HTC changes its mind about bringing Gingerbread to the Desire

HTC has made a lot of headlines over the last 12 months, mainly due to their meteoric rise in popularity and their ever increasing profit margins. Nobody can argue what's responsible for this, either - Android. HTC was one of the first companies to truly embrace Android, bringing the first Android phone to market and then working with Google to create the Nexus One, the high-end phone that became Google's poster child for Android.

HTC didn't stop there, though. They took the Nexus One and created their own, specialised version of it. A nearly identical device with a few subtle changes, most notably the addition of Sense, HTC's customised Android overlay. That device was the HTC Desire and it was critically acclaimed the world over, as well as a phenomenal success. If you had to narrow down HTC's recent success to just one device, it wouldn't be the Nexus One, it would be the Desire. The phone was so popular that HTC quickly spawned off several sister devices - The Desire HD, the Desire Z and the recently released Desire S, with future devices likely to use the Desire name as well. It would seem that the Desire name has almost become a brand in itself.

Back in February, HTC announced that the entire Desire range would be receiving an update to the latest version of Android, version 2.3, also known as Gingerbread. The Desire S would launch with Gingerbread, then the Desire Z and Desire HD would receive the update with the original Desire getting it last. This was a little unfortunate, but at least the phone that started it all would be getting the update eventually, right? Well according to HTC's Facebook page yesterday, this wasn't necessarily the case:

"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."

That was yesterday, though and after a few hundred Desire owners expressed their discontent at the decision, HTC have changed their mind. Again. Today, this is what they had to say:

"Contrary to what we said earlier, we are going to bring Gingerbread to HTC Desire."

So there you have it! The phone that, arguably, started it all will get Gingerbread after all, despite apparently not having enough memory to handle it. Did someone at HTC make a mistake when they stated that it couldn't be done, or did some HTC engineer have a stroke of genius? Considering that a working Gingerbread test ROM for the Desire leaked out a few weeks ago, the safe money is on the former. However thanks to this leak, it does mean that if you're willing to tinker with your Desire, there's no reason why you can't enjoy Gingerbread right now.

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23 Comments

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Here in the UK most people obtain their smartphones on 18-24 month contracts, so manufacturers really need to take that into account when planning updates. I've had my Desire since pretty much it's public release date on a 2 year contract, so it's still going to be a while before I can upgrade cheaply.

My last 6 phones have all been HTC devices (although many were branded Orange SPV), and I really like them. I hope that HTC and others will come to understand that they really need to put in every effort to make sure their devices are as supported as possible for the duration of the contracts that people are signing.

I doubt it'll be long before it's the norm for people to start sign up for 3 year contracts, that'll just make matters worse.

my guess is this is just another marketing ploy by HTC to 1-up Samsung's recent stunt by giving CM devs phones

Step 1 - make a fuss that <insert Device Name here> cannot support latest update
Step 2 - wait till news spread along the interwebz, fans will be saddened
Step 3 - announce that <Device Name> will have latest update, and employ the "we listen!" slogan
Step 4 - profit!?

They may make the existing version of Sense work on the older Desire. It may not come with Sense 3.0. The other option is to drop Sense completely...

I've been happy with HTC's updates actually and will definitely look to get a HTC as upgrade to my Desire later on this year. The memory is the big issue though on the desire. I just can't have the apps I want on the phone because it's constantly telling me low storage.

cashman said,
I just can't have the apps I want on the phone because it's constantly telling me low storage.

Do you not have your Desire install it directly on the SD card?
I somehow managed to do it (can't remember now!) so I have 14Gb of free space left. I don't really understand what apps people have that take up so much space?

Even if they do release it, it will likely be another 6 months or more before my carrier releases the update for my wife's Desire. And they'll probably gimp it anyway. Its bad enough that their Froyo release killed the possibility of rooting it (so I can't even put a custom ROM on it).

And people around here bitch about Apple dropping support for 2+ year old phones and iPod touches?

HTC are pretty diabolical, it has to be said. Great phones but their handsets are pretty much obsolete the second they release them! I got my Desire about 13 months ago and it's already about 3 generations behind and bordering on obsolescence... seems crazy to me!

roadwarrior said,
Its bad enough that their Froyo release killed the possibility of rooting it (so I can't even put a custom ROM on it).

I bought a Desire recently that came with Froyo and did not have any issues in rooting it. Although I haven't tried putting on a custom ROM yet but I've not seen anywhere on XDA or Androidforums that it can't be done?

Chicane-UK said,
HTC are pretty diabolical, it has to be said. Great phones but their handsets are pretty much obsolete the second they release them! I got my Desire about 13 months ago and it's already about 3 generations behind and bordering on obsolescence... seems crazy to me!

To be fair, that's no fault of HTC, that's just the way the smartphone market works. When the Desire was released, it was THE top of the line handset.

Salty Wagyu said,

I bought a Desire recently that came with Froyo and did not have any issues in rooting it. Although I haven't tried putting on a custom ROM yet but I've not seen anywhere on XDA or Androidforums that it can't be done?

You are probably talking about a GSM Desire. I'm talking about a CDMA model. The Froyo update came with an updated hboot that Unrevoked still (as of the last time I checked) can't handle, and therefore it is unrootable.

roadwarrior said,

You are probably talking about a GSM Desire. I'm talking about a CDMA model. The Froyo update came with an updated hboot that Unrevoked still (as of the last time I checked) can't handle, and therefore it is unrootable.

Does this not tell you how to do it? http://forum.xda-developers.co...t=821243&highlight=CDMA (it was the only thread I could find on the CDMA desire and nobdy posted saying they couldn't do it).

Oh god, please leave us with at least 100MB remaining on the device, any less and you may as well not install 2.3 at all. The phone has paltry memory as it is.