Last update: 18/09/2010 22:00 – To reflect the release of another official OTA update, 2.10.405.2 there is now a new post available here.

Earlier today, HTC released via an OTA update FroYo, Google’s latest release of the Android operating system.  The release however was only targeted at those who purchased their handsets unlocked and devoid of any network operators branding.  Also, owing to possible concerns over bandwidth and server overloading the OTA update is being rolled out slowly so not everyone will have the notification to download just yet. So, that leaves those without an unlocked and unbranded handset left with Éclair (or Android 2.1) missing out on all of the FroYo fun.  However, there is of course a way around this; just follow this guide.

Caveat: As is usual with such things, messing around with the ROM will void your manufacturers warranty so please be aware of this before proceeding, also whilst I have had absolutely not issues to date (and I have flashed the ROM many times now), should you encounter an issue part way through it is possible to brick your phone; so please ensure you understand these instructions before proceeding.  I will not be held liable for any damage you cause to your own handsets. For the purposes of this guide I am assuming like me, that you want to do a fresh install of FroYo and not an upgrade keeping all your current settings and apps in place, I choose to reinstall apps from the market afterwards.  Of course if you want to upgrade instead this should work also, although I have not tested it. This guide assumes that you have HBOOT 0.82 or below, if you have HBOOT 0.83 this method will not work and you will get an Error 140 during the RUU process.

Also worth noting that some of the newest Desires do not have the AMOLED screen anymore, but are shipping with SLCD which also have the 0.83 HBOOT, the update contains the screen driver for the AMOLED screens and not the SLCD screens, so if you follow this guide and perform the update, you’ll be left with a blank screen as the new driver is not compatible (if you have done this by mistake, there is a way back, but the fix is not for novices).  To find out which version of HBOOT you have you’ll need to reboot into FASTBOOT mode, turn your device off and restart with the volume down button pressed.  Also, please DO NOT flash this update if you are currently on Orange UK as the new radio contained within the update will cause you problems, instead you’ll have to wait for the official Orange update or delve into the world of custom ROMS (I recommend heading over to XDA Developers for further information). One final word of warning, by installing the official 2.2 update as in this guide, you will also upgrade your HBOOT version to 0.92 which means that you cannot ‘root’ your phone afterwards; of course this is not an issue if you have no intention of running custom software or messing around further with your device  Root will no doubt follow soon I would imagine.  In the mean time there is now also a way of downgrading your HBOOT, details can be found here.

Essentially, if you want the latest official Desire software as you would get ‘out of the box’ from a shop, this update is for you.  If you want a custom phone with the ability to access root, stop and ensure you fully understand that HBOOT will be upgraded before proceeding.

First of all, you need to complete the following important step:

  • Read the above warning again and make sure you understand it; ensuring that you have the correct HBOOT version as reading some of the comments, some people have followed the guide with an HBOOT of 0.83

Next you need to set up ADB on your PC and ensure that you have the correct version of the USB driver (which if you have already installed HTC Sync, you should have) installed, to do this do the following:

  • Download the latest Android SDK directly from Google by clicking here
  • Extract the SDK .zip file to c:AndroidSDK on your PC
  • On your phone, click Settings>Applications>Development and ensure that USB Debugging is enabled
  • Plug your phone into your PC via a USB cable (ensuring that your phone is on, obviously).  You should now get a popup telling you that new hardware device drivers are being installed; this might take a few moments to complete
  • Open a command prompt and type the following:
    cd [then press Enter]
    cd AndroidSDKtools [then press Enter]
    adb devices [then press Enter]
    you should see a serial number pop up, it’s the serial number of your phone.  If this is the case you can proceed to the next step

Next we need to create a goldcard by doing the following:

  • Copy all of the data on your microSD card to a backup location on your PC
  • Format the microSD to FAT32 format
  • Open a command prompt one again and type the following:
    cd [then press Enter]
    cd AndroidSDKtools [then press Enter]
    adb shell cat /sys/class/mmc_host/mmc1/mmc1:*/cid [then press Enter]
  • You should get a long number something along the lines of 532600bd227d9c0347329407514d5420
  • Goto this page and copy the number in the above step into the box and hit Submit, you’ll then be given another long number
  • Go to this page and enter this new number into the SD Card Serial (CID) field
  • Enter the other details and hit Generate Goldcard
  • Check your email and save the attached goldcard image file to your pc, I usually save it to the desktop as you’ll be needing it shortly
  • Download HxD Hex Editor from here and install
  • Open HxD Hex Editor. If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, you must run the application as administrator
  • Go to the Extra menu and select Open Disk.  Under physical disk, select Removable Disk (your microSD card), uncheck Open as Read-only and click OK.  Note that you should select physical disk NOT the logical disk
  • Go to the Extra menu again and select Open Disk Image.  Open the goldcard image that you received by email and saved above
  • You should now have two tabs; one is your removable disk and the other is your goldcard image.  Press OK when prompted for Sector Size (selecting 512 (Hard disks/Floppy disks)) and click OK
  • Click on the goldcard image tab.  Go to the Edit menu, choose Select All then select the Edit menu again and select Copy
  • Click on the Removable Disk tab.  Highlight offset (line) 00000000 to offset (line) 00000170 (including the 00000170 line), then click on the Edit menu and select Paste Write
  • Click on the File menu and select Save, accepting the warning
  • You now have a goldcard

Now that you have your goldcard, you need to download a generic HTC RUU update in order to flash your phone with a generic, unbranded version of Android 2.1

You can download the file from here (1.15.405.3 European), here (1.15.405.4 WWE) or here (1.21.405.2 WWE) – NOTE: Some people are finding that they can flash the 1.21 ROM and then FroYo directly, whilst others are finding that they need to flash the relevant 1.15 ROM first, if you try the 1.21 first and it doesn’t work you’ll get an error so simply re-try with the 1.15 and go from there.

To flash the update, simply run the file you have just downloaded (note: once this file is running it’ll restart your phone in bootloader mode and your PC will attempt to install another driver, it’ll work but the software will time out waiting to recognise your phone as your PC will need to restart to apply the new file.  Simply leave your phone connected and in the bootloader and restart your PC, then run the file again and it’ll work!) – You will now have an unbranded, generic Desire (although in my case I still had the Virgin boot screen curiously).  To double check, go to Menu>Settings>About Phone>Software Information and check that Software Number is 1.15.405.3, 1.15.405.4 or 1.21.405.2 before continuing. Next you need to download the FroYo update file which you can find here [Mirrorthe file has already been renamed to update.zip], once you have done this rename the file update.zip and copy it to the root of your microSD.  Turn your phone off then do the following:

  • Turn your phone on whilst holding down the volume down button to enter the HBoot menu
  • Choose the Recovery option by using the volume down button and the power button to select, your phone should then restart in recovery mode where you’ll be greeted with a red triangle and exclamation mark
  • Press and hold the volume up button and press the power button once, then choose to apply update.zip at the next menu
  • The FroYo update will now take place during which time your phone will reboot several times, the whole process takes about 10 minutes
  • Once you have booted up into FroYo and configured your settings, copy your files back onto your microSD card and you are good to go!.

** Looking ahead, I will create a similar walkthrough when Gingerbread is released, if you want to be notified when this is published, please signup to my blog feed via Feedburner to receive email notifications **

A big thanks to Timi for all of his help answering the comments below.  It’s great to see when readers get involved and share their knowledge and expertise.

Downgrading HBOOT and installing custom Froyo ROM

If you have come across this post looking for a way of downgrading your HBOOT and installing a custom Froyo ROM instead of the official OTA ROM as detailed above, I have a post detailing how to do that here.

I hope you find this useful.  Enjoy!

For some time now I have been using Google Apps as my main mail provider, I’d been a long time Microsoft Exchange user until I made the switch from Windows Mobile devices to Android.  It made sense to change my mail provision so that I could use Android in the manner it was designed i.e. with  Google Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks.

Generally, I have been happy with the service (especially when you consider the Standard Edition is free and isn’t a noticeably inferior product to the Premium Edition) although I do acknowledge it has a few quirks, not to mention horrendous support from Google should you require assistance.  Of course aside from push email support via my Android handset, the Google Apps service also includes plain and simple IMAP support; it’s here that I encountered one of the quirks.

Ever since configuring the account on my machine, whenever sending an email using Outlook two copies of the mail appear shortly after in my Gmail sent items folder (although only one copy is actually sent to the recipient).  Now this may not seem such a big deal but it has a couple of issues; firstly over time it will fill up my quota a lot quicker, perhaps not a major issue for most people but if let’s say you are sending a 1Mb file attachment, you’re going to be using 2Mb of space.  Secondly, perhaps more importantly is that when you use the Gmail web client instead of Outlook, it’s going to really mess up your conversation thread as there will be 2 copies which can be a little confusing.

So how do you solve getting two copies of sent mails while using IMAP in Outlook?

