No Gingerbread For HTC Desire Owners

HTC back tracked this week, saying that despite earlier announcements they would not be rolling out Android 2.3 to the original Desire.

The reason HTC gave is that the Desire lacks sufficient memory to run 2.3, but this is definitely not true, many people are already running 2.3 on HTC Desire having rooted them and installed Cyanogen, Oxygen or another community build of Android.

What HTC mean is that the Desire does not have enough RAM to run Android 2.3 and their Sense UI at the same time, a problem that the community builds don’t have as they don’t include Sense.

Most users won’t notice much in the way of difference features wise with 2.3, but the big deal here is battery life, the Desire has notoriously poor battery life and 2.3 has much better power management.  A new version of Android won’t make the Desire’s battery last for ever but it does help, some users on custom ROMs are reporting a 30% plus increase in battery life.

So if the Desire won’t run 2.3 and Sense, and if it’s possible to run 2.3 without Sense, then why don’t HTC give users the option of installing a stock android build without Sense?  Well I’d be amazed if that happened, Sense is what HTC think differentiates their phones from the other Android handsets. As far as UIs go Sense is one of the better ones and if HTC were to offer Desire owners the option to remove it then no doubt they would find themselves under pressure to offer the same option to their other handsets.

If HTC were to offer a stock Android build then they would effectively be offering them the choice of a shiny UI or performance. No doubt some people would choose the pretty graphics and the weather effects over performance – people did buy Windows Vista – but as an XP refusenik I for one would choose the battery life.

There is another reason that HTC might have decided not to roll out 2.3, and it’s very popular on the forums and facebook – planned obsolescence.

The Desire is at the stage where people are reaching the end of their contracts, and HTC want them to buy new phones. If the Desire gets 2.3 there will be little to tempt people to upgrade.

Even if HTC did decide to roll out 2.3, the chances are that the networks would take a while to actually let their customers have it, stuffing an operating system full of bloatware bonus software takes time after all.

Bottom line is this, buy a Nexus S. Google branded phones give you the best chance of getting the latest Android version.

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