Yesterday I posted up an article on HTC’s statement saying that the HTC Desire will not be receiving an upgrade to Gingerbread. However, earlier today they changed their minds and have created a new post which says:
Contrary to what we said earlier, we are going to bring Gingerbread to HTC Desire
This is great news for everyone, all though of course they’ve not published any estimated release dates yet!
Thanks to reader WeeJockey for noticing this!
Bad news for all folks that have been eagerly waiting for news of the Gingerbread (2.3) update for the HTC Desire. Unfortunately HTC announced earlier today on their UK Facebook page that the HTC Desire will in fact not be receiving the long-awaited update to the latest version of the Android OS.
Our engineering teams have been working hard for the past few months to find a way to bring Gingerbread to the HTC Desire without compromising the HTC Sense experience you’ve come to expect from our phones. However, we’re sorry to announce that we’ve been forced to accept there isn’t enough memory to allow us both to bring Gingerbread and keep the HTC Sense experience on the HTC Desire. We’re sincerely sorry for the disappointment that this news may bring to some of you.
The reasoning might not appear to be most convincing to some users, especially considering that a number of 2.3 Sense ports for the Desire are already available on XDA, however it’s a shame for users who aren’t familiar or confident in rooting their phone and are forced to stick with the current installed version of Android on their HTC Desire.
I guess the biggest let down is the fact that at the start of this year HTC actually stated that the Desire WOULD be getting the Gingerbread update and got many of us impatiently waiting for June to arrive and bring us our ginger flavoured treat.
It’s a shame that the only real update HTC were able to provide Desire owners was Froyo, and that was only 2 months after the phone release date. Sad day for Desire owners, but I know plenty (including myself) are happy to use their phone as it is and will continue to use it for the foreseeable future.
Google Goggles was one of the novelty applications that I downloaded when I got my phone, but quickly forgot about. A new update to this application today added a series of tweaks and improvements (making it faster and results more reliable) as well as a few new features:
- QR codes recognised by scanning. Instead of having to take a picture, you just need to bring your camera over a QR code for it to be recognised and show you the information it contains
- Scanning of newspaper and magazine adverts. This feature is for US users where adverts in magazines and newspapers since August 2010 should be recognised by the application, however this feature currently doesn’t seem to be working for quite a lot of ads.
- Solving Sudoku puzzles. I’ve tried this and really does work, and amazingly fast too! Just take a picture of a puzzle, select the Solve option and you’ll see your phone showing you the solution in a matter of seconds.
If you don’t have Goggles already you can download using the QR code below (click it if you’re browsing on your phone):
Once downloaded you can try out the Sudoku feature on the puzzle below:
The video below shows one of my favourite childhood games, Worms, running on a HTC Desire.
The game is already out, but unfortunately not available on the Market. To download you need to visit EA’s mobile game store on your phone and purchase from there. Payments are processed by Bango.
If you don’t trust Bango, or can’t see the game on the EA site yet then we can only hope EA see the sense in releasing it to the Android Market. Personally I’m holding off buying if and until its on the Market, but it’s still exciting news to finally have this game on the HTC Desire and other Android phones.
If you’ve rooted your phone, then you’ve most likely heard of the MIUI ROM. If you haven’t, then it’s about time you found out about it!
MIUI is a custom ROM built by a team of developers in China. Unlike most other ROMs, MIUI not only gives a complete UI overhaul to Android (iOS like in some cases) but it also introduces a massive range of new features.
The newest version of MIUI is due for release on 31st December, and the video below shows a preview of what’s to come:
Feature List From the Video
- iPhone style homescreen, with widget support
- Custom themes to change the full design of the ROM
- Quick toggle for most settings in the notification screen
- Fancy animations
- New music player application with lyrics support
- Lockscreen music controls
- Unlimited homescreens
- Rearrange the application drawer
- Uninstall applications via the application drawer
- iPhone style contacts app
- T9 Dialing
- Call Recording (needs loudspeaker to be turned on)
- Reject/Mute Calls
- Send text message when rejecting a call
If you’re interested in this ROM then the place to lookout for is: http://miui-dev.com
- The ROM in the video is in Chinese, will the ROM be Chinese too?
