Android Central

After a little confusion earlier this month, it was eventually revealed that HTC wouldn't be updating the venerable Desire HD to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich after all. At the time, the manufacturer simply said that the current Gingerbread-based firmware "provides customers with the best experience" on the phone. Now HTC has elaborated a little on the specific technical issues keeping the DHD from getting an Android 4.0 update. Basically, the system partition of the phone isn't large enough to hold Sense and Ice Cream Sandwich, and HTC found the device's performance on ICS to be below-par anyway.

Here's the company's statement in full, which goes into a fair amount of detail about what's involved --

We’ve heard your feedback on our decision not to update the HTC Desire HD to Android 4.0. We completely understand that this is a controversial decision.

For more background, due to how storage on the HTC Desire HD is partitioned – and the larger size of Android 4.0 – it would require re-partitioning device storage and overwriting user data in order to install this update. While technically advanced users might find this solution acceptable, the majority of customers would not. We also considered ways to reduce the overall size of the software package, but this would impact features and functionality that customers are currently using. Even after installing the update, there were other technical limitations which we felt negatively impacted the user experience.

We believe an update should always improve the user experience and carefully evaluate each update based on this criteria. While we are very aware of the disappointment from this decision, we believe the impact to user experience was too great. We recognize this is a change from our previous statement and for that we’re truly sorry.

So that's that. Clearly there's no way HTC could have anticipated the hardware or partitioning requirements of ICS when designing the Desire HD in mid-2010, so it's the decision to cut the update is an understandable one. Nevertheless, we're sure custom ROM developers will still find a way to get ICS ROMs loaded onto the Desire HD's smaller partition setup. So if you're still rocking a DHD, the custom ROM route should still be open to you.

Source: HTC Blog

There are 23 comments

sebianoti says:

Been running ICS on my Desire HD all the way up until April when i got my One X, what they should do is release a kernel and the package itself for those who are willing to code, just to make ICS release more stable

soomuch says:

I agree. I've been running ICS on mine using "Ice Cold Sandwich ROM" and it ran better than the original Sense ROM that came on the phone. I even ran MIUI V4 based on ICS for a while and it still ran like a champ. Releasing the kernel and the drivers would be the best thing that HTC can do to allow the developer community take charge on bringing a flawless ROM to the Desire HD

l00natic71 says:

Looks like they have already done the work. They could release the source and let people compile/update on their own. Something smells fishy here.

randyw says:


deckoff says:

Cannot agree more - release the slice code, CyanogenMod folks know what to do with it. I use 7.2 CNM at the moment anyway. This is probably the best combo Atkins of usefulness, power and stock clearness. :-)

dcgore says:

HTC is classy!

Treknologist says:

So, the question becomes, does the TBolt have a large enough partition in its internal storage for ICS? It does have more space than the Desire HD, so I'm curious about this partition space.

The Desire HD has 1.5GB total. The HTC Thunderbolt 4G has 8GB total 4.5GB for OS and 3.5GB for Apps. So we should have plenty we have more then most the other devices that are planned to get an update including the HTC Amaze 4G which already has ICS this phone has only 2.5GB internal space.

Synycalwon says:

Storage differences aside, there is still the performance issue that HTC stated regarding their ICS testing on the Desire HD. Considering the Thunderbolt and Desire HD have the same amount of memory (768MB) and single core processor, I'd say it's a pretty thin line they're walking. ICS testing on the Thunderbolt could very well have the same result.

heathroi says:

They could give the people aospx ics. that works fine. (laughs)

joshua.worth says:

Release an ICS kernel HTC

TankMech says:

I think a code release would do great things for the rest not rock in stock sense. And since they didn't mention the tbolt I would have to assume that it is still being worked. I haven't had a stock from since the day I got my tbolt, so I could care less if thy can't figure it out, let Dec teams make it work..

Nosferatu524 says:

I don't own an HTC product but I can tell you if they remove sense and run vanilla android I bet they'd have enough room lol.

Incubus123 says:

Now i finally understand.. they would have to totally re-partition the device, basically wiping all user data to make it work.

Not if they swallowed their pride and didn't try to shove their fat sense where lean vanilla android should go. People buy android devices for ANDROID, sense can be nice, but it is not the reason I bought the phone. If sense is too fat, trim it, or give out the ICS kernel and RIL for aosp like someone who cares about their customers SHOULD DO...

This is why I will not buy anything but a nexus device from now on, google has realized companies put to much junk on the phone and tightened their policies with 4.0 and up; android doesn't need much to run. Don't believe me? Replace the stock interface with aosp, see if your phone isn't twice as fast..

rap1 says:

Kudo's to HTC for explaining it even if some don't agree or like it. It's better than just saying you don't get it. Those who don't care about loosing their data are probably comfortable running a custom rom anyway.

randyw says:

Does not matter what they say. I already ordered a Galaxy Nexus. Screw HTC.

Chocoburger says:

And this is why I'm sticking with Nexus forever. After my Verizon contract ends, going unlocked GSM Nexus for good!

Pirx73 says:

Excuse me?
Incredible S got ICS and it has 1.1GB internal storage which is a bit less than DHD have (1.5GB).

HTC just wants to force DHD users to upgrade their phones like NOW and not 3-4 months later on Xmas. Sorry to disappoint you HTC, you won't be the one to dictate to me when i should change my phone.
Google did not allow them to put that overbloated junk called Sense 3.6 on ICS - which is unlikely to believe because IncS update has Sense 3.6 which is more "heavy" than lightweight Sense 4 they put on their later phones. Nevertheless IncS received the update.

And i don't believe in this "Sense 4 needs dedicated hardware to run". One V which hardware-wise is essentialy the same as DHD, can run Sense 4, Desire C which is Wildfire and is considerably weaker than DHD comes with the Sense 4, and suddenly DHD can't? Give me a break...

Let this also serve as a warning to (currently) happy users of One series or people who think about buying One S or One X:
You could be dumped just the way we did and JellyBean might be the last update you receive.

I think Google should watch over phone makers a bit more closely otherwise we will soon face a situation when the only way to get a new Android version will be to buy a new phone (WinPhones anyone?). Does Google really want that?

mike.100 says:

I agree with everything you have said Pirx73 I will never buy anything HTC again. I dont think they realize how many customers are not just never getting another HTC product with them lying while they was still putting out the Desire HD on sale & contract. Its angered all those that have bought it with HTC giving false info to sell them. I think trading standereds should be informed of false information regarding sales. Its like being told your getting a new car & will be getting a service then after you are sold it along with how many there is dont. Its a scam!! Ile never trust HTC again. They should of stuck to windows phones. They cant keep up with Andriod upgrades.

Pirx73 says:

I would really appreciate if someone with a knowledge of Google phone building specs would came out and explain - how many differences regarding hardware requirements and system storage space there are between Android 2.3 and 4.0. Would be very helpful.

leaponover says:

I appreciate the candidness with HTC but I wish they would just flat out say that Sense and ICS are too hard to get to play well on the desire and there is no way we are getting rid of sense so you can't have ICS...