Funny, I haven't been over to these forums in awhile and now I come back--and see all manners of problems, issues, gripes, etc. Wasn't *anything* like this when I first got my Fascinate.
Here's what I think: I don't beleive Verizon understood what they were getting into with develping a ROM for (sort-of) open-source smartphone platform like Android. They clearly were really struggling to catch up with the core development from early on. Pity, because I always felt the Fascinate had stellar hardware, and Verizon service in my (admittedly more remote) neck of the woods has always been very good.
Judging by the number of "I'm having an issue" and "this fon sux" posts, it seems to me more recent updates seem to have only added to the misery. So what to do?
Here's the interesting thing: I haven't had a single problem with my phone that I haven't been able to fix. Even for a product that (would seem to be) at end-of-life, I'm still planning on buying a new case and extended battery for it. I use it with a Bluetooth keyboard for taking notes in meetings, keep current on all my e-mails, collaborate with various teams with Google Docs, and yes, answer phone calls. My Fascinate currently runs blazing fast, no lag at all (except when the 3g in my area is weak), and is easy on the eyes.
But I've had to work a little for all this functionality.
My humble opinion? If you're wanting bleeding-edge firmware, the official updates are only going to get you so far. Development on these updates will likely even slow down further as newer phones are rolled out. Just basic economies of scale--Verizon's not going to be able to maintain Development efforts on increasingly older hardware--especially with new models coming out all the time.
***WARNING: The following statement will likely result in me dodging black helicopters on my way back home!*** ((Sorry Mods, couldn't resist. ))
If you're like me, you still have your Fascinate, and really liked the phone to start with--but quickly tired of the slow ROM development. If you have an inkling of technical saavy (or have a geeky friend), and you have awhile left before an upgrade, here's what I suggest: Head on over to the XDA Developers website, do some research, and weigh the risks of implementing some of the great work that community is doing. Keep in mind playing with custom ROMS will void your warranty and yes, you *can* brick your phone if you don't know what you're doing....
....but I've actually been far happier with my phone since I've taken the plunge.
Espresso Runnymede SIII (CM7), Glitch 18.104.22.168 Kernal
Logitech Tablet Keyboard
I also think the hardware is awesome
I bought another one just to have in case somthing happens to the one I have
I paid $80.00 on eBay Great Deal for a great phone
My set up Ec03 GB stock
"samsung's bluetooth stack doesn't support HID and CM7 is the only ROM out there that redoes everything from scratch ENOUGH in order to not use the manufacturer's bluetooth stack)..."
Now it all makes sense....I tried out what seems like a gazillion ROMs before I realized CM7-based ROMs were the only ones that can support my keyboard.