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Upgrading HTC Desire HD to Cyanogenmod 7

2 October, 2011

The washing machine ate my iPhone..it was a sad and expensive day. One positive thing is that I did give me the opportunity/excuse to try out an Android device. After a bit of ebay scouting I found an unbranded (SIM free) HTC Desire HD, which I got for a decent price. Though not the latest HTC Android device, the Desire HD is a nice phone, although physically large due to the massive screen.  The only downside of the Desire kit is the poor 1200mah battery supplied. If you use the phone heavily you will only get a few hours out of it.  Fortunately another check of ebay uncovered third party 1800 mah batteries for about £8!  These are a huge improvement and the battery concern is sorted.

The Desire HD has everything you could want and to my mind, a bunch of iPhone beating features, like expandible storage via mini-SD card and a replaceable battery, it features all the other stuff that you would expect (multi-touch screen, GPS etc) and transferring data back and forth to a Mac or PC is so much more convienent than using iTunes. Simply tell the phone to connect to the PC/Mac and it will appear as a removable drive.   A nice feature is that you can tell the phone to charge only if you don’t want to transfer data so don’t need to eject it.

HTC supply their phones with some software enhancements (at least in their eyes) to the Android OS, known as HTC Sense. It’s basically extra features, apps (mainly geared around social networking) and some interface skinning. It’s all very pretty.

However, I’m one of those people that likes the bare minimum and then add what I want to add.  I also want full control of the device I am using. So after looking into things I decided to ‘root’ my new phone and install Cyanogenmod, a custom ROM which is closer to stock Android 2.3 (with some sensible concessions).  There are a numerous postings on the internet about how to root the phone and install a custom ROM, however I did not find a single one that worked (my ROM revision was much later than most of the postings). By combinining several threads, a bit of knowledge and doing some digging, mission was finally accomplished.

I now have an HTC desire HD just the way I like it.  To be fair to HTC, the whole process will be much easier on newer devices. HTC recognise that users may want to root their phones, the ROMS supplied on new devices now support this.  Shame other companies don’t actually listen to what their customers want.

I’ll post up the steps I took in the next post.

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