HTC explains why Desire HD isn't getting Android 4.0

HTC garnered praise for its commitment to supporting its devices recently, stating their interest in upgrading the HTC Desire HD to Android 4.0. The company went back on this, confirming the phone would never officially go beyond this point, but they have provided an explanation as to why.

According to HTC, the upgrade process would be too complicated. The Desire HD launched with Android 2.2 ('Froyo') when it released, but it was possible for the phone to be squeezed on up to 2.3 ('Gingerbread') without too much hassle.

Ice Cream Sandwich is a bigger operating system than Gingerbread was, due to new features. It's normal evolution for the OS to become bigger with more functionality being added, but it also means some phones are cut out of update schedules prematurely.

Cramming Ice Cream Sandwich onto the Desire HD's internal storage would be a problem. They say they'd have to repartition the internal space. This runs the risk of nuking personal content on the phone, and they don't want to do this. They also claim there are other 'technical limitations', so that could turn the Ice Cream Sandwich experience a little sour.

ICS, meet HD. If you're prepared to use a ROM, this might be the sweetest result of all.

If you're comfortable with rooting your phone to gain superuser privileges, you can upgrade your HTC Desire HD to Android 4.0 whether HTC wants you to or not. It isn't an extremely complicated procedure on most phones (there are always exceptions), but the aura around it causes people to doubt their own ability. A brief glance at the HTC Desire HD forum on XDA-Developers indicates HTC's decision has sparked a few minds in the community. It's always worthwhile to consult a few tutorials on YouTube to see how others are rooting and ROM-ing their Desire HD phones, to ensure you understand how it works.

You can choose from a wide variety of ROMs created by different developers. Jelly Bean, an OS so new only certain Galaxy Nexus phones have it? Sure, go ahead. The ever-popular CyanogenMod 9 (based on ICS)? Knock yourself out. It's a world of choice, whether HTC wants you to make the decision without them or not. Obviously we can't guarantee it'll run beautifully due to these apparent 'technical limitations', but you can certainly try if you're prepared to go through with rooting your phone. It might work well enough without HTC's proprietary 'Sense' UI being layered over it.

Oddly enough, the HTC Thunderbolt will be getting ICS despite the similarity to the Desire HD. The two phones are not radically different, but there must be enough differing to convince HTC to work with the Thunderbolt.

Source: HTC
Desire HD running ICS: XDA-Developers

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32 Comments

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Why don't they do the same thing they did with Gingerbread on the original Desire?

Release the update to flash at your own risk and nuking all personal data in the process and keeping the wallpapers and OEM programs as separate downloads.

Its too old for an update. If its security then HTC needs to be responsible but if its new features then just wait until your contract ends and get a new phone. If you thought the phone was incomplete when you got it then you shouldn't have bought it. Please don't mention new service, if the new service is so revolutionary then Im guessing its not just on the latest and greatest, if it is then your not the only person missing out.

I have an Inspire 4G which is the bast---d version of the Desire HD that nobody wants. I used to run Android Revolution HD, but recently switched to CyanogenMod 7.2 and haven't looked back. That sense UI bloat really slowed the phone down.

I'll probably pickup a Samsung Galaxy S3 in October when my contract is up.

I don't understand why everyone makes such a huge deal about the Lumia 900 not getting an update to WP8 yet this phone was released in the US in January 2011 and android 4.0 was released in October 2011... but then they acknowledge almost a full year later that they will not get the upgrade..

Is it just that Nokia had the balls to tell people upfront instead of lying to them for an entire year and a half like these android companies..

Lachlan said,
I don't understand why everyone makes such a huge deal about the Lumia 900 not getting an update to WP8 yet this phone was released in the US in January 2011 and android 4.0 was released in October 2011... but then they acknowledge almost a full year later that they will not get the upgrade..

Is it just that Nokia had the balls to tell people upfront instead of lying to them for an entire year and a half like these android companies..

The Desire HD can still run any apps ICS can while NO WP7 devices will be able run ANY WP8 apps

Thus WP7 is EOL while the Desire HD is not

LOL....it use to be the carriers that were the roadblock to updates, now it's a manufacturer?
Not to defend HTC, but, considering how "lawsuit happy" some people are, if the manufacturer deleted personal data, even with a warning, some nut would try to sue HTC for some BS reason. I do agree, that manufacturers need to do one of two things. Either start putting 32 gigs of "space" on the device, or make it easy to add a Micro SD card without having to take the back cover off, pull the battery. About the only way to avoid this garbage is to by a Nexus device direct from google.
From the manufactuers point of view, similar to a carriers point of view, finding a way to
prevent a device from being upgraded keeps the money flowing by telling them you can't have a software update because the device does not support it, but.....our BRAND NEW EXPENSIVE device does, so buy it instead & SUCK IT!

I own a HTC One X and rooted and I flashed CWM Recovery and a new ROM on day one.. currently running CyanogenMod 10 (based on Jelly Bean).

