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Posts Tagged: HTC Thunderbolt

HTC Thunderbolt

Let’s face it: HTC is far from being the model of the open source development world. While they still have a large following, their recent earnings statements are an indication that their followers are no longer following them. Their deliberate snubs at the development community, and the users who depend on them, have ranged from complete lack of required GPLv2 kernel source code to locked bootloaders and then allowing a pseudo-unlock which prohibits the flashing of partitions. With a net profit of only $33mil in Q4 2012 (down almost 90% from Q4 2011) and sales down 7% in January 2013 compared to January 2012, it’s obvious something needs to change. HTC’s CEO Peter Chou seems to think that marketing is the way to solve their problems though. Living in a different dimension, anyone?

Typically we would say that providing OS updates to devices is a great step to keeping the user happy, but this is another area in which HTC continues to falter. They have routinely promised updates to their phones and then delayed them or just flat out said they aren’t happening. Now, as luck would have it, the HTC Thunderbolt, a device launched in mid 2011, is finally getting the ICS update after being promised it would be released back in August of 2012. Verizon notified users a few days ago that an OTA update would be slowly rolling out to those still using this older device, with the software version upping the device to Android 4.04 (HTC Build 7.02.605.06710RD) and HTC Sense 3.6. What is interesting is Verizon has added a new application to the Thunderbolt, “Verizon Remote Diagnostics.” If you look at the description for this application, it sure seems like HTC and Verizon haven’t learned a thing from the CarrierIQ saga of late 2011.

New customer care solution to improve customer service experience. When a customer calls into Verizon Wireless customer care, this solution, with the customer’s permission, allows support personnel to remotely view the user’s device for device training, application demonstrations and troubleshooting.

There is currently a thread discussing the update, with development soon to follow once XDA’s developers get their hands on it.

TWRP

The last time we brought you news about TWRP, it was to announce that TWRP 2.2.2 had been released. It had fixed a lot of bugs from the initial release of TWRP 2.2 and added a few new features. Very recently, TWRP has been updated again to version 2.3.

There were a whole bunch of awesome improvements with TWRP 2.2 and a lot of unique and brand new features as well. TWRP 2.3 promises no less. The official change log includes:

Rebased onto AOSP Jelly Bean source code
Rewrote backup, restore, wipe, and mount code in C++ classes for easier maintenance going forward
NOTE: backups from prior versions of TWRP are still compatible with 2.3
ADB sideload functionality from AOSP is included in 2.3, see this link for more info
Re-wrote fix permissions entirely in C++ and runs in a few seconds instead of a few minutes (thanks to bigbiff)
Improvements to zip finding in OpenRecoveryScript (should be a lot fewer GooManager automation issues)
Faster boot times
Added charging indicator while in recovery (only updates once every 60 seconds)

Additionally, XDA Recognized Developer Dees_Troy has reported that there is now support for spaces in backup names. Before, if you added a space to the name of a backup, it would not restore. Now users can use whatever naming convention they want.

One of the biggest changes, though, is all of the TWRP being rewritten in C++ and its move to recovery API 3 instead of API 2. With the code rewrite, it will allow TWRP to update more quickly and with more stability. With the API 3 change, it means that some flashable zip files may stop working because the developer needs to update the update-binary. If you don’t want to wait for the developer, or the developer has ceased working on the project, you can find one to use on TWRP’s official website. To install the latest TWRP, you can use the Goomanager application. Simply open the application, hit menu, and install open recovery.

If you want to check out the latest TWRP recovery for your device, check one of the links below.

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Thunderbolt AOSP

Getting AOSP working on a device is always a big deal. In fact, we we mention AOSP-based ROMs quite frequently on the Portal. It’s vanilla Android at its finest and many users prefer it to Android that’s been flavored by OEMs. Now, the HTC Thunderbolt has some AOSP ICS goodness, and this time you can even use data!

