back to article HTC U-turns over Desire Android 2.3 update

HTC has hastily backtracked on yesterday's announcement that Desire owners won't get Gingerbread, announcing today that the Android 2.3 update will go ahead after all. Posting on its Facecrack page, the Taiwanese mobile giant said simply: "Contrary to what we said earlier, we are going to bring Gingerbread to HTC Desire." HTC …


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  1. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Just goes to show it was possible and them saying the phone "doesn't have enough RAM" was just laziness.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: LOL

      Actually Giles, they never said RAM, they said memory. El Reg were the ones who thought memory = RAM (n00bs!).

      If RAM was the issue, the Desire Z, which is scheduled for Gingerbread + Sense this month, would be in trouble, it only has 512meg of RAM whilst the original Desire has 576meg.

      I believe the issue (if it was technical, and not laziness) is/was with the flash storage, the Desire only has half a gig, the Desire Z has 1.5.

      1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: LOL

        HTC said "memory". If they didn't mean Ram they should have said "storage", as you do.

        Memory = Ram

        Flash = storage

        1. Daniel Palmer

          Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware

          Ok,.. so Flash ROM is no longer memory? I'm pretty sure the M in ROM stands for memory.

          And I'm pretty sure both RAM and ROM are forms of "storage".

          1. cloudgazer

            Memory isn't storage

            It just isn't

            It doesn't matter if the storage is NAND flash or battery backed up DRAM, it's still distinct from memory because of the way it's addressed. Data on storage always has to travel via memory before it is accessed by the CPU.

            So if the base 512Mb of Flash in the HTC desire is directly addresed over a memory bus then it is memory. If it is accessed over a storage interface then it is storage. If the code in that Flash can be directly run on the CPU without being paged into RAM then it is memory, if it can't then it's storage.

            No matter what the M stands for.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward


              I'm loving the folk who took pains to batter on about flash being ROM. So the problem is not enough ROM available to install Gingerbread and HTC Sense, is it? How were you planning to write that new os to ROM, out of interest? There's an app for that, is there? That reprograms ROM?

        2. Jeff Clarke

          flash IS a form of memory


          I am going to have to put my patent attorney hat on here...

          your colloquialism based analysis is not quite correct

          Flash is a form of EEPROM, where the final M stands for 'Memory', much like it does in RAM

          As it happens, all memory is a form of storage.

          thus, HTC can legitimately call the issue a lack of memory, allbeit Read Only Memory, not Random Access Memory.

          that is all.

        3. PaulR79
          Thumb Up

          You made me happy

          I'm so glad to see I'm not the last to refer to memory as RAM and flash / hard drives etc as storage! I'm so tired of seeing supposed tech. companies using the term memory when they mean flash storage and confusing the issue. Sometimes their specification pages make it difficult to distinguish which they're referring to

        4. James Hughes 1

          I disagree with Tony

          You missed

          Flash = memory

          Because that's exactly what it is (albeit a persistent and slow version compared with RAM). The fact you want to use it for storage is irrelevant to it's classification as memory.


        5. ChrisC

          Not so fast

          When you're talking about flash storage, it's also valid to refer to it as flash memory, since that's what we call it at the hardware level. Don't believe me - go take a look at the datasheets for pretty much any flash IC, or any IC which contains embedded flash, and tell me what word the manufacturers themselves use to describe their devices...

          Granted, at the consumer level it's a bit confusing, especially after years of trying to educate the average PC user that RAM isn't the same as hard drive space, but to anyone who works with flash devices it'd be entirely understandable why HTC would have used the M word in this context.

          Then again, most of us who work with the stuff regularly tend to just refer to it as "flash", which makes me wonder if the comments from HTC got a bit distorted somewhere between the engineers who came up with the original explanation and the PR bods who released it into the big wide world - I can easily imagine the conversation between someone in HTC PR and HTC Engineering:

          PR: "hey Joe, in this email you sent about the Desire not running Gingerbread, why would the camera be an issue?"

          Eng: "Camera?"

          PR: "yeah, you said it can't run Gingerbread because the flash isn't big enough"

          Eng: "Oh... no, not that flash, the flash memory"

          PR: "Ah, right, that makes more sense"

          *tappity tap* press release goes out using the M word...

        6. Steve Evans

          @Tony Smith

          You mean Flash, as in Flash memory, as opposed to Read Only Memory and Random Access Memory...

          See the problem?

          Your original article translated "memory" to RAM, which is dodgy at best, especially when dealing with non technical press releases from someone at HTC who probably doesn't have English as a first language! Chinese whispers in its most literal form.

          Best to avoid using the word "memory", as it is completely misused by world + dog.

      2. Malcolm 1

        512MB is enough

        Unless Sense is a massive resource hog, 512MB of storage should be fine - the Sony Ericsson Arc has 512MB storage (and 512MB memory) and that runs Gingerbread fine - default install has 320MB storage remaining (so Gingerbread and Sony Ericsson's pre installed apps are using about 190MB).

