T-Mobile HTC Desire

I know a lot of people got their HTC Desire when it was first announced on T-Mobile on the excellent plan that they were offering.  The original deal was: 100 minutes/unlimited text/unlimited internet for £10/month on a 24 month contract plus £164 for the phone (or -£124 if you rang up and asked them to discount the handset for you).

Considering that T-Mobile did exceptionally well with that, and other offerings of the Desire.  They sold far more than 10,000 Desires in just the first week of it’s launch.  It seems that they are now looking to take advantage of this superb phone (and it’s buyers) and recoup the potential profit they missed out on at launch by altering their deals significantly and ripping off newer customers.  They’ve removed all the £10 offers, with rumour saying that their lowest plan on the Desire will now be £30/month, although I suspect it’s actually £25/month based on the deal image below.

T-Mobile HTC DesireI’d seriously recommend staying clear of their deals, the cheapest of which totals to £980!!!! Compared to the original £400 – fair enough the £10 deal only had 100 minutes, but it’s not worth £25 extra a month for 500 more minutes is it?

Either look at deals on other networks, try out third party retailers or even consider buying it on PAYG/Sim Free and then buying a Sim-Only deal.  Quidco regularly offer up to £150 cashback on O2/Vodafone sim only offers so that might actually work out better for you.

Thanks to ScRiVs for the heads-up!


Tiny Core Linux Desire 2

Yesterday I posted how to root your HTC Desire, which was the first method made available by Paul @ Modaco.  Today he’s created a new method which is much easier.

Note:

  1. I take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong. You do this at your own risk
  2. This method will wipe your phone completely – so backup everything using either SMS Backup Restore/ Call Log Backup Restore / MyBackup Pro / Sprite Backup or any other backup apps available in the market
  3. You need a microSD card to create a goldcard as per the instructions.  At the end of it you won’t be able to use that SD card as a normal memory card.  Don’t use your primary SD card, use a spare, smaller card – even 1GB should suffice
  4. Any problems either post here, in the original Modaco thread (linked above)

Skip to the rooting method

Read this whole topic – it contains a ton of useful information as well as the instructions and downloads!


Remember that if you use this guide, you do so entirely at your own risk!

Welcome to my guide on how to root the HTC Desire!

Compatibility

This guide will allow you to root your HTC Desire, provided it has a bootloader version of 0.75 or below. To check this, turn off your device, then turn it back on with the ‘back’ key held. On the second line in green text you will see HBOOT- and then a number. Provided this is 0.75 or below, this guide should work for you.

O2 Germany devices are currently shipping with a 0.80 bootloader, and as such cannot be rooted using this guide at this time.

Desire rooting protection

Back in the early days of Android, rooting was easy. You had several options – you could flash stuff via the bootloader, you could flash an engineering bootloader, you could use kernel exploits – there were many ways of getting the low level access to your device that – in fairness – I think we as paying customers are entitled to. As time has progressed however, the manufacturers have made things harder and harder. The Desire is not a straightforward phone to root, for many reasons, including…

  • a ‘perfected bootloader’ that doesn’t allow flashing or booting of any images (even HTC signed ones)
  • a RUU flash process that does not allow downgrading of the bootloader to earlier versions
  • a kernel (that as yet does not have publicly available source) that as yet has no known exploits
  • a new protection method previously seen on the HTC Tattoo that protects key partitions from having write access. Even with SU access, it is not possible to write to the boot, recovery or system partitions.

In reality, the options for rooting a device this secure are limited. Even if a kernel exploit were found, the key partitions would still be unwritable, rendering su access useless. This was circumvented on the Tattoo very cleverly, using a specific memory address from a confidential Qualcomm datasheet, however this information is not yet available for the Snapdragon chipset used in the Desire (and indeed may never enter the public domain).

And so the root process becomes a process of methodically probing every possible point of exposure on the device, looking for the slightest chink in the armour. I found one and we’re putting it to good use! The downside is that it’s not as easy or as pretty as rooting a device that is actually DESIGNED to be accessible at the lowest level, such as the Nexus One.

Shame on you HTC for going to such unnecessary lengths (but that’s another story for another day).

