The plot thickens. Last week HTC kicked up a bit of a storm by announcing that the Desire wouldn't be getting an official Android 2.3 Gingerbread update due to memory constraints, saying there wasn't enough space on the phone for Gingerbread and HTC Sense. Then, 24 hours later the manufacturer responded to feedback from Desire owners and changed its mind, committing to delivering Gingerbread alongside a trimmed-down Sense UI.
Now Australian carrier Telstra has indicated it's willing to go even further to get Gingerbread onto its Desire handsets. On its software updates page, the network lists a HTC Desire Gingerbread update as due for release in August, with the following description --
"Due to the increased memory requirements of the ‘Gingerbread’ update, new software that does not include HTC’s Sense UI is being prepared."
So that means it'll be completely stock, vanilla Gingerbread that'll be offered to Telstra-branded Desire owners this August. If accurate, this is a pretty important development. It's also an acknowledgement that a significant minority of customers would be prepared to ditch the manufacturer's custom software to get their hands on the latest version of Android.
Because of the logistics of moving from a Sense ROM to stock Android, we think the update will be an optional one for Telstra customers, perhaps applied by using a RUU as opposed to the usual over-the-air upgrade. It remains to be seen whether other carriers will follow suit and decide to offer power users a way to leave Sense behind in favor of stock Gingerbread. Nevertheless, we'll be following this story with interest in the weeks ahead to see how things progress.