I’ve had the HTC Desire since October 2010 IIRC. Back then, Android 2.2 was all the rage. I was very happy with it. Soon later, Android 2.3 was released and all Desire users eagerly anticipated the arrival. HTC eventually delivered… about half a year behind schedule and only to encourage only experienced users to try it out since they couldn’t make the whole Sense UI fit in. Needless to say I was pretty frustrated with HTC’s solution. Another half year passed by and I really wanted something fresh. Either a new phone or a new ROM for the old Desire.
Since the gf wouldn’t approve of buying a new phone, I decided to root and mod the Desire. A few hours of Googling and trying to find clear instructions how to do the job I finally had ICS installed. Most, if not all, of the instructions assumed a thing or two which made the process not work for me. All of them recommended using unrEVOked 3 which should take care of all HTC phones. I downloaded unrEVOked, installed the HBOOT driver as instructed. It was very important not to have HTC Sync installed, which I didn’t because that program is a piece of shit. All good, right? Wrong. unrEVOked couldn’t find my phone. What’s wrong? I did all the necessary steps but it still doesn’t work. The problem is that all the instruction writers assumed I had, at one point, had HTC Sync installed which also installs some kind of “ADB” drivers which are required. After installing HTC Sync, confirming it works and then uninstalling (making sure not uninstall the “HTC Drivers”) unrEVOked finally found my phone.
Off it went, restarting the phone into HBOOT, doing its thing. 5 minutes later I was greeted with the “failed to get root, is your software too new?” error message. *sigh* Indeed I had the most recent HTC OTA update which defeated the poor old unrEVOked.
45 minutes worth of Googling for all kinds of FAQs, I accidentally stumbled upon one blog comment which mentioned Revolutionary. I downloaded it, generated a key for myself and finally was able to root the phone. Revolutionary kindly asked me if I also wanted the Clockwork Mod to be installed. I answered yes and moments later I had a rooted phone capable of installing ROMs. (Btw, what a stupid name for a firmware package. Why not just call it “firmware” or “operating system”?).
I backed up everything from the Clockwork Mod menu, switched the MicroSD card from 4 GB to a blank 8 GB one, formatted it and installed ICS. Installation went smoothly and soon I had it running. The first start took very long, probably 5 minutes. After that I was ready.
There’s a few bugs with the current ICS Beta 0.4.1.1 from Sandvold but if you avoid those, it works quite OK. The bugs are:
- Camera preview doesn’t work. When you take a pic, they come out fine, but it’s kind of hard to compose the picture if you can’t see any preview.
- The phone usually freezes if you tilt it horizontal in home screen. Sometimes it copes, most of the time not. The Desire boots automatically if it freezes. Solution: turn off automatic rotation of screen (Settings -> Display) or try to always hold it vertical while in the home screen. Tilting works just fine while you are in a browser for example.
Other than that, I’ve not encountered any other problems so far. Thumbs up for Sandvold & co. for making the ICS for Desire happen!
To my great surprise, the UI is very snappy. All the menus work nicely, and best of all, the web browser seems much faster (the UI responsiveness most of all) than the old 2.2. I recommend you try out this ROM.
Here are the necessary URLs to root and mod your Desire: