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.
September 13, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
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.
August 24, 2012 By: jerdog
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.
July 19, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
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:
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!]
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.
October 24, 2011 By: azrienoch
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.