I don't believe in OEM updates - best leaving that to the community.

Zeikku said,
I own a HTC One X and rooted and I flashed CWM Recovery and a new ROM on day one.. currently running CyanogenMod 10 (based on Jelly Bean).

I don't believe in OEM updates - best leaving that to the community.

You still need to rely on the OEM updates to a certain extent to get Kernel sources.

and you'd be a fool not to make a backup before rooting and roming your phone in the first place what does HTC think we're all stupid all they need to do is add a caveat saying if your going to do this please back up your personal data first that way their arse and yours is covered just incase

Breach said,
I didn't exactly see an explanation? The hardware supports it, but too much of a hassle for us to bother...?

Don't worry, I'll read for you, so you don't have to:
They say they'd have to repartition the internal space. This runs the risk of nuking personal content on the phone, and they don't want to do this.

nik louch said,

Don't worry, I'll read for you, so you don't have to:
They say they'd have to repartition the internal space. This runs the risk of nuking personal content on the phone, and they don't want to do this.

I was asking about an explanation, I qualified this part under the excuse category as even if they can't create internal backups during the repartition they can always ask the user to backup their data first.

Breach said,

I was asking about an explanation, I qualified this part under the excuse category as even if they can't create internal backups during the repartition they can always ask the user to backup their data first.

An explanation is clearly given. Asking users to backup their phone data for an OTA update is going to cause more problems than their support department has budget to deal with, clearly. That is NOT an excuse, it is a valid reason.

nik louch said,

An explanation is clearly given. Asking users to backup their phone data for an OTA update is going to cause more problems than their support department has budget to deal with, clearly. That is NOT an excuse, it is a valid reason.

They didn't have to release it as an OTA update.

The only developer with a working way to root the Desire HD has quit XDA and deleted his work, please god does someone have a link on how to root an unlock Desire HD running the latest software from HTC.

Besides the corporate bullsh!t, the storage space argument is chicken droppings. Obviously, without their useless Sense crap crammed onto /system partition, it fits just fine.

Disappointing that HTC have kept flip-flopping on this issue. They should just drop the drivers for the phone into AOSP and let developers port their own ROMs if they aren't prepared to officially supply ICS

Note to HTC/other manufacturers: Large internal memory is a good thing, and leave plenty of space for the Android OS (aka future OS updates). I wish manufacturers put at least 16GB of internal memory in phones, I mean it's 2012! Android 4.x+ is trying to get away from external micro SD - the Galaxy Nexus/Nexus 7 don't support it. Still many people can use it for just storing videos/music/docs on the micro SD cards.

tsupersonic said,
Note to HTC/other manufacturers: Large internal memory is a good thing, and leave plenty of space for the Android OS (aka future OS updates). I wish manufacturers put at least 16GB of internal memory in phones, I mean it's 2012! Android 4.x+ is trying to get away from external micro SD - the Galaxy Nexus/Nexus 7 don't support it. Still many people can use it for just storing videos/music/docs on the micro SD cards.

And the Nexus S..

This isnt the first time a phone / computer / tablet / *insert technology* has done something like this. If you don't like not getting the newest stuff on older technology then stop buying said technology.

Colin McGregor said,
This isnt the first time a phone / computer / tablet / *insert technology* has done something like this. If you don't like not getting the newest stuff on older technology then stop buying said technology.

Its more so the fact that these companies are the reason that individual developers are not able to completely support different ROMS for their phone. Also, a phone shouldn't go out of date every two years, but it does probably because of the contracts that come out. If I pay $600 for a phone at full retail price it better last as long as a damn computer.

The DesireHD was my first and going to be my last HTC Phone, Currently running RandomBlame's JellyTime rom, running well for something thats only been in dev for 11 days or so!

Either way, next phone will be samsung galaxy or w/e the new nexus is going to be like.

|Rapture| said,
Anybody who bought a HD2 isn't shocked HTC have left their early adopters out in the cold again.

But the HD2 is one of the most versatile phones ever (if you take into consideration the support it has on XDA-developers)... WM6.5, WP7.5, Android, Ubuntu...

Kai Y said,

But the HD2 is one of the most versatile phones ever (if you take into consideration the support it has on XDA-developers)... WM6.5, WP7.5, Android, Ubuntu...

Meego at one stage.

Kai Y said,

But the HD2 is one of the most versatile phones ever (if you take into consideration the support it has on XDA-developers)... WM6.5, WP7.5, Android, Ubuntu...

The third party support is great but HTC abandoned it pretty much at launch.

|Rapture| said,
Anybody who bought a HD2 isn't shocked HTC have left their early adopters out in the cold again.

Basically the want you to buy a new phone...

Currently running Existz ICS 4.0.4 ROM, running perfectly. I had long given up on HTC to support the Desire HD. I am afraid my phone choice now is based on external developer support and not manufacturer.