For Thunderbolt owners, data has been the big struggle with AOSP ports and, it is finally over. XDA Senior Member [SP]JESTER, along with some others, have released an Ice Cream Sandwich AOSP ROM with data, call signal, and MMS all working. This makes it the first ICS AOSP ROM on the Thunderbolt to have working data.

The ROM itself seems to be very close to being in perfect running condition. Here is a list of the only things left that are wrong with it:

Video Camera still Broke
Netflix is dead
Wifi Tether may be broke for now, Use the Internal version in settings

So unless you like to video record things, are addicted to Netflix, or use your phone as your WiFi router, this is almost certainly daily driver material. For additional details, head to the original thread.

HTC-Thunderbolt-root

The HTC Thunderbolt was one of the first LTE devices on Verizon, but quickly faded into the background as the HTC Rezound was launched. HTC however stated via Facebook that the Thunderbolt would be receiving an ICS update by the end of August, along with all of the other promised devices, though we’re coming up on the end of the month, with still no official date of release.

Never fear though as leaks are bound to happen, and according to PhoneNews the official update from Verizon has leaked. The version number in the leak is 7.00.605.2, and you can visit the XDA discussion thread where they’re discussing the leak and where to download it here. There are reports of some running the leak with no issues, and others stating they are having numerous force-close issues, so your-mileage-may-vary. For those running this device, keep checking the Thunderbolt development section for a ROM based on the leak to pop up.

Bootloader Customizer

Not too long ago, we brought you news that allowed HTC EVO 4G LTE users to customize their bootloaders. The process was pretty cool, allowing users to make their bootloader look however they want—including making it look unhacked. After the initial project was released, users clamored for this to be made available to more devices. The requests were heard and responded to. Now, the plugin has been made available to make the bootloader customizer for a number of HTC devices.

The process for a developer to port this is not hard. XDA Recognized Contributor regaw_leinad, who developed the application and plugin, takes a time out from the stags (yes, that’s really him) to explain how:

it’s basically all written, they just need to fill in the values for their hboot, and embed the hboot.img into the exe. I already have a placeholder for the hboot.img and android-info.txt so a drag and drop over them should keep it embedded.

Regaw_leinad is also creating the application for the supported devices, but wanted to release the plugin first so users had a chance to get it sooner. The current list of supported HTC devices include:

  • HTC EVO 4G LTE
  • HTC EVO 3D
  • HTC EVO 4G
  • HTC Sensation
  • HTC Wildfire S
  • HTC Incredible S
  • Droid Incredible 2
  • HTC Amaze 4G
  • HTC One X
  • HTC One S
  • HTC One V
  • HTC One XL
  • HTC Thunderbolt
  • HTC Desire HD
  • HTC Inspire 4G
  • HTC EVO Shift 4G
  • HTC Desire S
  • HTC Tattoo
  • Droid Eris
  • HTC Desire
  • HTC Incredible
  • HTC Wildfire
  • HTC Aria
  • HTC Desire Z
  • HTC EVO 4G+
  • HTC Vivid 4G
  • HTC EVO Design 4G
  • HTC Sensation XE
  • HTC Rezound
  • HTC Desire C

While the list is quite large, one must keep in mind that not all of these devices have S-Off, and users must have S-Off in order to actually use this application. To get started, visit the original thread.

filemanagerrenam

Just about three months ago, we brought you news that the Team Win Recovery Project had received a massive update to version 2.1. April’s release largely heralded the start of a new age in recoveries—where one would no longer have to deal with cumbersome menus, instead interacting with a very user-friendly GUI.

It wasn’t simply about the GUI either. In addition to bringing an unrivaled level of UI polish, TWRP 2.1 offered users many advanced features such as update.zip queuing, a basic file manager, and dual storage support for Nandroid backups. Additionally, TWRP added support for the open source scripting engine OpenRecoveryScript, which works in conjunction with the previously covered GooManager.

How do you follow up something as revolutionary as TWRP 2.1? With TWRP 2.2, of course. That’s how! The new release builds on the previous offering by delivering many recovery “firsts.” For starters, this is the first recovery to feature on on-screen keyboard. Why would you want such a thing? How about naming and renaming Nandroid backups! TWRP 2.2 is also the only recovery to split extremely large backups, allowing users to backup and restore /data partitions larger than the 2 GB FAT32 file size limit.

