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Enjoy Android 4.0.4 on your Desire HD with Ice Cold Sandwich (Quick review and tips!)

April 20, 2012

I’m always trying out new ROMs and tweaks on my Desire HD. The time has come now, where I am getting a little sick of being stuck on CyanogenMod’s Gingerbread build. I’ve been googling around, searching for some Ice Cream Sandwich goodness for my phone, and after going backwards and forwards between sites, I’ve found one I enjoy.

Ice Cold Sandwich Quick Review

Ice Cold Sandwich is a blend of features from AOKP and Cyanogenmod, coming together to give you Android 4.0.4. This means you get the high level of visual customizability that AOKP offers with ROM Control, but, at the same time you get to enjoy Trebuchet Launcher and WiFi Tethering.

So far, I am loving Ice Cold Sandwich. It’s fast, tidy, and elegant. Just what I want from a ROM.

Google Chrome! Weather announcements, and sliding toggles. This is the life.

The stability of the ROM is impressive. Its only ever crashed once or twice for me in the three weeks I’ve been using it, and, even then, it does a “Hot Reboot” and comes to its senses in around 30 seconds.

Everything in this ROM works as you would hope. The Wi-Fi, 3G, Camera, Radio, and so forth are all A-Ok, EXCEPT video recording. This is due to unresolved issues that the developer is currently working on. Most ICS ROMs for the Desire HD have this issue, caused by the incompatibility between hardware and drivers. Installing a third party video recorder can sometimes work, but still not very smoothly. It will hopefully be fixed in a later release.

How-To Install

Step 1: Download the ROM!

Grab the latest version (7.3 at the time of writing), either on your phone or on your computer. Just be sure it ends up on your SD Card.

Click this link (for whichever version of course)

Step 2: Backup your existing ROM

Please ensure that for this procedure and the following steps, you have plenty of battery: 50% or more. If your phone runs out of power, problems!

You never know, you may not like Ice Cold Sandwich. If you were to restore a backup, it would be as if you never left.

First, reboot to recovery, then choose the option along the lines of “Backup or Restore”. Then select Backup. Give it a few minutes, and all your current ROM will be tucked safely away in /sdcard/clockworkmod, in case it’s needed later.

Step 3: Out with the old

Next, we need to wipe the existing software from the device, now that it is backed up. If we overlayed Ice Cold Sandwich onto our existing software there could be a lot of conflicts, bugs, and crashes. So to avoid this, do the following, in order:

  • Wipe Data/Factory Reset (Usually at the top-tier of the menu)
  • Wipe Cache (Also normally at the top)
  • Wipe Dalvik Cache (Often found under ‘Advanced’)
  • Wipe Battery Stats (Also usually found under ‘Advanced’)
  • Now find the option to Format (under Mounts and Storage for me), and format /data
  • Then /System
  • and then /Data – Do NOT wipe the /sdcard. This will cause you to loose all your pictures, external media, and the installation ZIP


Formatting options!

Step 4: In with the new

This is the last step. Scroll to ‘Install Zip from SD Card’, choose the correct zip, accept, and let it run. Afterwards, go back up a menu level and select Reboot.

Step 5: Great success?

If everything went according to plan, enjoy! You’re running Ice Cream Sandwich on your Desire HD.

Battery Saving Tips

It’s well known that the battery in the Desire HD is pretty much useless. Ever since the device was released, people have been complaining about it. Thankfully, there are one or two tricks available to get the battery life well beyond a day.

Black Background

The more colour a device has to render, the more juice it uses on processing and rendering. I’ve set this as my background, and I can tell that it helped a little with battery life.

Power Manager

Underneath ROM Control in System Settings, you’ll find Power Manager, a whole set of rules you can lay down about how the phone should operate. Mostly, it focusses on what to do when the screen is off, such as disabling synchronization or lowering your phones data connection down to use 2G networks only.

Conservative Governor

No, not a politician. A Conservative Governor in this sense means governing how the CPU behaves. AOKP (the ROM Ice Cold Sandwich is based on) has several Governors available, but we want to use the Conservative one.

By default, the setting is On-demand. On-Demand means that the CPU will quickly speed up from a low speed to high speed, almost regardless of the ‘load’ put on it. Even receiving a text message can cause a CPU to run at 10x it’s lowest “standby” or idle rate. By using the Conservative Governor, the CPU is told to stay at lower levels unless the additional speed is absolutely needed. This means that checking notifications and casual use of your phone won’t use anywhere near as much battery as it did before. Success.

If you’re confused by the idea of CPUs and low-speed to high-speed (known as scaling), think about the engine of a car. When it’s ticking over at the lights or you’re driving slowly, it stays in the low revs and doesn’t consume much petrol. When you’re racing down the road showing off, it consumes far more energy. The On-Demand CPU Governor gives your device the mindset of a Audi owner, while the Conservative governor gives it the mindset of a classic Mini owner.

Other ROMs

Ice Cold Sandwich isn’t the only Ice Cream Sandwich ROM. Here is a list of all the others we have covered: