July 17, 2009

Airtel's HTC magic in India - buyers beware !

So, I returned to India recently and looking to get a mobile phone, settled on what seemed to be the only android phone available in India - the HTC magic. Could not find any detailed reviews specific to Airtel's offering, but it did not appear as if the phone should be any different from that described in other reviews or on the HTC website.

So imagine my surprise when I cannot find the promised integrated google applications on the phone. The biggest disappointment is that there is no android market to get your apps and you have to settle for what is available at Leafs 'Openmarket' or Handango.

Turns out there are two versions of this phone - one is the google version which has all the goodies and a HTC version which instead has none of the google goodies and some additional software (most of which I am not interested in, and none of which compensates for the lack of access to android market).

Searching around on the internet, I find I am not the only one to have been surprised by this after buying the phone. I think the blame is on the seller for not making the distinction clear. SO I hope this post helps warn other potential buyers to be prepared for this when you buy the phone.

Apart from this, the phone feels great and the virtual keyboard works wonderfully. And for the geek side, ASE (Android Scripting Environment) could be installed and using connectbot I have a local shell and can use ssh ! At some point, I think I will be tempted to take the risk and attempt flashing a new ROM.

Edit - 08 Nov 2009 - I rooted the phone and put in a new ROM - freedom !