What this root process provides and does not provide

The root process will…

  • flash your device with a new, generic 1.15.405.4 based ROM that has Superuser access
  • show you how to enter the recovery image in future, allowing you to flash update zips

The root process will NOT…

  • enable you to flash your device with a custom recovery image that can be launched easily by just holding down the volume down button when powering on
  • enable you to have write access to the /system partition in normal use of the device

Both of these limitations are being worked on of course.

Pre-requisites

In order to complete this guide, you need the following…

  • a HTC Desire
  • a PC
  • a microUSB cable
  • a microSD card (to be made into a ‘goldcard’)
  • the downloads below
  • balls of steel (actually, I just made that up)
Download

To be ready for the guide, download the following items…

  • the ISO image – DOWNLOAD / MIRRORS COMING SOON MD5: 854bdbb3c5898b15f92b5991204c9288

Once you have this on your machine, you’re ready to start!

The guide

Follow through these steps, one by one and at the end of it you’ll have a rooted Desire with the latest ROM.

Note: This process will wipe your device and there is currently no option to backup your device ROM before you start.

  • Make your microSD card into a goldcard by following these instructions (it’s a good idea to back up the contents of your card first!).
  • Unzip the file you downloaded to a directory, then open a command prompt / terminal window at that directory.
  • Turn off your HTC Desire, then turn it back on with the ‘back’ button held down. You’ll see ‘FASTBOOT’ written on the screen in a red box. Connect the phone to the computer.
  • In the terminal window, enter either (as appropriate, with no quotes)
    ‘step1-windows.bat’
    ‘./step1-mac.sh’
    ‘./step1-linux.sh’
  • When this step has completed, using the optical trackball, navigate to the ‘BOOTLOADER’ and then ‘RECOVERY’ option on the menu, using the volume buttons to move and the power button to select.
  • In the terminal window, enter either (as appropriate, with no quotes):
    ‘step2-windows.bat’
    ‘./step2-mac.sh’
    ‘./step2-linux.sh’
  • When this has completed, your device should be at the ‘recovery’ screen. Select the ‘wipe’ option, then select the option to apply an update zip from sdcard, and select ‘rootedupdate.zip’. This will take a little while, so go make a nice cup of tea. When the flash has finished, reboot, and you are DONE!

Troubleshooting

If you have any issues with the root process, post below, and we’ll do our best to help!

And finally!

If you wish to do so, you can express your appreciation by signing up to a MoDaCo Ad Free or MoDaCo Plus Account using PayPal or Google Checkout, as detailed in this post on MoDaCo
. As well as donating to support the work that goes into all the various MoDaCo activites, you get cool stuff like free software (there’s some great Android stuff coming too!), an ad free MoDaCo site and of course access to the MoDaCo Online Kitchen. All signups are very much appreciated.
Enjoy!

P

Thanks to ChainsDD for his excellent new Superuser Permissions update and Amon_RA for the recovery image I butchered here.

via Modaco.

Enjoy!

UPDATE: An easier guide is now available here!!!

The wait’s finally over, Paul OBrien over at Modaco has finally completed his guide on how to root the HTC Desire.  The instructions are available below.

Note:

  1. I take no responsibility for anything that might go wrong. You do this at your own risk
  2. This method will wipe your phone completely – so backup everything using either SMS Backup Restore/ Call Log Backup Restore / MyBackup Pro / Sprite Backup or any other backup apps available in the market
  3. You need a microSD card to create a goldcard as per the instructions.  At the end of it you won’t be able to use that SD card as a normal memory card.  Don’t use your primary SD card, use a spare, smaller card – even 1GB should suffice
  4. Any problems either post here, in the original Modaco thread (linked above)

Instructions – courtesy of [email protected]:

Read this whole topic – it contains a ton of useful information as well as the instructions and downloads!



Remember that if you use this guide, you do so entirely at your own risk!

Welcome to my guide on how to root the HTC Desire – this is a ‘first cut’ of the guide, and will be refined / improved as time progresses!

Compatibility

This guide will allow you to root your HTC Desire, provided it has a bootloader version of 0.75 or below. To check this, turn off your device, then turn it back on with the ‘back’ key held. On the second line in green text you will see HBOOT- and then a number. Provided this is 0.75 or below, this guide should work for you.

O2 Germany devices are currently shipping with a 0.80 bootloader, and as such cannot be rooted using this guide at this time.

