January 10, 2012 By: liwen
HTC has updated its bootloader unlock database with a few more devices, this time the Desire HD and additional Desire and Wildfire models.
Of course, HTC announced two weeks ago that all phones launched after September 2011 are unlock-able, and seems to be making pretty good progress on older models as well. The Desire, Wildfire, Wildfire S and two more devices were added just a few days ago.
So, keep it up, HTC, and Motorola better follow along.
Oh HTC, the company without which this site would not have existed. Since early 2010, HTC’s sales have continually risen, but that growth has now come to an end. The Taiwanese smartphone maker reported Q4 profits of $364 million, which is 26 percent lower than the same timeframe in 2010 and a massive 41 percent lower than Q3 2011.
Just to give you a graphical overview of what this means, here’s a chart by Reuters:
As you can see, HTC’s profits have dramatically risen from Q1 2010 till Q3 2011, but now fallen to the level of 2010′s third quarter. In fact, HTC predicted this drop back in October, as we noted in our year-end article, citing the launch of the iPhone 4S. But – the smartphone market is still growing (and will continue to grow for a while), and Samsung reported a record quarter.
So, what led to these results? I believe it to be a lack of vision.
While Samsung is focused on bringing out one flagship device each year (not counting the last two Nexus phones), centering around the Galaxy brand, HTC seems to toss out new high-end devices every few months, with apparently no strategy behind. Case in point: The HTC Sensation. It was released in the second quarter last year as HTC’s flagship device, but a few months later, after the acquisition of Beats Audio, HTC released the slightly improved Sensation XE with a faster processor. Fair enough – the difference was minor. But then came the Sensation XL in October, and, while it was newer and had a bigger screen, it actually had a slower processor, and lower resolution. And now you want to get the best HTC device. But which one is it?
Sure, you could argue that it’s all about choice. But what kind of choice is that: higher resolution and faster processor on the one hand, bigger screen on the other? What if I want both?
No, it certainly was not about choice. The Sensation XL was essentially an Android version of the HTC Titan, one of its second-gen Windows Phones, and HTC simply re-used its design – Microsoft’s operating doesn’t support dual-core processors and higher-than-WVGA resolution yet, which explains the curious specs – to quickly get out a new phone, without meaningfully differentiating it from its other offerings. That doesn’t work.
Maybe HTC became greedy, too fixated on short-term profits, which is why it feels the need to release a new flagship device every month or so. There are 720p screens now? Okay, launch a phone with that. Screw engineering, industrial design – oh, it’s 13mm thick, feels like a brick? Who cares, let’s get this out. But just on Verizon, and lock the bootloader, so we don’t have to deal with those kids – and what do we call it? Rezound sounds… ugh. But who cares, nobody will remember that name in two years anyway.
Some quick cash, yeah, but no viable long-term strategy. That was okay when HTC didn’t sell smartphones under its own brand, but not anymore. And HTC knows that – they knew that as early as 2008, when they launched the Touch Diamond and Touch Pro, and later the Touch HD. Three different products, but clearly distinct – one is small and stylish, one has a keyboard, and one has a big screen. Choose yours, it’s that easy.
The same continued with the Touch Diamond2, Pro2 and HD2. And eventually, there’d be a stylish Legend and powerful Desire. Or a low-end Wildfire S, mid-range Desire S and high-end Incredible S. Or was the Desire HD the high-end one? Its screen was bigger, but it was older. Oh wait – it already happened. Too many models, too many confusing names, but no direction.
While it’s no problem to re-use existing designs, they have to be good. The problem with HTC is that, while they do have a strong design language, it’s ruined by the execution. There are so many different devices, and all of them look similar but still have small, insignificant differences – a different shade of brown here, a slightly modified earpiece there, and another pattern on the back. Again, those small differences add absolutely no value to the consumer – you can’t mix and match everything. Instead, you’re stuck with a plethora of different devices, pseudo-choices, none of which are as good as just that one Galaxy S. Or S II. Or heck, iPhone.
It’s really that simple. If you want to bring out a new device, try to make it perfect. If you can’t, then don’t, and wait a year till you can make another perfect device, instead of releasing something half-baked.
HTC knows how to do that. They just forgot.
January 6, 2012 By: azrienoch
Following their move to unlock all bootloaders on phones released after September 2011, HTC announced today that the HTC Wildfire S, Wildfire, Desire, Merge, and A315c (a Wildfire CDMA variant) joined the official list. It looks like all the devices they added right after Christmas are on the list as well.
The dropdown menu of supported devices on HTCDev’s bootloader page changed formats as well. Now included, at the very bottom of the list, is an All Other Supported Models option. That is for all future models, because eventually HTC won’t have that list there. You’ll also notice asterisks by some devices in the list. HTCDev explains,
In certain cases you may be required to install an RUU first in order to go through the unlock process. These devices are indicated with an asterisk in the list below.
