Lesson Not Learned: AT&T locks down the HTC Aria's app selection

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Almost immediately after AT&T launched their first Android phone, the Motorola Backflip, folks noticed something weird: the option to install applications from third-party, non-Google-approved sources had been removed. People around the Internets — including yours truly — were a bit appalled. The freedom to do whatever the hell you please sans any sort of hand holding is one of Android’s greatest strengths — why would you ever remove that?

Surely, AT&T learned from their mistake. Surely, they didn’t lop out that same option from their second Android phone, the HTC Aria, right?

Wrong.

We just got our hands on the Aria, and sure enough: the “Unknown Sources: Allow Install of Non-Market applications” option is missing. Clicking on an APK in the browser results in an error message. “You’ve got to change the setting!” it yells, offering a shortcut button which, on just about any other Android phone, leads to the setting in question. Here, it just leads to confusion.

Pro-tip, AT&T: Leave Android alone, and let HTC/Google do their thing. In the grand scheme of things, the group that actually wants/needs the “Unknown Sources” option may be small — but they’re also one of the loudest groups you’ve got: the power users.

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