August 4, 2012 By: egzthunder1
So after months and months of waiting, kicking, and screaming from the user base, Sprint has finally decided to provide their EVO 3D customers with a brand spanking new base to play around with. The new official Sprint ROM (base number 2.89.651.2) has been fitted with ICS 4.0.3, Sense 3.6 (as promised), a new radio, HBOOT 1.58, and some new bits and pieces of firmware. As always, this is loaded (and I do mean loaded) with Sprint’s usual bloatware such as Sprint Zone, Nascar, and a few other unremovable (by regular means anyways) bits of Sprint love on the device. After all, nothing screams “we care about our customers” than the bundled Blockbuster app, embedded into the framework with an additional .jar. This rom is an OTA, which means that Sprint is distributing this wirelessly to roms that are capable of receiving the update.
Enough with the formalities about the ROM itself, and lets just go to the core of this article. This is a well known topic as we have covered it before in similar instances. You know, the usual dance where Google announces a new OS, everyone gets excited about promises and ideas and starts looking forward to a reason to hold off on dropping $500-$800 for a new phone (off contract) or for begging the carriers for an early upgrade. Here at XDA, we strive against the inability of the carriers to completely satisfy their customers (us). And because of that, we have had ICS with Sense 3.6 builds for a few months now. Which makes me wonder quite a bit about the entire update. Is it worth having your bootloader relocked just to have to flash buggy software? Yes, buggy software. As it turns out, this new ROM does not have the amount of quality control it should have had for having taken such a monumental amount of time to be released. One such somewhat major bug is Bluetooth, which was either not working or doing so very poorly. Thanks to XDA Forum Member mikeyxda, we now have a fix for this bug. You would think that something like this would have been caught after such a long wait. Lets face it, it was a rather big “opps” considering that Bluetooth is so widely used.
So, what exactly took HTC and Sprint so long? Why did they keep people waiting for this? In previous articles, we had stipulated that perhaps they hold off on upgrades for long enough to not have to explain themselves to the customers as to why they are purposely going against Google’s recommendation about the 18 month promised upgrade. This is not exactly rocket science, albeit you need a good set of skills to whip up a decent ROM. Having said that, developers on XDA probably have far fewer resources than HTC and Sprint, and certainly they don’t have access to most of their “private stuff.” That said, why is it that our site’s devs have the capability to put out better stuff in shorter amounts of time? Oh! I know! HTC has to spend monumental amounts of time and resources because the likes of Sprint and Verizon want them to “protect” the devices and as such, they put in new locked bootloaders so that people cannot fully utilize their devices. How did we arrive at this conclusion? Quite simple actually, we have had Sprint’s ICS with Sense 3.6 leaks on XDA for a few months already. The stock RUU was actually not half bad, and certainly something par to what we see in other stock roms. But aside from the official vs leak factor, there is a major difference between the leak and what we just received from Sprint: a new locked bootloader, which unlike previous bootloader versions, will make your device go on a bootloop if you try to flash the ROM without updating it. In other words, if you want to run Sprint’s latest and greatest, you must update your hboot. Is there any reason to believe that this is necessary for ICS or even for Sense 3.6 to run on the EVO3D? Considering that the leaked build runs perfectly well on ENG HBOOT, I am going to dare say no, there is not.
So, what conclusion do we arrive to from all this? EVO 3D owners just waited for well over a year not for ICS and a somewhat outdated version Sense, but for Sprint’s latest attempt to prevent users from using their devices. So, thank you Sprint for making HTC give us a brand new headache version number 1.58 as opposed to a bug free ICS rom with Sense 4.0. Oh, and just an FYI, Sense 4.0 works fantastically well on our EVO 3D.
Thanks for reading.
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July 25, 2012 By: Will Verduzco
Themers working with HTC Sense ROMs currently face a major problem. They are unable to modify most images used by Sense 3.5 and beyond because of HTC’s method of storing images inside proprietary m10 files. Unfortunately, the images are not stored as JPG or PNG. Instead, they are encoded with an unknown algorithm.
Previously, M10Tools by XDA Recognized Developers Flemmard and Diamondback would be used to decode these images. However, with the release of Sense 3.5, this no longer was an option, as HTC added new image formats that are not compatible with the software package.
After trying unsuccessfully to decode the new image formats, Recognized Developer and Forum Moderator Diamondback has decided to seek help from other developers in the community to find a solution to the M10 image format woes. Luckily, there is progress being made to find a solution. For starters, Diamondback has compiled a list of what we know so far:
We don’t have any hard facts for these image types but looking at the “old” image types, we can guess a few things:
- The images are in a format the GPU can render directly (Like s3tc, ATC, QTC, etc) (At least this used to be the case, might have changed)
- Images are most likely compressed. The ratio between assumed size (based on meta data) and the actual data size indicates some heavy compression. The data itself obviously looks compressed too.
- There are no headers or any other help. It is just raw data.
- We don’t know exactly how the decoded images actually look like, so we can’t say what the images display. However, due to latest archievements we “might” know this for images from Sense 3.5 and 3.6 if needed.
- The handling software side is all in a few libs and NOT in smali / java, so we can’t look for stuff there, however we have the libs, so if someone is pro with assembler he might find out something
So which image types are the ones in question? As compiled by Diamondback:
Here is a list of image type we already know ( remember, we don’t know where the numbers come from, might be some enum in native code or so)
- Type 4: Raw RGB
- Type 6: Raw RGBA (still used rather often)
- Type 8: ATC RGB (doesn’t seem to be used at all anymore)
- Type 9: ATC RGBA Explicit (doesn’t seem to be used at all anymore)
As you can see we got types WITH and WITHOUT alpha encoding.
Here is the list of UNKNOWN formats:
- Type 13 (used way less than type 14, so maybe no alpha?)
- Type 14 (this is the most used type, so I assume this one supports alpha encoding)
When thinking about what the data might be, don’t throw away crazy ideas like “The data is S3TC /ATC /whatever but compressed again by some ‘normal’ compression algorithm”. Maybe they just replaced type 8 and 9 with an additional compression on top of these types.
Diamondback is searching for help from everyone who is experienced with file formats, image compression, OpenGL or reverse engineering. Since these efforts have been ongoing for several months, any input is appreciated. Those who wish to join the project should head over to the development thread and lend a hand.
Vanilla Android, in the form of AOSP and AOSP-derived builds, is generally the first most devices see of a new Android version. While there are some fun ICS leaks for phones like the Samsung Galaxy S II with their manufacturer skin pre-installed, most devices still have to flash a CyanogenMod 9 or some other AOSP-derived build to get ICS.
For owners of the HTC Desire HD, there is now an additional option. In a collaborative effort from the teams that brought Desire HD owners BeatMod and Smartdroid, comes a Sense 3.6 Port that also happens to be Ice Cream Sandwich based. XDA Recognized Developer zFr3eak and XDA Senior Members memnoc, BiCh0n and XxXPachaXxX are all in on the project, and are working fervently to get the bugs out.
The ROM features are pretty basic as this is still in beta mode. Currently it’s just stock Sense 3.6 with Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 but it can be assumed that once all the kinks are worked out, more modifications to the ROM will come. The list of things that are currently working are:
SMS / MMS
And what still needs a little work:
So while it may not be ready for a daily driver level of use just yet, users can still flash it and check out the look and feel of Sense 3.6 with Ice Cream Sandwich.
Head on over to the original thread for more information, full feature list, change logs, screenshots and download links. As always, make a backup before flashing, just in case something goes wrong.