Still holding onto that HTC Windows Mobile phone? Love the hardware, but hate the OS? Well, you’re in luck, because the enterprising hackers over at XDAndroid.com have developed a version of Android 2.2 (Froyo) that you run from your SD card.
Currently, this version runs on the following HTC phones:
- Raphael (Touch Pro)
Getting Started With XDAndroid
To run XDANDROID, simply download the appropriate version of Android 2.2 (Froyo) for your phone to your computer, extract the files, and copy them to your phone’s sd card.
- Begin by starting Haret.exe from your file manager. Your phone will do a soft reset, and boot the XDANDROID operating system.
- The phone will then give you a non-intuitive calibration screen. Be quick when calibrating your screen, as it works on a timer. If you don’t calibrate quickly enough, your screen will be out of whack until you re-calibrate.
One caveat: If you have a CDMA phone, you may need to go into settings (Wireless/Mobile settings), to setup the data connection. Once that is done, you are ready to go. (If you get lost along the way, you can always consult XDAndroids more detailed install guide)
I have now been using this version of Android for approximately 2 weeks on my HTC Touch Pro, and in that time I have only found 1 showstopper, and a few annoyances.
When running, the operating system is very responsive, although the screen is very sensitive to movements. This can be a nuisance. For instance, many times I was trying to go to the main app screen by pressing the home icon, but with the slightest movement, the phone thought I was doing a swipe move to menu #2.
Using Android 2.2, the phone will sync with your Google account much better than Windows Mobile does with their system. The Email, Contacts and Calendar sync quickly, accurately, and without manual intervention. Plus, you will still have access to Hotmail, AOL, or any other internet mail via the browser, or built-in POP and IMAP client.
Using the GPS through Google maps works well, giving accurate and quick readings for your current location. In using the Google maps navigation feature, I found that the speech function to get your desired destination did not work. However, you can type in your location and use the text to speech function, which works well and clearly (after downloading the Text-to-speech app from the marketplace).
While XDANDROID does have a setting to select font size, the selection is not saved. The only time I find this annoying is for the Twitter application that comes with Android since it does not have a font setting.
While the Bluetooth does pair to the Bluetooth in my car, the audio does not work, so that it is not hands free. For some people, like myself, this may be a showstopper. Being able to use a hands free device is very important, so I reboot my phone back into Windows whenever I am in the car for an extended period of time. For all other purposes, I run Android 2.2 on my phone.
With the XDANDROID, the developers have made a first rate OS which, after a few bugs are resolved, will be able to stand on its own. While the current version is not perfect, it does work remarkably well. For those of us who like the HTC hardware that we have, or are still under contract, but want to use Android, this is a great alternative.