do republic can work with OEM to fix it)


How I envision this working is that phones people try in this lab would not automatically be supported. For the customer/user, it would be a change to try their phone. For RW, it would provide a short list of phones that are worth looking at for pursuing an OEM relationship etc. Still a win win as RW does not have to do the initial groundwork on phones (or guess which ones are popular). Instead they can concentrate on Phones that show promise.


I think that this would be a bigger issue than you would think. When the functionality doesn’t work right, it costs Republic money. The usual failure isn’t particularly evident to the user, but causes the phone to use the underlying carrier infrastructure, rather than Republic’s, something that costs Republic. Customers may see this as their texts going out from the wrong number or MMS not working. This is why Republic is so careful to certify phones where they know future updates won’t break things for the customers that have made the investment and won’t cost them money either.


That does not sound insurmountable, though it does sound like more would be involved than just releasing the current version without the check for supported phones. Adding logging/debugging that reports what is going on would give the needed feedback. This being a lab, it is not just everyone using it, the lab participants would be required to report what is going on.

Potentially, this would allow RW to push back changes all the way to Google so that their product is more likely to work with each new release.

It still seems like a win win to me.


I agree, that if it could work, it could be a win-win. From a good news/bad news perspective it isn’t what’s in underlying Android… What Republic has needed has been there since Marshmallow. The problem is that OEMs have a bad habit of removing or blocking core functionality. A great example is that the standard AOSP dialer includes the ability to add SIP credentials for VoIP calling integrated with the dialer. Grab a few phones and look for these settings in the dialer and you’ll find that many OEMs have remove/hidden them. It’s these sorts of changes that Republic has to worry about, not in the phone’s GUI, but the underlying Android architecture.


Why Would Republic put the ti me and effort in supporting a LAB on Phones it will never approve as the OEMs that make are not willing to work with Republic? (at least until such time that the OEM and Republic have a working relationship They shouldn’t put much effort in testing a phone
even if a lab was made for phone testing of phones not yet approved the list would not be tom much larger as Republic does not have any relationship with these OEMs


That would depend on what their criteria is for pursuing OEM relationships. What indication is there that the OEMs are not willing to work with RW? I doubt that anyone has the time to look at everything available and then attempt to start a relationship with them. This would allow a first pass on OEMs and products to be done without RW having to invest a lot of time. If things are looking promising, they can then see what can be done. Not to mention that an OEM seems more likely to listen to RW if there is already an indication that things look good (ie, it won’t be costing them lots and will increase their customer base).


One question is obviously resources on the Republic side. How many OEMs can they pursue relationships with and then maintain those relationships (regardless of the willingness of the OEM). Picking an OEM with sub 0.1% of the market likely isn’t a good use of their time.


Other than the plain fact that Republic has only worked with a limited number of OEM (Motorola/Lenovo, Samsung, Huawei, Atcatel, and Google) and Huawei and Alcatel only has 1 phone (I think they are just trying to get in the us market and was willing to work with anyone to open the door)


I have noted the missing SIP settings on some phones. I’ve also seen that getting to those settings is usually still possible (ie more often hidden than missing). Those things would certainly need to be part of what the app checks for to say if it is even possible in the lab. The idea is to get the community to do this sort of first pass so the RW can concentrate on bringing things to the more promising phones.


Certainly a OEM with such a small footprint would not be high on their list. That said, if things really just worked, there would be little harm in pursing things. Given that some great devices and ideas come from small companies, what better way to get exposure.


I’m not really following what you are getting at here. Are they only working with a small number because they were rejected or because no one perused them?

* Kudo & Win! *

I purchased a Google Pixel 2 in December, and highly expected that I might have to use Google-Fi instead of RW. Keep in mind that the Pixel2 had only been out for 2 months at that point, so it would have been unreasonable of me to require a company with limited resources to have vetted a phone so quickly. Still, the Pixel2 worked, which saved RW from losing a customer and saved me from paying the extra premium to Google for monthly service. BTW: not feeling sorry for Google. They got their $950 up front. All I am suggesting is that the evidence is that RW really makes the effort to respond to market demand. And, I am much happier with the Pixel2 than I was with my Motorola Defy…yeah kind of old. Oh…and kudos to the downtown Raleigh crew who got me up and running…really saved me some aggravation.

* Kudo & Win! *

There is no attempt on my part to fault RW for what is offers, I just want more. :slight_smile:

I can say that of the many people I tell about RW, the few who are not interested, the phone selection is not an uncommon reason.