Although all official ROMs are released in Chinese, you can download language packs (including English) from http://miui-dev.com to translate the full ROM into your native language. If you know what you’re doing, you could actually translate it yourself!
- What phones can I get MIUI on?
MIUI is built for the HTC Desire, Google Nexus One and Motorola Milestone, however it has been ported to other devices such as the HTC Evo
- Which version of Android is this ROM based on?
MIUI ROMs use the latest Froyo release, but I would expect it to be upgraded to Gingerbread at some point
Gingerbread Hits AOSP
Gingerbread is the latest version of Android (version 2.3). It’s currently unknown whether or not the HTC Desire will be getting it. However, the good news is that the source code for it has just been released on AOSP (Android Original Source Project), which means that it’s available for developers to download, tweak and compile for use on devices. We can expect custom ROMs to start being released over this weekend for the Desire from talented developers such as AdamG and RichardTrip who you can find in the Desire Development section of XDA-Developers.
Kindle For Android Version 2 Released
This morning users with the Kindle application will have received a new update in the Android Market for this application. The new update brings a series of new features, 2 of my favourites being scrolling through pages using the volume keys, and having the store accessible within the app instead of opening a new browser window. The full list of changes is as follows:
- Newspapers and Magazine
- Zoom into images
- Integrated store
- Share progress via Social Networks
- Application now installable to SD Card
- Bug fixes
- I’ve noticed a Grid view, which I’m pretty certain wasn’t in the previous version
Need for Speed Shift Now in the Market
EA games has just released their Need for Speed Shift game into the Market. The official description being:
THINK FAST! DRIVE FASTER! OPTIMIZED FOR ANDROID™! Drive 20 awesome cars including the BMW M3 GT2, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Pagani Zonda. Features 18 tracks in 3 stunning locations, Quick Race and Career Modes, 3 difficulty settings, and physics-based accelerated 3D graphics.
PlayStation Application for Android Coming Soon
Unfortunately, it won’t let you play PlayStation games on it, but it’s still useful in the sense that you can access your PlayStation Network (PSN) account to see your friends statuses, learn about new games and share news via social networks. Whilst that doesn’t sound like a lot, we’re promised lots of new features to come. You read more about it on the Official PlayStation Blog
Changes to the Android Market
The past few weeks have introduced several new changes to the Android Market, most of which you’ve already noticed but here’s a summary in case you haven’t:
- Application descriptions can now be up to 4,000 characters long
- There’s a field for recent changes
- The refund time for applications is 15 minute instead of the previous 24 hours
- There’s a new tab for Similar applications
- The biggest update is a new UI for the Market, which I haven’t received myself but I’m told should be available shortly. Here’s a preview of it on YouTube:
Facebook Application Receives A New Update
As you can tell, this week’s mostly been about application updates. People on Facebook can enjoy a new update to the Facebook application which allows:
- Push notifications. This is a lot better for battery life because it means the app works in the same way as Talk or Gmail. Instead of having to connect to the server every so often to check if there’s any new updates, Facebooks servers themselves send out an update to your phone as soon as the update becomes available.
- Some bug fixes
Google App Inventor Beta Now Open to the Public
If you missed the previous announcement, App Inventor is a way for anyone to develop Android applications using a simple web browser based interface.
You learn more about it, and signup to start using it here
This is a first post for a while and rather an important one (to me anyway).
I know that MyHTCDesire has been followed and read by thousands of visitors per day, and watching the stats grow over the months, hearing all the positive feedback and even reading some of the emails that people had taken time out just to say thanks was beyond rewarding for something I set off to do as just a hobby.
More recently I’ve gotten more and more sidetracked by other tasks until this morning I noticed that it had been a full month since the last article I published. I want to apologise for the lack of new posts but the past month has been one of the busiest in a long time – I work full-time, been working overtime and on top of that I’ve been doing a lot of work freelance so I hardly get the opportunity to even play around with my phone, let alone taking the time out to write up my experiences.