In the words of XDA Recognized Developer Dees_Troy:

- On-screen keyboard in recovery! — supports long press, backspace repeat, and swipe left deletes everything left of the cursor
- Name new backups and rename existing backups
- Rename files and folders in the file manager
- Pseudo-terminal emulator
- Support decrypting an encrypted data partition on Galaxy Nexus (enter password using keyboard)
- Backup archive splitting — allows backup and restore of data partitions larger than 2GB
- Simplified XML layout support between resolutions
- Added dual storage selection radio buttons to zip install, backup, and restore pages
- Improved zip install compatibility
- Updated update-binary source code
- Numerous small bug fixes and improvements

Eager to get started? I know I am. Head to the links below to obtain the appropriate version for your device:

HTC Thunderbolt Tool

HTC devices have gotten a boost in ease-of-use recently with a number of all-in-one and S-Off toolkits. The point of these applications is to help make hacking the phone easier; providing one-click solutions for things such as rooting, unlocking the bootloader, flashing recoveries, and other processes that can pose occasional problems. While the validity of one-click technology has been debated before, it hasn’t stopped developers from releasing them and users from using them.

The HTC Thunderbolt is the latest in the HTC line up to get an all-in-one toolkit. Developed by XDA Senior Member trter10, the toolkit gives users many of the aforementioned solutions in a single click. The list of features include:

S-OFF and Root
Unroot
Flash CWM, CWM Touch, TWRP, or 4ext recovery
Boot menu: Reboot, Hot reboot, Reboot recovery, Reboot to fastboot, Reboot to hboot, Power off
Disable HTC OTA Updates
Run an ADB/Fastboot Command Prompt
Install Busybox

Some of the features are standard for this type of toolkit, such as flashing various recoveries and a boot menu. It’s always nice to be able to achieve S-Off and root in a one-click solution as well. One unique feature is the ability to turn off HTC updates. This will prevent your phone from updating its firmware, causing you to lose root.

For additional info, head over to the original thread.

Ice-Cream-Sandwich-Recipe

One of the most common questions here at XDA over the past several months has been, “When will my HTC device receive Ice Cream Sandwich?” Now, thanks to a tip from XDA Senior Member neoofoox we have our answer.

Although we previously mentioned the devices confirmed to get ICS from HTC’s blog back in March, it was only recently that HTC finally confirmed their timeline for this year’s releases. According to HTC:

What is the overall timeline of Android 4.0 updates?
The majority of devices will receive upgrades in June and July 2012 and we expect to finish upgrades in August 2012 for all announced devices.

When will my device get the Android 4.0 upgrade?

The target timeline for announced devices is below. Because of partner and network testing, and approval processes for device updates, it can take up to 45 days for all carriers and countries to get the update after a rollout has begun.

Device

Schedule

DROID Incredible 2 by HTC To be determined (by the end of August)
HTC Amaze 4G May-June
HTC Desire S June-July
HTC Desire HD July-August
HTC EVO 3D June-July
HTC EVO 4G+ May-June
HTC EVO Design 4G June-July
HTC Incredible S June-July
HTC Sensation March-June
HTC Sensation 4G March-June
HTC Sensation XE March-June
HTC Sensation XL April-Jun
HTC Rezound June-July
HTC Rhyme June-July
HTC Thunderbolt July-August
HTC Velocity 4G March-June
HTC Vivid March-June

Please note these dates are targets and may shift due to testing and approvals.

For a detailed look at when your specific device will be getting a taste of frosty Android goodness and several other questions answered, head on over the official page and salivate over your upcoming good fortune.

lockscreen

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: touch-based recoveries are the future. Aside from giving end users easier access to device firmware modification, they add a much needed element of polish to the Android hacking experience. While some may say that these upgrade recoveries take away from the feelings of thrill and excitement, I argue that they offer a more efficient interface and enable some truly unique new features not available in the recoveries of yesteryear.

