The HTC Explorer, or Pico as it’s known to friends, is a humble device sporting a 3.2″ screen, 512 megs of RAM, and a slimmed down version of HTC Sense. Despite its small size and lower than average specs, it has still managed to acquire enough of a loyal user base and attention from the development community to secure itself a home here on XDA.
In addition to the various Android-based custom ROMs for this device, there is now also a version of Mozilla Firefox OS (formerly known as Boot 2 Gecko) available for users to flash. If you’re not familiar with Mozilla’s open source smartphone OS, their developer pages will answer any questions you may have. The port comes courtesy of XDA Recognized Developer cute_prince. As you would expect, it’s not quite ready to be used as a daily driver, but it’s certainly worth a look if you have some time to kill.
The “not working” list is as follows:
Although we list SIM card detection as not working, some users have reported that they were able to get the device to detect the card after some fiddling around. This then allowed the SMS function to be used.
Check out the development thread for more information and what to expect if you flash this. It might not be fully functional, but hey: It has to be better than Sense, right?
January 12, 2013 By: Joseph Hindy
There are quite a few excellent toolkits for HTC devices that we have covered in recent memory. They can be very useful tools by helping lower the cost of entry for users trying to safely and easily root their devices, install recoveries, and unlock bootloaders. Now, there are new toolkits for the HTC Explorer, HTC Desire V, and the HTC Desire S.
XDA Recognized Developer hasoon2000, who has developed a large number of toolkits for HTC devices, has added the Explorer, Desire V, and Desire S to the list of supported devices. The features are pretty much on par with his other toolkits, but for those who haven’t seen his other releases, they include:
- Get Token ID. Buttons have been replaced and include links.
- Unlock Bootloader (Must place Unlock_code.bin in the folder)
- Install Recoveries
User Provided Recovery
-Flash Kernels provided
User Provided Kernel
- Link to this thread
- Link to PM me if you need a phone unlocked
- Link to the One X+ Development thread
- Boot Into Recovery
- Boot into Bootloader
- Relock Bootloader (must be in fastboot)
- APK Batch Installer (Credits to hamsteyr)
Those familiar with his work will note that the features vary only slightly from device to device. This is perfect for new device owners who want to get through the rooting and unlocking process easily, as well as even more intermediate users who need to install APKs en masse or re-lock the bootloader.
It’s truly impressive how dedicated the developers in our community are in working to keep old devices relevant with the latest OS updates, even after their manufacturers have ditched them entirely in favor of newer devices. In one such development, XDA Recognized Developer sakindia123 has ported the Linux 3.0.16 kernel to the HTC Explorer. This is great news for ROM developers since this will bring better support for ICS and Jelly Bean ROMs, in addition to better speed and security.
At the moment, the kernel supports most device features including touch screen, hardware acceleration, brightness, screen controls, accelerometer, vibrator, ambient light sensor, RIL, camera, clock, battery, phone calls, messaging, mobile data, capacitive buttons, GPS, storage, deep sleep, USB, WiFi, and Bluetooth. Sound also works, though the volume is rather low. The volume-up and power buttons aren’t functional at the moment though, and the lack of power button functionality would likely be the primary reason for the kernel to be not yet ready for use as a daily driver. However, the developer is working on the kernel, and we might likely see a fix for this in a future update.
The HTC Explorer was never one of the most popular smartphones to grace the pages of XDA. The Explorer is a low end device that was released in late 2011. With only a 600 MHz processor and 512 MB RAM, it was never going to grab any headlines. This is what makes the recent high level of development activity on the device all the more impressive.
First up, XDA Senior Member oblikas brings us TWRP. The popular touchscreen driven recovery system allows you to do much more than flash a ROM. While it does work as intended, at version 22.214.171.124, it’s not updated to the latest version at the time of writing.
Next up, XDA Senior Member derefas has managed to port HTC Sense 4.0 to the Explorer. Given that the device originally shipped with Sense 3.5, this is an exciting port for Explorer owners, giving their device a complete refresh. The only listed known issues with the ROM are occasional USB issues, Bluetooth, Wifi and Superuser, though these last three issues have been fixed by the dev and will be working in the next ROM update.
Further to this, XDA Senior Member sam_0829 has impressively ported Sense 4.1 to the device, using the HTC Desire HD as a donor. The main functional parts of the device such as radio, sound and camera are all working, but as the Desire HD has a much higher screen resolution, a large amount of the ROM needs to be re-sized to fit the Explorer’s 320 × 480 screen. The dev has created a thread in the hope that others will be able to provide help in re-sizing, so that a usable ROM can be put together.
If Sense isn’t your cup of tea, and you prefer a more true Android experience, there are a number of ROMs available that are more suited.
XDA Senior Member sakindia123 has been busy, and brings us unofficial builds of both Cyanogenmod 9.1 and 10. The Ice Cream Sandwich based Cyanogenmod 9.1 ROM is fully functional with no known issues. The Cyanogenmod 10 ROM is almost completely working, with the only issues being with video decoding and voice search.
Another non Sense option is an unofficial AOKP ROM, built from source by XDA Recognized Developer flowish. This ROM has no known issues and of course has all the standard AOKP features.
Finally, if you haven’t been hiding under that rock of late, you’ll no doubt have heard of PACman ROM, an amalgamation of the best features from Paranoid Android, AOKP and Cyanogenmod 10. This port of PACman ROM is brought to us, again, by XDA Senior Member oblikas. Given the ROM has only just been released and is in an alpha stage, there are a few issues at present, including the camera, audio and USB mass storage.
There are of course many other custom ROMs available in the HTC Explorer Development forum. This article is just intended to highlight some of the more recent development taking place.
If you want to try out any of these ROMs, check out the relevant ROM thread:
November 22, 2011 By: Sam Caplat
I wrote an article two days ago slating HTCdev and their tardiness in GPL compliance. I was harsh and unforgiving, and quite right too. We’re not here to play devil’s advocate or apologise on their behalf. The article listed phones the kernel source code hadn’t been published for. Some devices remain unpublished, but a small collection have been published today, including the Rezound, Amaze, Explorer, and Desire S.
Well done, HTC, hopefully we’ll see full GPL compliance soon. Please visit www.htcdev.com to download your required resources.