Rumors that HTC would skip the Desire HD from the promised Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update (after the phone was initially deemed upgradable) created quite a stir in the community. Users of the two-year old handset took to the web to express their anger, forcing HTC to publicly state that the update was cancelled because the hardware was not good enough to run ICS.
Of course, Ice Cream Sandwich runs perfectly adequate on many low-end devices that are released today. In addition, custom ROM developers have demonstrated that Android 4.0 runs pretty good on the Desire HD and similarly speced devices. So what prevented HTC from deploying ICS on the Desire HD?
The Taiwanese have come forward yesterday with a detailed explanation – the problem does not lie in the hardware per se, but rather in the way the Desire HD is configured. According to HTC, the storage partition where Android is installed is too small to fit Ice Cream Sandwich. Fitting the new OS would require repartitioning the storage on the Desire HD, which would wipe existing user data. HTC deemed that the trouble would not be worth it for most users, so it pulled the plug on the upgrade plan.
Here’s the full explanation, from the HTC blog.
For more background, due to how storage on the HTC Desire HD is partitioned – and the larger size of Android 4.0 – it would require re-partitioning device storage and overwriting user data in order to install this update. While technically advanced users might find this solution acceptable, the majority of customers would not. We also considered ways to reduce the overall size of the software package, but this would impact features and functionality that customers are currently using. Even after installing the update, there were other technical limitations which we felt negatively impacted the user experience.
We believe an update should always improve the user experience and carefully evaluate each update based on this criteria. While we are very aware of the disappointment from this decision, we believe the impact to user experience was too great. We recognize this is a change from our previous statement and for that we’re truly sorry.
While this means that you can say goodbye to official updates for your HTC Desire HD, the good news is you can get a perfectly good replacement, like this one, provided you are willing to experiment with some custom ROMs.