      3. Paul Shirley

        @Steve Evans

        It's not so much the amount of Flash but how it's partitioned. 512mb is more than enough for OS+Sense+bundled crapware but the OS+Sense actually has to fit into the /system partition, usually allocated with only a little slop for it's initial shipping OS. There could be gigabytes of free space elsewhere, it wouldn't help.

        Not a big problem if you're prepared to repartition the Flash but doing it non-destructively is challenging and it's risky enough you wouldn't want to do it on an OTA update. And it takes space from somewhere else, bad news if that's user space.

        It might be more accurate to guess HTCs previous choices in partitioning made a normal upgrade impossible. I suspect a rough ride for many users unless HTC find some really good hacks. Freeing space is easy enough, just symlink things like /data/local to sdcard but its hard to avoid repartitioning.

    2. Alex Walsh

      Not necessarily

      Does it have enough ram to run Sense and Gingerbread? Rooted Desires have been running Gingerbread for ages but that's vanilla isn't it?

  2. Steve Evans

    Hey guys!

    It's okay, I found some more memory, it was down the back of the sofa all the time!

  3. Shaun 1

    But surely it won't work

    Not if there isn't enough RAM.

    Or have they managed to add more via a firmware update?

    1. MrT

      If they just...

      ... made Sense UI use what it really needs, it'd be a start. Try running Andriod Assistant on a stock HTC Desire and wonder why, when it frees up as much as 130MB of RAM, you never see that in the User pool - it's locked for System use and the amount reported in Setting>SD & Phone Storage never shifts.

      For example, I've got one here and AndAsst currently shows Used:304MB, Free 111MB Total 415MB, but the system reports 26MB available on the internal storage.

      If they got to grips with the memory load of Sense, gave it what it needs rather than some vague stab in the dark figure allocated and locked by a default HTC build, have it flush old items from the System caches, or even had a crack at coding a dynamic shift of RAM between System and User into their ROMs, then most Desires should get around 50-80MB more User storage to play with. Locking enough RAM to run seven home screens stuffed with loads of active widgets should be a User-side memory load, but even users who only have static app icons suffer because the RAM is locked for Sense.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge


      im sure it will *work* but will it keep bouncing off the 15meg redline?

      Stock 2.2 is bad enough as it is. Cyanogen is the way to go, sense isnt THAT good :)

  4. Mr Lurker


    HAHAhahahaaha ahahahaahahaahahahahahha.

    That is all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    the fuss

    whats is all about????

    a new keyboard/ improved ui and a new theme, from what i understand thats pretty much it.

    for all those bothered that much about it, just do what the other 100 posters have said, DIY..


  6. <spez>

    uh oh horse already bolted

    Damn and here's me already read up and half way through rooting.

  7. John Robson Silver badge


    The rest of the HTC range will benefit from the slimmed down SenseUI

  8. Horridbloke

    The Desire would be so much better...

    ... without all the uninstallable shovelware it comes with. If I want twitter (I don't) or maps (I do) then I'll install the latest version from the market and not lose several meg of precious flash storage to the factory-installed version whenever it needs updating. This would alleviate the limitations of onboard flash if that's really what was preventing Gingerbread + Sense.

    Is the Shovelware still a feature of later HTC androids?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Late to the party

    Android 2.3 for HTC Desire has been available for a long time already.

  10. PartTimeLegend

    People need to read

    You can install Gingerbread without Sense and have no issues.

    To install Gingerbread with Sense you need an EXT3/4 partition, as there is no room for apps.

    If HTC release with Sense, they might require a section of your memory card been used for ALL apps or more likely they will strip out much of Sense.

  11. Vic


    I was hoping for a cheap second-hand Desire :-(


  12. Reality Dysfunction
    Thumb Up

    I Desire.......

    Gingerbread.... ohhmm nomm nomm nomm.

    Although Cake may do.

    Down with apples and all other fruit based devices (Blackberry you know I mean you)

  13. g e


    I bought my Desire HD for the spec at the time. An update is bonus++ as far as I'm concerned!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business Model..

    Perhaps they decided that only 9 months update support was Dire.

    I would expect at least two years worth of updates, minimum (many people are on 24 month contracts) and I would like at least 3 years Like other (i) manufacturers.

    I am still concerned that they even thought about terminating the product updates so soon, and will consider heavily before I purchase HTC again, knowing that they expect my phone to expire so soon.

    If/When a phone does reach EoL they should just make vanilla updates available, pretty much straight from Google. This way at least security issues will be patched with minimum fuss.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      vanilla updates

      Ahh why wait.. who really wants bundles apps anyway? Vanilla from Day one!

      My Next Phone will be a Nexus.

  15. LPF
    Thumb Up

    Well if they upgrade the operating system...

    how can they sell you cheap sweat shop chinese mobile. :P

    1. DanM

      As opposed to

      .. an expensive Chinese sweat shop made iPhone?