Desire rooting protection< /b>

Back in the early days of Android, rooting was easy. You had several options – you could flash stuff via the bootloader, you could flash an engineering bootloader, you could use kernel exploits – there were many ways of getting the low level access to your device that – in fairness – I think we as paying customers are entitled to. As time has progressed however, the manufacturers have made things harder and harder. The Desire is not a straightforward phone to root, for many reasons, including…

  • a ‘perfected bootloader’ that doesn’t allow flashing or booting of any images (even HTC signed ones)
  • a RUU flash process that does not allow downgrading of the bootloader to earlier versions
  • a kernel (that as yet does not have publicly available source) that as yet has no known exploits
  • a new protection method previously seen on the HTC Tattoo that protects key partitions from having write access. Even with SU access, it is not possible to write to the boot, recovery or system partitions.

In reality, the options for rooting a device this secure are limited. Even if a kernel exploit were found, the key partitions would still be unwritable, rendering su access useless. This was circumvented on the Tattoo very cleverly, using a specific memory address from a confidential Qualcomm datasheet, however this information is not yet available for the Snapdragon chipset used in the Desire (and indeed may never enter the public domain).

And so the root process becomes a process of methodically probing every possible point of exposure on the device, looking for the slightest chink in the armour. I found one and we’re putting it to good use! The downside is that it’s not as easy or as pretty as rooting a device that is actually DESIGNED to be accessible at the lowest level, such as the Nexus One.

Shame on you HTC for going to such unnecessary lengths (but that’s another story for another day).

What this root process provides and does not provide

The root process will…

  • flash your device with a new, generic 1.15.405.4 based ROM that has Superuser access
  • show you how to enter the recovery image in future, allowing you to flash update zips

The root process will NOT…

  • enable you to flash your device with a custom recovery image that can be launched easily by just holding down the volume down button when powering on
  • enable you to have write access to the /system partition in normal use of the device

Both of these limitations are being worked on of course.

Pre-requisites

In order to complete this guide, you need the following…

  • a HTC Desire
  • a Windows machine (sorry, I am trying to remove dependencies on specific OS’)
  • a Linux (a liveCD should do) or OSX machine (sorry, I am trying to remove dependencies on specific OS’)
  • a microUSB cable
  • a microSD card (to be made into a ‘goldcard’)
  • the downloads below
  • balls of steel (actually, I just made that up)

Downloads

To be ready for the guide, download the following items…

  • the ‘test ruu’ – DOWNLOAD / MIRROR – MD5: f1981b26b90b97aea395d2b30909a23f
  • the ‘push files’ – DOWNLOAD / MIRROR– MD5: 9ee301b702078dd1842bd1c67e552f6e
  • the ‘rooted update’ – DOWNLOAD / MIRROR – MD5: 44f2614452ddf777cab9115e2174a91a

Once you have those on your machine, you’re ready to start!

The guide

Follow through these steps, one by one and at the end of it you’ll have a rooted Desire with the latest ROM.

Note: This process will wipe your device and there is currently no option to backup your device ROM before you start

  • Make your microSD card into a goldcard by following these instructions (it’s a good idea to back up the contents of your card first!)
  • Copy the ‘rooted update’ you downloaded above to the root of your SD card, before replacing it into your device.
  • Turn off your HTC desire, then turn it back on with the ‘back’ button held down. You’ll see ‘FASTBOOT’ written on the screen in a red box.
  • Connect the phone to your computer, then run the ‘test ruu’ that you downloaded above (it may take a short while to start). Let the update complete and turn your device off as soon as it reaches the configuration wizard. If you need USB drivers, you can find them as part of the HTC Sync install.
  • Your device should now be off. Unplug the device from your computer. Turn it on again while holding down the ‘volume down’ button this time. The screen will look similar to before, but will say ‘HBOOT’ instead of ‘FASTBOOT’. Use the volume buttons and the power button to select the ‘RECOVERY’ option. You should then see a screen with a red triangle – at this point, plug it into your Linux or OSX computer.
  • Now you need to unzip the ‘push files’ zip that you downloaded above. When you have done so, you’ll see a file called ‘recovery-linux.sh’ or ‘recovery-mac.sh’. Run the one appropriate to your operating system and the screen of your device should change to display the green recovery image menu.
  • In the recovery image (moving around using the optical trackball), select ‘Wipe -> Wipe data /factory reset’ then ‘Flash zip from sdcard’ and choose the rooted update. Confirm with the trackball and the update process will begin. It’ll take a little while, so go make a nice cup of tea.
  • When the flash has finished, reboot, and you are DONE!

