The truth about the HTC Freestyle came to me after days of scratching my head over the love hate relationship I had developed with this smart dumb phone. It all started when my old contract with AT&T was up and I had grown out of my old LG Invision phone. It was time to take the leap and get into some newer technology. I play lots of podcasts and music on my phone so I wanted something with elegant audio playing features. It also had to have a standard headset jack. No proprietary multi-use data port connection for the head-set. And I wanted a touch screen and enough processing power to maybe make use of some cool apps if I wanted to at some point in the future. But what I didn’t want was a smart phone that required a data plan. Why pay for the Internet twice? I do all of my net related activities on my MacBook and do not want to even try to get use to the confines of a 4 inch viewing area.
To put it simply, I wanted a smart phone with out the data plan, and I wanted it for little to no money. Impossible right? Right. But I thought I had found the answer in the HTC Freestyle. I won’t go into a full review of it’s features but lets just say it appeared to do everything I needed. And for $20 on Amazon Wireless. WOW!
I read the reviews and everyone praised this phone. I was even more excited. Then I read the comments beneath the reviews and they told a different story. Everyone told the same nightmarish tale. The phone crashes, freezes, sends and receives multiple text messages and on and on. And this was happening to every replacement phone they got too. There were some positive comments but for every one pleased owner there were five disgruntled consumers with some variation of the same problems.
But still, for $20 and free shipping I had to try. I got the phone in 5 days, activated it and you guessed it, I had the same problems. I loaded up some podcasts and 5 minutes into listening it stopped and gave a message that said something like: Ooops! System error must restart. And it did this time and time again. I went to HTC.com and they were offering no solutions. Only the standard soft and hard reset instructions. This only got the phone working long enough only to freeze, crash, or go into a vicious reloading cycle again. It was obviously somthing wrong with the OS. But HTC was offering no updates. No explanations. Nothing.
I scoured the Internet looking for anyone that was able to fix the problems with this phone but could not find one. I finally gave up and decided to send the phone back and go with a different model. But before I did that I thought I’d take it to a AT&T store just to see what they’d say, as well as get my old LG reactivated incase of the inevitable. While standing in line at the store I saw the Freestyle on display for $149 with a 2 year contract. I started thinking how could Amazonwireless sell a couple hundred dollar phone for only $20 while the MSRP is more like $300? Then my entrepreneurial business mind kicked in and I know exactly what was going on.
HTC knows there’s a market for a smart-feature phone. So they make one as cheaply as possible. This phone doesn’t even run Android. It runs BREW MP from Qualcomm. They throw this thing together and do the minimal Q and A. Why? Because that costs money and they don’t want to invest in it until they know they have takers. So the first run of phones come off the line. Some work others don’t. With the ones that do work they secure a deal with AT&T. Now they can go back and take the time to work out the bugs for the second run of units. These are the $150 to 300 phones that you get at the AT&T stores and the ones that reviewers get.
As for that first batch, they are off loaded to a discount distributer who’s willing to pass it on to and deal with the consumer when the stuff hits the fan. When I contacted Amazonwireless the phone Rep acted like he already know my story about the phone and just directed me on how to send it back postage paid. This is how Amazonwireless, Fry’s and many other discount retailers can sell you merchandise for fractions of the MSRP. It works for them…and sucks for us. Just thought you should know. And as many had warned me I’ll do the same for you reading this…DO NOT BUY THE $20 HTC FREESTYLE FROM AMAZONWIRELESS OR ANY PLACE ELSE.