At Giz Gallery, Tom alerted us to a serious problem with HTC Touch Diamonds: After a few minutes, the backlight becomes permanently dim, making the phone unusable, and there is no fix yet.Updated 9:15AM
Tom's unlocked Touch Diamond that he showed us was a sad little brick, barely readable, and absolutely impossible to use in the daylight. Interestingly, according to the mod wizards at XDA, the issue doesn't appear to be a hardware cock-up—it's apparently a firmware problem that HTC has yet to fix. Modder efforts have also been unsuccessful, since a standard firmware flash seems to leave the problematic code untouched.
Worse, HTC's support system is broken as well. They're not able to fix the phones, and have been directing users to deal with carriers—which leaves people with unlocked phones effectively screwed. Tom was simply told to buy a new one, even though his is just a few months old, and, you know, an unlocked Diamond costs several hundred dollars. BTW, Sprint Diamond owners, how are things on your end? I suspect this issue might be behind the delays there.
This stupid backlight problem illustrates two seemingly contradictory points about today's tech. We live in a beta culture that leaves us constantly waiting for updates and fixes to crappy firmware and software shoved out the door, and that it's safer than ever to buy first-gen hardware, since refinements in design and manufacturing mean most of the problems we run into as early adopters are the kind that can be updated or patched.
Not that this makes it any less goddamn infuriating. Fix your ducking phones, HTC.
Update: HTC responds to the issue:
"HTC’s tech team has looked at the XDA developer thread and determined that the problem is limited to people installing cooked ROMs that do not match the firmware on the HTC Touch Diamonds. Apparently very few people have experienced this problem..."