In a rather large update to what is arguably the most popular touch-based recovery around, XDA Recognized Developer Dees_Troy presents to us Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP, for short) version 2.1. Aside from simply bringing a friendly UI, TWRP 2.1 packs a healthy feature punch by offering zip queuing, a basic file manager, and dual storage support for backups.

TWRP supports scripting via a new scripting engine called OpenRecoveryScript for use with GooManager. With ORS, users can install multiple update.zip files from within Android, wipe cache & dalvik, and run a backup. Furthermore, in the name of openness, Team Win has submitted ORS as a commit to ClockworkMod.

In the words of the developer:

Team Win Recovery Project 2.0, or twrp2 for short, is a custom recovery built with ease of use and customization in mind. We started from the ground up by taking AOSP recovery and loading it with the standard recovery options, then added a lot of our own features. It’s a fully touch driven user interface – no more volume rocker or power buttons to mash. The GUI is also fully XML driven and completely theme-able. You can change just about every aspect of the look and feel.

New features for version 2 of the recovery software:

Zip queuing as seen in TWRP 1.1.x is back
Dual storage capable (backup, restore, and install zips from internal or external storage – you choose)
Slider control (swipe to confirm most actions aka swipe to wipe)
Lockscreen (with slider to unlock)
Basic file manager (copy, move, delete, and chmod any file)
Added support for devices with /data/media (most Honeycomb tablets, new ICS devices like Galaxy Nexus)
Displays sizes of each partition in the backup menu
Added listbox GUI element (currently used for listing time zones)
Updated stock XML layouts to be more consistent and easier to port to different resolutions
XML layout files are significantly smaller
Partitions available backup are more accurate for some devices
Removed unneeded error messages (/misc errors, unable to stat sd-ext, etc.)
Fixed a bug with blkid detection code
Fixed bug where a blank line was inserted between every line of text during zip installs
Fixed a bug during zip installs where an invalid zip would cause TWRP to get stuck in the zip install
Added setting for themers to toggle simulation mode to make theming easier
New devices added – Galaxy Nexus GSM & CDMA (preview only, manual install), Acer Iconia Tab A500, HTC Vivid, Motorola Defy
Added support for .jpg images in the theme engine
Changed images for stock tablet theme – makes tablet builds about 500KB smaller
Removed unneeded non-GUI images from GUI – makes all builds about 100KB smaller

If you’re itching to get started, please visit the development threads listed below. If instead you are looking to theme the recovery, visit their theming guide.

HTC Thunderbolt

Every now and then, it’s necessary for a developer to consolidate all of his or her mods into a single thread. It makes it easier for users to find all their stuff and help showcase their work in a more effective and efficient manner. It also gives that dev a place to put future work without having to make another thread and clog the forums up. XDA Senior Member orkillakilla has opened a thread to showcase a number of mods and theme elements for users of the HTC Thunderbolt using Gingerbread with HTC Sense 2.1.

The mods are easy to install, as they’re all flashable via custom recovery, so they’re friendly for even the novice user. The available modifications range from changing the overscroll glow color and giving you true 6-bar signal icons to removing the recent apps from the notifications pull down. There’s even a nifty mod that will wake the phone upon pressing the volume keys instead of the power button.

For the full list of mods, their download links, all the thank yous and user discussion, head on over to the mod collection thread and grab up what you need.

blog.htc

The billion dollar question right now in the Android world is whether or not your device will receive Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. As they so humorously put it:

Few innovations have improved upon ice cream as much putting it between two cookies and making a sandwich. Which is why we all want Ice Cream Sandwich! Ok, that’s not the real reason, but we’re all excited about Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, coming to HTC.

While there is constant speculation as to which devices will be added to the ICS list, not very many firm answers are to be found. Luckily, HTC has just released a public statement as to which devices are slated to receive Google’s latest tasty treat.

