I would like to write a story About Android Phones, I would like to add into the mix HTC and then add some finely chopped T-Mobile to that mix with the idea to come out with the HTC Hero running Android 2.1 with all the trimmings and also easy enough for a normal customer to complete right? Without ruining the story, if it was possible to go back in time – I would be sitting here right now with an iPhone 3GS - yes you heard that right….
In the beginning…
I had read about the Android offering Turn by Turn maps and I was in the market for a new mobile phone, this time I was happy to go on contract BUT I wanted the shorted time, none of this locking me in for 2 years – a lot can happen right. The iPhone come at a cost and then a monthly fee but along to the other store and we had the HTC Hero which came free, had a 18 month contract and gave me 800 Minutes a month and unlimited everything else. I went off and looked this phone up, seemed pretty news and good review all around. Now my mind worked like this – given that the HTC Hero was Very new when I got it – I imagined it would be supported and updated for some time and I never thought for one second that the phone in June 2010 would be cast aside by HTC and T-Mobile for newer and better things – GASP…
The never ending promised upgrade
Never a month went by that a blog somewhere would proclaim that 2.0/2.1 was here “the next month” and this started in January and carried on all the way up to now – July 2010. Each month I was tempted to Root my phone and upgrade to 2.1 but I lived in the hope that it would come “soon” and also I was afraid I might brick my phone. The phone had some faults such as telling me when I was on wireless that in fact there was no internet – yet there was.
My First go at updating
I tried to follow a post on how to create a “Goldcard” – this involves patching the SD Card but when I then progressed to the next stage (to flash a older Rom on there) – it would always fail telling me that it could not see the HTC Hero. I left it alone – thinking I had done it all wrong.
The official Part 1 of the update
The update they send you is a small patch which prepares the phone for the full 2.1 Update. I set my phone forward one year to activate the check up, it found and downloaded an update and rebooted the phone. It started to install and got half way through – then it had the Triangle of death:
If you press the Home button and the Power – you get a DOS Looking screen – this was almost saying it had trouble with the Rom version installed. I tried wiping the phone and formatting the SD card but alas – got stuck every single time.
Call to T-Mobile
Now you would expect that if I called the people who sold me the phone, they would know what to do right? I got the initial agent who took all my details and was stumped at what I was saying – an update for a phone, is this even possible? Eventually she passed me through to the Support team. The First problem is they had no idea what an HTC Hero was, only when I said G2 Touch (which is exactly the same thing) did they progress to “There is an update, we never knew about this” – wow, wow and WOW!!!
I got them to take out one of there HTC Hero phones and I walked them through how to get the update (Set the date forward) and then show them the error screen and even what key to press to show the error listing. It comes to something when a customer knows more about supporting there phones then the Support section do right? The promised they would call me back – never mentioned which damm year though !!
Taking matters into my own hand
When I got some time, I booted my VMWare Windows XP Pro SP3 machine up, plugged in the Phone via USb, Installed HTC Sync (to the get the drivers) and then tried to flash the proper t-mobile firmware (one that was already on the phone) as I heard this works but it failed. I then go another generic one – and this worked. Once the phone rebooted, I noticed a few things – one been that there was NO T-Mobile branding.
Once the phone started, it told me that there was an update – this downloaded and rebooted the phone, no Triangle as above. Once we started again – it told me there was another update – I left this one running (took a while to download and even longer to install). Once we had finished, I was the proud owner of a HTC hero running 2.1 with no T-Mobile branding. Live wallpaper did not work (were not even there) and some apps kept crashing but the look and fell is a lot better.
While I agree I am of technical nature, it was hard to understand why each part was failing when it did and at the time was not each to hack the phone to enable me to get 2.1 on there. The question is though – should I be doing this or should T-Mobile or HTC not make it easy for me to upgrade my phone – the thing I am paying money for each month.
T-Mobile are in the business of selling voice and data plans, this new era of smart phone and updates are taking them by surprise and why on earth do they need to brand a phone in this day and age? Is it not enough that it says T-Mobile on the top? They need to get there support staff up to speed and quickly and they should not be taken off guard when a update come out.
HTC are in the business of selling phone and they keep producing these by the month it seems. They seem to forget that a person gets locked in for 18-24 months and cannot just change there phone. Android is in the business of software and why not have the same feature set on each phone?
To be totally honest here, I cannot see myself renewing with T-Mobile when my contract is up. Why should I trust HTC when they already junked the Hero? I can understand now why people go out and buy an iPhone – I for one wish I had..