Troubleshooting

If you have any issues with the root process, post below, and we’ll do our best to help!

And finally!

If you wish to do so, you can express your appreciation by signing up to a MoDaCo Ad Free or MoDaCo Plus Account using PayPal or Google Checkout, as detailed in this post on MoDaCo.
As well as donating to support the work that goes into all the various MoDaCo activites, you get cool stuff like free software (there’s some great Android stuff coming too!), an ad free MoDaCo site and of course access to the MoDaCo Online Kitchen. All signups are very much appreciated.

Enjoy!

P

Thanks to ChainsDD for his excellent new Superuser Permissions update!

via Modaco

The final update for rooting the Desire (except the actual release).  Paul O’Brien has just posted saying:

Guide written, files uploaded, testing now…

Hopefully within the next hour or so we’ll have the full root procedure.  If the official instructions are not suitable for beginners I’ll do my best to write up something that (almost) everyone can use.

Mozilla have released a Pre-Alpha version of Fennec (the codename for mobile Firefox versions).  After developing this version for some time, Mozilla finally feel that the application is ready for some user testing.  As the title “pre-alpha” suggests, it’s going to be far from stable so don’t be surprised if there’s unexpected Force Closes and unexpected behaviour.

Some reported problems include some users not even being able to install the app (not enough memory error) whereas others have installed it fine.

Download

You can download it from here.  It’s 10MB filesize, so if you’re download straight to your phone I’d recommend using a WiFi connection.

Installation

Option 1: Download to computer, connect Desire via USB and mount as USB.  Copy the file across and install using Astro.
Option 2: Download directly to phone (WiFi highly recommended).  Use Astro to install.

Extra Information

There’s no multi-touch feature in this version.

Enjoy!

I’ll post up some screenshots later on.  In the meantime if you do try it let everyone know how you get on by posting a comment!

Vanilla Desire

Paul O’Brien (the guy working on rooting the Desire) has just posted up 2 images of his HTC Desire: one running Vanilla Android (standard Android without HTC Sense), and the other with a custom recovery image (which lets you put custom ROMs such as Vanila Android on your Desire).  As you can see below from the white top bar, standard Android Widgets and the default homescreen that owners of other Sense-less Android phones (such as Nexus One) will recognise:

Vanilla Desire

HTC Desire running Vanilla Android

Desire Recovery Image

HTC Desire with a custom Recovery Image

His latest tweet says that “Desire kitchens are a go-go” – basically meaning that you should be able to customise your own ROM file and install it to the Desire!

I’ll keep you updated as further information is released throughout the day!

HTC Desire - Rooted

Paul O’Brien, widely known for his work on Android phones and the Modaco custom ROMs for numerous Android phones has just posted up a screenshot showing the HTC Desire with root permissions.  He later tweeted saying that if all goes well the root method will be made available to the public from tomorrow (28 April 2010).

Here’s a screenshot showing the SuperUser application, and he also posted saying that this app as well the su file (essentially what makes the Desire rooted) have been successfully written to the system partition.

HTC Desire - Rooted

What does rooting actually mean?  Rooting is called that because it gives you “root” permissions, which is like administrator access to the entire Android operating system that your Desire is running.  With it you can:

  • Run additional applications such as screenshot apps, Titanium Backup (a brilliant way to backup applications AND their settings), put WaveSecure on the system partition (which is safer than installing it as a normal app)
  • Install a custom recovery image, which gives you extra options like a full backup of your phone (nandroid), formatting sd card and flashing custom ROM files
  • Install applications to the SDCard using a2sd

Custom ROM files are unofficial firmware created by the massive Android community developers.  Each ROM is normally unique and can feature additional applications, tweaks and even bug fixes that isn’t on the stock HTC firmware.  You’ll probably find ROMs that can remove HTC Sense altogether, ones which are based on the public Android source code and ones which features all kinds of tweaks and fixes.  The possibilities are pretty-much unlimited.