Work’s finally calming down so I’m hoping that I’ll soon be able to go back to spending some time, every few days, if not every day to providing you with the same standard of news and articles as I previously did.
This tutorial shows you how to remove system applications that come installed on your phone, or ROM of your choice that you don’t actually want.
- If the ROM you are using has the Read/Write via Overlay Filesystem on then there’s no need to boot into recovery
- If you’ve used the S-OFF hack to enable full read/write access to your system partition then there’s no need to boot into recovery
- If you’re using the latest Amon RA Recovery, then you can just use the “Mounts” option to mount the system partition
- A rooted phone
- The adb driver setup on your computer – how to
This video shows you how easy it is to do everything below!
Making the System Partition Writable
This change isn’t permanent, meaning that when you leave recovery mode your system partition will revert back to read-only. It’s only temporarily writable so that you can get rid of those unwanted apps.
- Connect your Desire via USB cable
- Open the Command Prompt/Terminal on your computer (Start Menu > Run > Cmd)
- In the command prompt window type: adb reboot recovery
Your phone should restart in recovery mode
- Type: adb shell
The first character in the command prompt will change to a #
- Type: mount -o rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
This mounts the system partition and gives you read and write access to it
Backing Up Applications
Before you start deleting apps, I’d strongly recommend backing them up onto your computer first. Here’s how:
- Type: exit
This leaves shell mode
- Type: adb shell ls system/data
You should now see a list of all the apps (.apk files) in your system folder
- For whichever apps you want to backup type:
adb pull system/app/<full_name_of_app.apk> <full_name_of_app.apk>
where <full_name_of_app.apk> is the name that was listed in step 2
- If you look on your computer in the directory that Command Prompt is pointing to e.g. C:/Users/Ash then you’ll see a copy of that .apk file that you just backed up
Note: PLEASE make sure you’ve backed up any applications before deleting them.
Also, be sure that you’re not deleting any important system apps like Rosie (the HTC Sense framework!). Deleting things like Quick Office, Peep, Teeter, Facebook etc is fine.
- Enter shell mode again by typing: adb shell
- Type: cd system/app
This takes you into the system/app folder
- Type: ls
This will show you a listing of the apps (.apk files) in the folder
- Type: rm <full_name_of_app.apk>
where <full_name_of_app.apk> is the name that was listed in step 2
This deletes the application permanently from your phone
- If in step #3 there was a <full_name_of_app>.odex file as well as .apk then delete that too using: rm <full_name_of_app.odex>
Once you’re done deleting your applications you can restart your phone and if everything went well then it will start normally and you’ll find that the deleted applications no longer show up in your app drawer.
If for whatever reason you decide that you want to reinstall those system applications you backed up, you can do the following:
- Make your system partition writable using the steps in Making the System Partition Writable
- Locate the apks you backed up before deleting
- Type adb push <full_name_of_app.apk> system/app/<full_name_of_app.apk>
ypmount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
This guide shows you how to convert the 3GP videos that your phone records into videos that you can play on your computer and on other gadgets and devices, like the Sony PlayStation 3.
- MPEG Streamclip Video Convertor (free) – download here
- Unzip MPEG Streamclip into a location of your choice
- That’s it – there’s no installer for it or anything
- Connect your Desire to computer in Disk Drive mode
- (optional but recommended) – Copy the video you want to convert onto your computer somewhere
- Open the folder you extracted MPEG Streamclip to and run MPEG_Streamclip(.exe)
- Go on File > Open Files and select the file you want to convert
- Select File > Export to MPEG-4
- Use the following setings (most of them should be set by default anyway):
- Compression: leave as default
- Quality: 100%
- Sound: MPEG-4 AAC
- Frame Size: the one which says unscaled next to it
- Frame Rate: leave blank
- Press Make MP4
- Select the location and filename of your converted video
- Wait while it converts (should be pretty quick)
- Test your video on your favourite video player
- For the frame rate setting, you could enter the frame rate of your source video
I noticed after conversion that the framerate of my convereted video was one less than the source’s
- If your videos are already MP4 files there’s no need to convert. They should already be compatible with most players
Instead of converting to an MP4, you can also convert to an avi (in case you get issues playing the MP4)
- Press File > Export to AVI
- Use MPEG-Layer 3 or MPEG-4 AAC as the audio codec
- Make sure Frame Size is unscaled
- Enter a frame rate if you want
- Click Make AVI
Here’s another dose of FAQs based on recent emails to MyHTCDesire:
- [When] will the Desire be getting Gingerbread?