Timing is the next important question. HTC has spoken up on this issue as well, stating that the updates for the Sensation and Sensation XE would begin in the coming weeks, with the Sensation 4G andSensation following thereafter. However, the schedule still remains unclear for the other devices slated to receive the OS update.

As for timing, we’re in the early stages of rolling out Android 4.0 for the HTC Sensation and HTC Sensation XE and upgrades will be more widely available in the next few weeks. The update for the HTC Sensation 4G and HTC Sensation XL will follow. Please note, once we start pushing out updates it will take time for all carriers in each country to get the update. We are working closely with our carrier partners to nail down update schedules for our other smartphones and will have more to share very soon.

While many of us are still irked at the fact that HTC’s first generation Snapdragon devices such as the original HTC Incredible and the legendary Evo 4G are not on the update list, their omission is understandable given that not even the HTC-built Google Nexus One is receiving ICS in official capacity. However, the fact that these devices will be receiving Sense 3.6 rather than Sense 4 is a bit of a bigger blow. However, you can bet that our developer community will have that covered, as they have already begun to do so.

Source: HTC Blog

[Thanks to all who sent in the tip!]

AndroidFlasher

As we’ve stated in the past, one of the highlights of the Android OS is how it allows you to customize almost every aspect to your every whim. Often times, however, you wish to change more than the superficial by delving into the world of radio, bootloader, recovery, and splash screen modification. Assuming you have already achieved S-Off status on your device, XDA forum member danward brings us the perfect tool for your hacking needs.

Assuming you have USB debugging enabled and have the appropriate hboot drivers installed, Android Flasher allows you to flash these previously difficult-to-flash areas in just a couple of clicks. The Windows-based app currently works on the following HTC phones: Desire, Desire Z, Desire HD, EVO 4g, EVO 3D, Desire S, Incredible S, Thunderbolt, and Sensation. In the words of the developer:

This application flashes the specific parts of your device, ie. Bootloader, Recovery, Splash screen, and Radio.
It has taken many hours and much extensive research and testing on multiple devices to make a straightforward, efficient and reliable program to offer you the freedom in device customisation you are otherwise denied.
The app allows you to quickly customise your device in a way that is simple and alot goes on behind the scenes to guarantee you don’t get caught with error messages.
The splash screen is the image before the boot animation, (by default the white HTC logo.) With this application you can change it in under a minute.

If you’re interested in giving this a shot on your own device, make your way to the application thread. You’ll finally be able to (easily) get rid of that annoying HTC splash screen once and for all.

verizonjail

Verizon Wireless breaks the law if the bootloaders are locked on some phones.  By the end of this article, you’ll know why.

As I was recording my show for XDA TV this week, I had a moment.  You can see it for yourself.  I was recapping my article about Motorola and Verizon not unlocking the bootloader for the Droid RAZR.  The line I delivered was, “The international version of the Droid RAZR will be shipping with an unlocked bootloader.  Now, this could be that Motorola wants to compete with the Galaxy Nexus…”  That’s when I had my moment, and added, “which is funny because that’s also going on Verizon.”

In that moment, I realized that Motorola must be lying.  Why can some devices and manufacturers unlock their bootloaders, and not others?  But I was wrong.  (Congratulations, Motorola, on your newfound sense of freedom!)  The Galaxy Nexus is special for two reasons.  First, it’s Google’s phone.  Second, it’s likely that the Galaxy Nexus’ LTE radio uses Block C frequencies.

Not many people know what the C Block is.  I didn’t either.  Andrew Krug of AndroidActivists told me about it, and we spent the night poring over research.  Verizon has the largest 4G network because they bought it in 2008.  At the time, the 700 MHz radio frequencies brought you your favorite broadcast television shows.  When television switched from analog to digital, they became your 4G networks.

When the Federal Communications Commission announced the auction to sell the 700 MHz band, they broke it into five different “blocks”, each with different regulations according to how widespread they are.  This created a Goldilocks sort of situation.  Block D has the largest area, but comes with more clauses than malls have during the Christmas season.  Plus, you’re supposed to be a public service agency.  Blocks A, B, and E are small potatoes.  But Block C was just right.  Few regulations, lots of breadth.