There are added steps for those devices because you’re updating HBOOT. Head over to HTCDev.com and try it out.
As they say, the real fun doesn’t start until your device gets root and s-off and that’s certainly the case with the HTC Jetstream. The device got root just a couple days ago and the modders and developers have gone to work making the already great device even greater.
XDA Senior Member Giblet-dono has drawn up a quick tutorial that will give your HTC Jetstream the ability to make and receive phone calls over a 3g GSM network. According to Giblet-dono, all you need to get started is:
S-Off (get yours from HTCDev soon!)
Root (get yours from DoomLord)
That seems like a very short and easy list of pre-requisites. Based on the instructions, it seems just as easy as editing your build.prop file which doesn’t carry a whole lot of risk, so if this sounds like you’d like to try out then head on over to the original thread for the full instructions.
Additionally, Giblet-dono is also working on making messaging work and the up-to-date troubleshooting for it is going on right now in the same thread. It won’t be long until you can use your Jetstream as a fully functional phone. A very large, very awesome phone.
I made a mistake. A few days ago I reported that, with a slew of new kernel source codes posted on HTCdev, HTC is now GPL compliant. That wasn’t true. I found out after saying it again on XDA TV. On Twitter, @gu1dry said,
That was true. Somehow, I overlooked the HTC Kingdom (HTC EVO Design 4G and HTC Hero S) when making my list of HTC’s non-GPL-compliant devices.
I don’t like being wrong. And it looks like HTC doesn’t like it when I’m wrong, either. Things get messy, or something. So HTC fast-tracked the release of the Kingdom kernel source code. It’s available on the HTCdev website. So now, HTC is mostly GPL-compliant.
I was also reminded of the fact that GPL compliance means making an Android kernel source code available as soon as the Android device releases. HTC has yet to do that. Once they get a system in place to make that happen, they’ll be GPL-compliant. I’m sure that with all the recent successes at HTCDev, we’ll see this soon. Looking forward to it. For now, being up to date with all the Android devices on shelves is definitely a victory for everyone.
Today, Peter Chou makes good on his word to no longer lock the bootloaders on HTC Android phones. Just in time for those New Year’s Resolutions.
XDA Junior Member nightwings noticed, when trying out HTCDev’s bootloader unlocking tool on his HTC Rezound, his bootloader was successfully unlocked. Similar reports came in on the HTC Vivid forum, even though neither were named on HTCDev.com’s list of supported devices.
And it’s bigger than just the HTC Rezound and Vivid. I just tried out the tool on the HTC Rhyme. I asked RussellHolly to try it on his HTC Thunderbolt. We now both have unlocked bootloaders. With the backing of an unnamed source at HTC, I feel comfortable going out on a limb to say at least every device released after HTCDev launched is now supported by their bootloader unlocking tool. Scratch that, HTCDev just posted this:
All HTC Android devices launched after September 2011 are unlockable. The website will be updated accordingly to reflect this in the coming weeks. We continue to work on models launched prior to September 2011, please check back often for the status of older devices.
For now, head over to HTCDev to unlock your device. If you find that your device doesn’t unlock, let us know so we can get a clear picture of how far the unlocking goes.
Congratulations to all persistent consumers who knew what they wanted. And congratulations to HTC and HTCDev for making it happen. We know it wasn’t easy.
December 23, 2011 By: Jase Glenn
Do you own a new HTC device? Is your device bootloader locked? For most of us to obtain root, using the HTC method of unlocking is tiresome. Go here, input this command, copy this, push that, and all to let HTC know that you want to void your warranty.
Until now that is.
Say hello to the latest creation from XDA developer: frigid. Known as HTC Super Tool v2, this bad boy roots a number of devices according to frigid, including:
Evo Design 4g
And a lot more if it works for your device either post here or PM me and I will add to the list!
For right now there is no functioning S-OFF, but it’s in the works, so head on over to the thread here and show your unrooted HTC device some love.
S-OFF. Those five characters represent the world to power users. They represent the ability to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without the OEM holding you down.
For many a GSM EVO 3D user, those few characters seemed unattainable. HTC had locked the HBOOT and downgrading seemed impossible. As the months passed, hope seemed lost…
Fortunately for them, a clever chap by the name of navrasis refused to give in. After much research he cracked the code, err…blocks in this case. You see with a little creativity (and a hex editor) he managed to beat the system. See for yourself here.
A word of caution though, this mod is not for the faint of heart. Any time you mess with things on such a low level, you take a chance of bricking your device.
So rejoice EVO 3D users: you won.