There’s been no confirmation yet so we really don’t know. Gingerbread should be released very soon (rumour says 11 November) and some time around that release date HTC will let us know whether we’re getting that update or not. Gingerbread itself can’t be far from release as Google added a Gingerbread man to their lawn on 22 October (signifying the upcoming release):
- I’ve been having issues with my phone and have been advised to perform a factory reset, is there any way around this?
Depending on the type of issue you’re having, a factory reset might avoidable. In any case, it’s always good to make a full backup of everything (how to) to make sure you suffer minimal data loss in case you do end up performing a factory reset. If you’re told the solution is a factory reset then that’s probably the best solution, but if it just seems like a software related issue you could go through and uninstall recently installed apps to see if they’re causing the issues.
- How do I sync my Hotmail account with the Mail app?
Instructions on how to setup Hotmail with the Desire can be found here. Hotmail uses the POP3 protocol to make your mail accessible on 3rd party clients (such as the Mail app). It basically downloads a copy of your emails to your phone, and then anything you do to that email only affects the copy you have on your phone. If you delete that email on your phone then it won’t delete the original in your Hotmail inbox.
There’s one option in the Mail app which I don’t use, but it may be of use to others: Account Settings > Receive Settings > Delete mail on Server. It means that as soon as you receive the email (not when you delete) to your Desire it will be deleted from your actual Hotmail account. If you then login to Hotmail on your computer, or check your Hotmail on another client then you won’t see that email. Your Desire has the only copy, so when you delete it from there it’s gone
- How do I turn off predictive typing?
Settings > Language & keyboard > Touch Input > Text input > Prediction. You can toggle it on/off there
- How can I download photos to my PC?
Connect your phone via the USB cable. When prompted select Disk Drive mode. Your phone will appear as a removable storage device on your computer. Go to dcim/100MEDIA and you’ll find all your photos in there. Alternatively, you can use DoubleTwist as a fully featured management application for your phone
- When will the Desire be getting HTCSense.com features?
Again, there’s no official word on whether the Desire will be getting these features (which are on the Desire Z and HD). According to some people, HTC claim that htcsense.com will be for all phones in the Desire family, including the original Desire. If you’re impatient, then you can already get this new functionality by installing one of the HD ROMs from XDA-Developers.
If we were to get Gingerbread and htcsense.com then HTC would need to update 3 things: htcsense.com for Desire, Gingerbread for Desire and htcsense.com for Gingerbread – it would actually make more Sense (slight pun intended) if there was just one update containing htcsense.com on Gingerbread, especially considering how slow all the network providers are in providing just one update.
- What does “For security, your phone is set to block installation of applications not sourced in Android Market” mean and how do I get rid of it?
This message means that your phone is currently set to only install applications you download via the Market. To install other applications just go on: Settings > Applications >Unknow sources
- What’s the best book reader for the Desire?
I’ve grown a pretty strong liking to Kindle, but there are alternatives such as Laputa (which has a massive collection of free books) and Aldiko
- Where can I get the adb driver from?
You can download the drivers from here or if those don’t work then use this guide to get the latest drivers from the Android SDK
- I’m on Froyo, and still running out of space – what can I do?
There’s 2 main things you can do:
1) Force Froyo to install all apps to SD card – instructions
2) Root your Desire and use app2ext instead (which installs the full app to SD card instead of part to phone and part to SD)