  16. Marcus Aurelius

    I haz a simples solution to their memory problems

    If they're short of Flash, load part of it from the microSD card that virtually every desire has....

  17. Anonymous Coward

    if enough fandroids whine...

    they will get their way!

    1. hplasm

      True dat.

      Whereas...iFans just run out of iAir.

  18. DaveBindy

    i have the powa!

    All of those moaning biddies on Facebook must feel like they have overthrow a middle eastern dictatorship they way they are going on! I have a desire Hd and it has the official HTC version of gingerbread on it. To be honest, it doesn't bring anything new in terms of features and i can't say that the power management is any better than froyo in day to day usage. It's a small victory

  19. Anonymous Coward


    i think I will wait until the smart arses over at xda take the "official" gingerbread rom and fix it properly with Data2SD. then I will set to and strip out the useless apps that i dont want or use....

  20. Daniel 1

    Quietly brilliant

    Even more quietly repentant.

  21. RockBurner

    ok for modders, but the rest...

    ... of us who don't mess with the Operator Roms will have to wait for them to catch up.

    Still awaiting Orange's DesireHD 2.3 update...

    (mine's the one with the warranty paperwork in the pocket)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      you can....

      once you have rooted, you can take a backup of your original orange branded rom, and if need be, you can flash it back to "standard"

      there are also plenty of download sites where you can get the operator branded roms from....

    2. Stuart Halliday

      don't do it

      I got my operator unbranded HTC Desire HD upgraded by HTC to v2.3 weeks ago.

      Buying a branded phone has too many limitations. Don't do it.

  22. Ben Norris

    isn't it about time you got rid of the required title?

    @Steve and Tony

    Last time I checked, flash was both memory and randomly accessible. So the mistake was in your assumption rather than what anybody called it.

    Anyone with a desire will instantly know it means internal storage as there is barely enough room for any apps as it is.

    1. Paul Shirley

      in phones it's block device storage, not RAM

      The flash cells may indeed be randomly accessible *for reads*. They may even be configured for direct code execution, for anyone willing to take the several hundred times speed hit. They aren't ever actually individually write accessible, though the interface may pretend otherwise.

      In reality 99.99% of Flash actually sits behind a controller that presents a block device interface to clients. Meaning they only provide random access storage in the same way that a disk drive is random access storage. In phones, it's all configured as block device storage, not RAM.

  23. Justin Clements

    How long?

    So Gingerbread has been out how long and only now are they getting an official update for customers?

  24. Johan Bastiaansen
    Thumb Up

    I did that.

    It was my suggestion to fire the marketing boys & girls for this fxck up. That did the trick.

  25. Head


    In the words of The Great Moss (TGM): 'Memory IS Ram!!!'

  26. jestersbro

    Still not enough for me

    I'm seriously thinking about going down the mod route as I don't really rate the whole Froyo + Sense mash up anyway. "My Desire" (to quote Electric Six) is playing up badly too many times at the mo'.

    I keep finding the backlight won't stay on properly, it keeps dropping my email setup, the memory gets hogged by background apps I don't want running AND the bloody HTC & Google location services keep coming on when I've disabled or force closed them. Ras'n'fras'n'HTC'n'Google'n'thing!

    BUT I"LL NEVER GET AN EYEFONE!! Sorry about that. It's not an Apple thing it's a something else thing. Apps n such. I hate paying for things that everyone else can get for free.

    I'm from Yorkshire, wadda you expect.

    1. twunt

      Do it

      Seriously - I'm surprised that anyone reading this site is still using the stock rom anyway.

      Root using Unrevoked > Choose a rom that supports A2SD or Data2Wherever > Partion Card Accordingly > Flash Rom.

      Oxygen is good for the plain 2.3.4 look, MIUI with D2W is good for a more polished interface, or there are plenty of Sense based roms - Starburst is nice and works great with the Data2Ext scripts - you can have anything up to 2GB internal storage. I usually go for 1GB.

  27. twunt


    HTC were probably right. This is going to get really messy for non-rooted stock users.

    A Fresh install of stock froyo with HTC Sense on a Desire leaves you with about 140meg free to install apps. This doesn't go far - install a few big apps like google earth and that soon disappears. Of course, you can move some apps so SD using the Froyo method, but most people don't know this so won't bother.

    So what happens when you try to push an even bigger version of Sense to them? The install will fail, users confused and annoyed, wondering where they can't update thier phone or have to delete their apps to get it working again.

    Of course, Rooters and Modders already know that you can install App2Sd or Data2Wherever - right now I have MIUI running with 1GB of interal memory using an EXT 3 Partion - but that involves - rooting the phone, partitioning a card correctly, downloading and installing a rom - not really ideal for non techys eh?

  28. Anonymous Coward

    But when?

    Title says it. AT least they can give us Vanilla Gingerbread and stop this we will/we wont.


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