March 21, 2010

New "Smart" Phone is Dumb

In a moment of weakness I bought an unlocked HTC Tattoo "smart" phone from eBay to replace my aging Palm pilot. (Maybe even use it as a phone if rates ever get in my range). It has Wi-fi, GPS, browser, and apps for email, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, calendar, clock, etc.

But, who knew?! If you buy an Android device without a "Market" app already installed, you can't download apps from the Android Marketplace - that contains most apps you might actually want to get. There does not appear to be any way to acquire the Market app if it's not already there. You literally have to become an extreme techie and use a Linux system to flash the rom (or something like that).

There are other sites such as Slideme.org that have apps but a very poor selection. Apps for GPS, sky maps, etc. are just not there.

Then I tried to install the HTC Sync app - something fails and the device driver doesn't install. No idea where to get help after a few hours of searching. I even uninstalled it and tried to link it as a "drive" using the USB connection - nope. Then I removed the microSD card, put it in the adapter and inserted into my laptop's card-reader. Nothing at all. Am I jinxed or is it the weather?

I'm about ready to turn this brick over to someone who wants a nice phone with the basics installed apps (which are actually pretty useful).