It’s important first to understand why the two copies appear and not just accept that they do.  When you send an email through Outlook, Outlook saves a copy of the sent mail and transmits it to the server (in this case smtp.gmail.com).  When the email is sent from the server to its destination, Google save another copy of the sent mail automatically which is then of course – as you’re using an IMAP connection – synced back to your machine hence the two copies.

Of course Google should be smart enough to know that the mail is being sent from a dedicated client such as Outlook and check to see if a copy has already been saved before saving it again, but alas not.  So the solution is to change where Outlook saves its local copy of the sent mail; it’s not an ideal situation but it does stop your Gmail folder from becoming full of duplicates!

To make the change, go to Tools>Account Settings>Email and select the email account in question and then Change.  This will open a window titled Change Email Account.  Click the More Settings option at the bottom.

Click the Folders tab which will enable you to choose where to store a copy of all outgoing messages (remembering that Google is going to automatically store one for you in your Gmail sent items) and change the default choice to Save sent mail in the Outlook Sent Items Folder, this will save the duplicated copy in a local unused folder instead which of course can be cleaned up when required; or you can also choose not to have Outlook save a copy of sent mail at all (again remembering that Google will automatically place a copy in your sent items).

Google Earth works great on the Desire, but owing to the problems with the Desire still not fully working with the Market, it’s not available to download as yet.  This problem seemingly is owing to Google not yet updating their databases with the authentication fingerprint for the Desire; talk to HTC and they’ll direct you to Google, talk to Google and you guessed it, they’ll simply not respond.  Not very helpful to be honest and very frustrating to say the least, you’d imagine between the two companies they’d be eager to ensure full functionability to showcase the full potential of what is essentially the flagship Android device here in the UK.  I could understand Google’s slow progress (read: reluctance) if the Desire were directly competing with the Nexus One but of course it isn’t really, they are selling in different markets.

There is of course a way to overcome this, all you’ll need to do is manually install the .apk file onto your Desire, the easiest way to do this is to install it using the HTC Sync software.

The .apk file can be found here (if you are having difficulty I have also put the file into a .ZIP archive here).

Enjoy.

The UK Welcomes Back Gmail   May 4th, 2010

It’s been 5 seemingly long years, but now finally it looks as though us UK users are going to be joining the rest of the emailing world by being able to convert our email addresses to use the gmail.com domain instead of the much longer and somewhat fake sounding googlemail.com domain for our email addresses.  Google have finally settled a five year trademark dispute with Independent International Investment Research over the use of the Gmail name which started back in 2004.

Google software engineer Greg Bullock has written in the company blog that the changes will start rolling out over the next week, allowing users a choice of changing to gmail.com or keeping the existing googlemail.com

“Since ‘gmail’ is 50% fewer characters than ‘googlemail’, we estimate this name change will save approximately 60 million keystrokes a day.  At about 217 micro joules per keystroke, that’s about the energy of 20 bonbons saved every day!”

I wonder how many users will make the change given that it will potentially mean having to have stationary reprinted etc. but still, i think it’ll be a welcome change as gmail.com sounds so much nicer regardless of how many bonbons it saves!

Changing Search Defaults In IE8   March 7th, 2010

The install or upgrade of Microsoft Internet Explorer will give you the option to change your default search engine just as in previous versions of IE; of course for many this is going to involve a change from Bing to Google.  Now it may only be a minor point but after this initial choice their doesn’t seem to be an easy way of changing to a regional variant of Google using the Search Add-In menu, being that I live in the UK it seems a reasonable assumption that I am going to choose to change my default searching habits to UK searching – or at least have that choice.  Easy to do you’d have thought, alas not in IE!

After giving it some thought, the answer is actually quite easy, instead of using the menus within IE simply visit the webpage that was first seen at the beginning (of course most people will have gone straight past this screen and no longer have access to it), the webpage is:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/searchguide/en-en/default.mspx?dcsref=http://runonce.msn.com/runonce2.aspx

Here you will have the option to create your own search provider which is a lot easier than it sounds.  All you need to do is the following (using Google UK as a guide):

  • Open a new tab in the browser (IE, of course), ensuring you leave the existing page open as you will need to come back shortly
  • Visit the search engine that you want to be your default, in this case http://www.google.co.uk
  • Perform a search for ‘TEST’ ensuring that you use all capital letters and that you check the UK option to return search results based on UK sites
  • Copy and paste the URL of the page containing the search results into the box back on the ‘Add Search providers To Internet Explorer’ page
  • Choose a name for this search provider, in this case Google UK
  • Hit install

That’s it, simple.  Next time you use the search field in IE you’ll be presented with relevant sites.