It was so good, in fact, that the FCC tacked on a few more regulations, encouraged by Google.  Unless Block C sold for less than $4.6 billion, it comes with an open access provision.  Google pledged $4.6 billion to ensure Block C comes with the open access provision.  The open access provision requires Verizon to “not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network.”   It goes on to say, “The potential for excessive bandwidth demand alone shall not constitute grounds for denying, limiting or restricting access to the network.”  Verizon bought Block C and tried to have the provisions removed.  They failed.  The provisions are still there, Verizon has the Block C license.   That means if a device uses the Block C frequencies, Verizon cannot insist what apps or firmware it runs.  It also means they can’t limit data plans for those devices.  Which is odd, because I remember Verizon dropping unlimited data plans back in July 2011.

So the question is, do any devices use Block C frequencies?  Yes.  Some are called Hotspots.  Others are called the HTC Thunderbolt.  There may be more, those are simply the two I know about and confirmed.  The Hotspots are a non-issue.  They comply with FCC regulations as far as I’m aware.  The HTC Thunderbolt, on the other hand, does not.  In the list of rules and exceptions for the Block C license, it says this:

Handset locking prohibited.  No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee’s standards pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers’ networks.

In case you’re wondering, Paragraph (b) is what I previously quoted from the FCC’s open access provisions document.  Last I checked, HTCdev does not offer a bootloader unlocking solution for the HTC Thunderbolt.  Is this HTC’s fault?  No.  Their website states, “HTC is committed to assisting customers in unlocking bootloaders for HTC devices. However, certain models may not be unlockable due to operator restrictions.”  And having personally met the HTCdev team, I believe them.

That leaves Verizon.  Good ol’ Verizon.  Breaking the law since May, at the latest.  If you owned a Thunderbolt, please file a complaint with the FCC.  Select Wireless Telephone > Billing, Service, Privacy, Number Portability and other issues > Online Form.  Fill out your information, scroll down, fill out 1 and 2, skip 3 and 4.  Then in 5, tell the FCC that your phone’s bootloader was sold to you locked and still is, even though it uses Block C (reag) frequencies.

Don’t worry.  The FCC said they’re committed to enforcing the open access provision.  We’ll see how fast Verizon turns things around.  If you know of any other devices that use frequencies between 746 and 757 MHz, and also 776 to 787 MHz, please send a message to me or any Portal News Writer.  Thanks.

 

UPDATE:  David Ruddock over at Android Police was kind enough to further explain the situation.  For those of you coming from his article, or who share his criticisms, this article is not erroneous or short-sighted.  David’s article does an excellent job of sobering us to how difficult the struggle will be to get the FCC to move.  The loophole Verizon will undoubtedly use to excuse their actions is in the phrase, “reasonable network management,” from paragraph (b)(1), though we don’t know that for sure because Verizon has never addressed the issue.  But David’s points do not invalidate this article for two reasons:

1) David’s assessment of the standards by which “reasonable network management” is determined are fairly simple, and I say fairly accurate.  Do the other major cellular providers use the same security and management standards?  Yes.  Okay, seems reasonable.  But locking bootloaders is not “reasonable” by the same standard.  Most carriers do not exact this method of network management.  Therefore, not necessarily reasonable.

2) The issue of Verizon’s double-standard concerning bootloaders is entirely ignored, even though this article began with it, and is based on it.  Verizon will supposedly defend locking bootloaders because rooting and flashing pose a threat to network security and management (which is debatable), and therefore reasonable to do.  However, they do not require the bootloaders to be locked on all their devices.  Samsung’s bootloaders are unlocked, including on phones like the Galaxy Nexus and the Samsung Droid Charge.  Why not allow HTC, Motorola, LG, etc. to unlock their devices?  This double-standard invalidates the “reasonable network management” defense.

These questions must be satisfied for Verizon to be within the law.

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