Here’s the list:
- Desire S (Europe, HTC Asia India, HTC TUR, Bouygues FR, HTC Arabic)
- Flyer (HTC WWE Honeycomb update)
- Explorer (HTC Asia HK CHT, HTC Asia WWE, HTC Asia SEA WWE, Orange UK)
- Sensation (T-Mobile US)
- Incredible S (HTC WWE, HTC TUR, BrightStar SPA)
- Droid Incredible (Verizon WWE)
- Vivid 4G (ATT WWE)
- Salsa (HTC Europe)
- Desire (Gingerbread update)
Congratulations to HTC and HTCdev. And to all these devices, welcome to the open source community.
The US International Trade Commission made the decision that HTC has in fact infringed on one of Apple’s patents. This was one of four reviewed, two of which were preliminarily found to infringe back in July. As FOSSpatents put it, “this ruling falls far short of anything [that] would force HTC out of the U.S. market in the near term.”
Apple, not one to license its technology, sought to ban the import of all infringing devices. HTC devices running Android 1.3 Cupcake to 2.2 Froyo, which includes devices such as the EVO 4G, Droid Incredible, and G2, will not be allowed to cross US borders on 19 April 2012. That is, in the form they’re in now. HTC’s public statement read,
“We are gratified that the Commission affirmed the judge’s initial determination on the ‘721 and ‘983 patents, and reversed its decision on the ‘263 patent and partially on the ‘647 patent. We are very pleased with the determination and we respect it. However, the ‘647 patent is a small UI experience and HTC will completely remove it from all of our phones soon.”
I asked Jeff Gordon, HTC’s Online Communications Manager, if he had anything to add. ”This is pretty straightforward,” he said, “We have workarounds all ready and will be completely removing the small UI element. Believe me, we have bigger fish to fry than this.”
We should see that update, rather predictably, before 19 April.
December 14, the deadline Senator Al Franken gave to answer his questions about Carrier IQ, came and went. Now the responses are public. Franken also questioned FBI director Robert Mueller in the Senate Judiciary Committee about the FBI’s collection of information specifically obtained from Carrier IQ’s software. Thankfully, Franken was not satisfied by the answers he received in either inquiry. From Franken’s press release, which includes companies’ responses,
“I appreciate the responses I received, but I’m still very troubled by what’s going on,” said Sen. Franken. “People have a fundamental right to control their private information. After reading the companies’ responses, I’m still concerned that this right is not being respected. The average user of any device equipped with Carrier IQ software has no way of knowing that this software is running, what information it is getting, and who it is giving it to—and that’s a problem.”
There’s a big problem of specificity in how the media reported Trevor Eckhart’s (XDA Recognized Developer, TrevE’s) research. And now, anyone who wants the issue minimized is exploiting that lack of specification of what people mean when they say “Carrier IQ” to avoid saying anything damning. For example, look for the clarity in Mueller’s initial response, where the FBI “neither sought nor obtained any information from Carrier IQ”–the company–in this video:
When Franken pressed on, trying to clarify the question, it was abundantly obvious how unpracticed Mueller was at using “Carrier IQ“ to mean the software. Of course, the assertion that the FBI never sought information from Carrier IQ, the company, isn’t true. Andrew Coward, Carrier IQ’s VP of Marketing, told The Associated Press that the FBI is the only law enforcement agency to contact them for data. It’s a discrepancy that will probably be excused by the semantic ambiguities of “sought”.
The EFF posted an article about the lack of clarity in reporting about Carrier IQ, identifying four different meanings of “Carrier IQ”. It should be standard reading for anyone making inquiries into the Carrier IQ issue. I personally feel that Carrier IQ themselves are responsible for much of the confusion. Instead of giving words like “IQ Agent”, which is their software’s name, they gave words like “metrics” and “profile”, which require a working understanding of their software. Eyes glaze over as people read technical explanations, and they give up, deciding to just say, “Carrier IQ”.
Responsibility is perpetually deferred using this ambiguity. Carrier IQ says the data belongs to the carriers. The carriers have the software installed by the manufacturers. The manufacturers say they’re simply following instructions from the carriers. The carriers say the data is aggregated by Carrier IQ. Carrier IQ says they send the data to the carriers. Nobody shares the information with anyone else. And the FBI never sought or obtained information from Carrier IQ. Except they did. And they didn’t. Maybe.
Examine Sprint’s response to Franken’s seventh question, “Has your company disclosed this data to federal or state law enforcement?”
Sprint has not disclosed Carrier IQ data to federal or state law enforcement.
The ambiguity even here is dangerous. Does this response mean they don’t share data collected by the software on individual phones? Does it mean they don’t share the aggregated data from Carrier IQ, the company? Does it mean they don’t share the kind of data collected by IQ Agent? Does it mean they don’t tell law enforcement what they know about Carrier IQ, the company?
Franken has every reason to be dissatisfied with these answers. I implore members of the media and their readers to do their part in clarifying the issue in their articles, and by demanding clarifications in their interviews.
