HTC has finally unleashed its Android Gingerbread update for the original HTC Desire. This is welcome news for those who complained so vociferously about the mobile maker’s initial decision not to release the latest version of Android for its 2010 flagship phone.
But now details are out about just what it takes to get Gingerbread onto a HTC Desire, suggesting this is something only for those who are really desperate for it.
Using the same official Facebook page where the news of HTC’s original plans caused so much consternation, the company’s statement about the release of the update doesn’t make pretty reading for casual users. HTC warns: "This update is only recommended for expert users who want to experience Android 2.3 and understand the limitations which apply to this update to the HTC Desire.”
There then follow details of which apps will go missing (Facebook is just one), which settings will disappear and the news that it’s only available as a ROM upgrade utility, not as an OTA update.
Add in the unwelcome that it won’t be available at all in the likes of the US, South Korea and Japan and you can imagine the reaction from average users. But before we tackle customers’ understandable concerns, we have to ask if this is really worth it?
Gingerbread is an excellent piece of software with some great additions to the Android stable. But going through this level of upgrade pain is surely not worth it. Early adopters will be able to upgrade their handset within a year, or even six months if they signed an 18-month deal.
Yes, it’s infuriating to be without new functionality, but at least the basics work well on Android 2.2 Froyo. More than that, it’s still a cracking version of Android.
Beyond that, however, the difficulty of this update shows just how badly HTC has misjudged the situation and the reaction of its customers. The phone should never have been released without the capability to upgrade to the latest version of Android.
The Desire is a mere 15 months old and as such should be able to handle new Google software. If Apple can get iOS 5 on an iPhone 3GS, surely HTC can do the same with Android Gingerbread on the Desire?
Users on Facebook have once again reacted with disappointment, with many saying they’ll switch to Apple and expressing their dismay at the way they’ve been treated. It’s as if HTC, in releasing this convoluted upgrade, has brought on even more bad publicity.
You have to wonder whether it would have been better to stick with its original plan. That way, it would have invited criticism, but the story would have at least blown over quickly. But this way, the bad headlines are back for at least another week.