I’ve had an HTC Desire for almost a year and a half now and I was very pleased with it. The stock OS is Android Gingerbread (updated to 2.3.3) with HTC’s own Sense UI-layer on top of it. I was fairly happy with it, it did nearly all the things I wanted it to do, it was practical and didn’t look too bad.
Lately though, I’ve been checking out Android’s latest and greatest: Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0). And UI wise it’s way slicker than previous versions! Now, as you may now, HTC won’t be updating the Desire anymore and suddenly I dreaded staying on 2.3 . I figured what the hell and decided to root my phone.
This was definitely NOT a fun process. iPhone users really get the better experience here. The whole thing involves booting into a special bootloader, wiping certain parts of your memory and than flashing a new ROM. It isn’t the hardest thing to do, but there are a couple of things that can go wrong. So naturally, as a living proof of Murphy’s law, things did go wrong.
On of the aspects of the rooting/flashing process is booting into hboot, which is a special bootloader. This is normally done by holding down volume down and then powering up. I couldn’t do this as my volume down button is nearly broken. No worries though, you can let your device boot into hboot by your computer via usb. So I did this, wiped some memory and flashed the new ROM.
The install was succesfull and I rebooted, I got a really cool animated bootscreen but that was it! It just kept rebooting and never got past the bootscreen. Turned out I forgot to wipe my “user data memory part” (I have no idea what that really is, but hey.. .) I had to get back into hboot, but the usb trick didn’t work anymore as my device wasn’t active long enough. So I had to do it manually. After about 10 tries and lot of cursing/praying to Thor, I got it back into hboot, wiped the memory and flashed again. And it worked!
I now have a rooted device where I can use custom lockscreens, launchers, screenshot apps, anything really. The ROM I used was great for getting me ICS, but not so much from a UI point of view. So I switched NovaLauncher for GoLauncher and installed a couple of minimal widgets and I’m pretty happy with the result.
The whole experience might not be for the feint of heart, but I reckon it’s totally worth it. You get way more control over your device, you can make it look like you want to + you get functionality that should really be standard (the screenshotting for example)