December 4, 2011 By: orb3000
You may be aware of this case, but for those who are not, since 2009 a court in Germany started a complaint vs HTC regarding IPCom patent litigation seeking to ban sales of HTC 3G devices in Germany. Now two years after all started HTC Corporation issues an official statement:
To clarify reports regarding IPCom patent litigation on the Commercial Times (Taiwan), Economic Daily News, etc. on November 27, 2011
On November 25, 2011, HTC withdrew its appeal in the IPCom EP1186189 case, finding that the appeal had become redundant since the German Federal Patent Court had previously held the relevant claim of the patent to be invalid. IPCom’s original injunction covered only one HTC handset, which is now no longer sold in Germany. Furthermore, HTC has modified its implementation of the UMTS standards, so even in the unlikely case that the Mannheim court reinstates an injunction, it will have no impact on HTC’s sales in Germany. HTC hereby clarifies that this does not have any impact on HTC business in Germany.
In short, our German friends shouldn’t have anything to worry about as HTC devices sales won’t be affected at all. Great news for those planning on grabbing a shiny new Sensation XE for Christmas, we suppose.
You can read more about on the source link.
This article intends to extrapolate the implications of egzthunder1’s article on Carrier IQ, and to comment on the responses by Carrier IQ, HTC, and Sprint, given in Russell Holly’s article on Geek.com.
The point–short, sweet, and at the beginning of the article–is that we do not get to choose whether this information is collected. Or who sees it. Authorized employees only? Marketing and polling firms? Law enforcement? All rhetorical questions, because we don’t know.
To be clear, the “information” I’m talking about are the Android intents logged by Carrier IQ, discovered by TrevE, which include your location, when you open an app and what app you open, what media you play and when you play it, when you receive an SMS, when you receive a call, when your screen turns off or on, and what keys you press in your phone dialer.
Assuming the best, these companies want to know every detail about you so that they can update services to bring you the best products possible. Note, however, that there is no log to show that the best product possible is one in which data about me is not collected.
If this data collection means little to you, think about this: If Google’s vision of Android@Home comes true, these companies will know when you eat, when you sleep, when your house is empty. They will know when you buy food by your refrigerator temperature, when and how you cook that food, and when you wash the dishes. They will know how long you spend in each room of your house, based on when you flip the light switch. And so on. That’s only the uses Google presented at Google I/O 2011.
Nevermind the very real possibility of exploits that would give criminals all this information. And still assuming the best, it’s not that we think Sprint employees would rob us based on all that information. The question is, who needs information like that, anyway? And who needs all the information currently gathered? Nobody with good intentions. While each of these companies may have good intentions, that’s still the impression. It’s also not that I think I, personally, would be incriminated by that data. It’s simply my life. Mine. No company has any excuse for stealing that. No matter the reason.
So I find it interesting that each company’s response blames someone else as an excuse for our data being collected. Carrier IQ says they provide a service that collects data, and what is done with that data is up to the manufacturers and carriers. HTC says they put it on their phones because the carriers tell them to. Sprint says it’s on their phones because we, their customers, obligate them to do so. And if there’s one certainty in any blame game, it’s that blame is used to minimize your own guilt.
Carrier IQ, you sound like J. Robert Oppenheimer on the day Hiroshima was bombed. HTC, if you refused to let it on your phones, you may get less money from carriers, but at least you won’t betray the people who want so desperately to fall in love with your work. (Though, based on your implementation of HTCLogger and TellHTC, I doubt you have the heartstrings to pull.) And Sprint, do not blame us. Not when you don’t give us the option to opt out. We gave you no obligation, because we gave you no permission.
Here is a list of options you have to begin regaining our trust, in order from most to least acceptable:
1) Discontinue automatic data collection and publicly apologize for abusing your customers.
2) Give us full–and I mean full–development access to our devices, including proprietary source codes, so we may offer people the best alternatives to your invasion of privacy.
3) Publicly disclose every single customer you sold our information to, what you sold them, and give us the names and business addresses of every person with access, current or past, to your Carrier IQ Portal.
4) Publicly disclose all the information gathered, in detail, and explain the exact methods used to keep our data anonymous. Oh, and make it anonymous, whether we opt in or not.*
5) Adopt a policy that allows anyone who cites privacy concerns to terminate their contract, no matter how far they are into the contract term, without any fees or payments outside what is owed up to that point.
*This won’t really score any brownie points with us. It’s simply the bare minimum of what you should be doing already, and are not. Don’t bother pointing at the fine print on the service and purchase agreements. I found my grandfather’s magnifying glass to read it. You didn’t list all the information you gather, let alone in detail. Nor did you explain your methods for keeping the information anonymous. And based on the training manuals downloaded from the Carrier IQ site, “anonymous” simply isn’t the word for it. Not even you should know whose data it is.