August 17, 2010

"Stupid" smart phone update

For months I've been struggling with my android smart phone - and still do not have phone service. Still using it as a pocket computer. WiFi allows me to read Twitter sitting on the dock or in a hot spot.

My woes with Android "Market" continue (I do not have it in my android system so cannot access the market at all). I have downloaded many apps from SlideMe.org, Handango, Softonic, Andappstore, etc. Thank gosh android is a relatively 'open' system or I would have nothing on my phone.

My recent experience buying NDrive (GPS app) was a case in point. They ignored my message not to process the purchase if I needed the Market. I downloaded a huge file - several GB -- to my PC that installs the maps I bought to my phone microSD card via USB connection - that worked great. Then the setup tells me to download the NDrive app from Market. After 2 message to their website (unanswered) and 1 to the address in my purchase email, I finally got someone who understood english and emailed me the APK file. I immediately installed it to my phone to find it wouldn't run until I "upgraded". In the Market of course. Grrrr. I'm just about to ask for a refund but I persevere. (No normal person would spend this much time trying to spend money.)

My next email went into the void and I appealed to the nice folks on the Mobilism android forum and someone gave me the file I needed. I really should not have to expose myself to files from strangers to get an APK that is essentially free. I installed it and it started just fine - took a bit of work to register the maps - nothing is easy or obvious. Such as first time you run the app, it should be smart enough to see your maps are not registered and ask if you.. ah well. Once again I tried to contact NDrive and finally got another reply. They are willing to send me the apk's and updates. Probably so they don't have to deal with $$ in the market. Oddly enough all the map, voice and alert files are available on their site. Just the most important file is only available via Market.

Until I travel a bit, I won't be able to test it properly. Hopefully it is as good as the reviews.
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