Please remember that rooting will void your warranty with HTC, Paul hasn’t yet mentioned if it’s possible to restore the warranty by reflashing the stock HTC firmware (as was possible on the HTC Hero).

Will post further updates tomorrow when the root method is released.

o2-logo

Just rang O2 to find out if they’ll be getting the Desire in anytime soon, and the sales person told me they’re expecting it from 10 May.  I’m hoping the stock levels in the UK have stabilised, or at least will be stable by then (no doubt the Ash Cloud didn’t make the situation better).

I also asked for what kind of deal they could offer me, but she said that she didn’t know herself what plans they would be offering until closer to the date.  Considering that T-Mobile removed all their £10 deals, and the total cost for a Desire contract whether 18 months or 24 months is around £450, I wouldn’t expect O2’s pricing to be much different.

If you’re nearing the end of your contract you should be able to get a decent deal via retentions.  Remember, that retentions is NOT the same as upgrades.  If you ring the upgrade line you won’t be offered a good-a-deal as you’d get from retentions.  To get to retentions call O2 and ask for a PAC, within a  couple of days you should get a call from retentions asking why you’re leaving, if you’ve found a better elsewhere and so on – just state the kind of thing you’re looking for and they’ll offer you the best they can.

If you’re desperate for a Desire and considering leaving O2, well it might just be worth waiting a couple of weeks and seeing what O2 can do for you!

Update:  Turns out the salesperson didn’t have the up-to-date information.  O2 posted their Desire deals on their blog later on today which you can see below.  Very expensive compared to other networks, with the cheapest 18 month deal totalling £640 and 24 months at £700!!!

O2 HTC Desire Contracts

gtalk-logo

Owners of the HTC Desire on Orange will notice that the Talk (AKA GTalk and Google Talk) is missing from their phone.  I’m guessing this is only to promote their own custom IM application, which has an extra cost attached to it.  Don’t worry though, here’s a quick and easy way to get the application on your Desire.  Just follow the simple steps below:

  1. Download and install Astro File Manager from the Market (if you don’t have it already)
  2. Download the Talk.apk from here
  3. If you downloaded this on your phone skip to Step 4
    If you downloaded this on your computer skip to Step 5
    1. Open Astro file manager
    2. Click on Downloads
    3. Select Talk.apk
    1. Connect your Desire to computer and mount as USB
    2. Copy the Talk.apk file to your phone
    3. Open Astro file manager
    4. Browse to where you’ve put Talk.apk
    5. Select Talk.apk
  4. Select Open App Manager from the two options that appear on Astro
  5. Click Install
  6. Install the application as any normal app.  If you get an Install blocked message, just go to Settings and make sure the Unknown sources box is checked
  7. Open your menu and you should see Talk appear!

The Talk application will sign in automatically (unless you set it not to) and let you talk to any of your GMail contacts via Instant Messenger.  It’s a lot better than other IM apps in the sense that it doesn’t need to keep asking the server if there’s new messages, instead it uses PUSH to get messages to your phone.  This means no extra battery drain and fast notifications!

Thanks to fooby1420 for the original upload.

CarDock by maxitup

Google announced a few days ago that Google Maps now allows navigation (as Tweeted by me as soon as I heard).  Here’s an application that will make it a lot easier for you to launch Google Navigation (as well as other services like Maps and Contacts).  It’s just an easier way to start navigating.  Here’s a screenshot of the app:

CarDock by maxitup (click for full size)

To install it follow these simple steps:

  1. Download and install Astro File Manager from the Market (if you don’t have it already)
  2. Download the Nav Launcher from here
  3. If you downloaded this on your phone skip to Step 4
    If you downloaded this on your computer skip to Step 5
    1. Open Astro file manager
    2. Click on Downloads
    3. Select CarDock.apk
    1. Connect your Desire to computer and mount as USB
    2. Copy the CarDock.apk file to your phone
    3. Open Astro file manager
    4. Browse to where you’ve put CarDock.apk
    5. Select CarDock.apk
  4. Select Open App Manager from the two options that appear on Astro
  5. Click Install
  6. Install the application as any normal app.  If you get an Install blocked message, just go to Settings and make sure the Unknown sources box is checked
  7. Open your menu and you should see Car Home appear!

Enjoy!

Thanks to maxitup on XDA-Developers for the original post