HTC: Desire HD to stay on current software, no ICS update

After all the confusion surrounding the status of the HTC Desire HD's Android 4.0 update, we have confirmation from HTC that it's completed its analysis of the software and reached a decision. Unfortunately, it's disappointing news for Desire HD owners -- the manufacturer has decided not to update the phone to Ice Cream Sandwich, saying it has the best software experience possible for its hardware on the current Android 2.3/Sense 3 ROM.

Here's the company's statement in full --

"After extensive testing, HTC has determined that the current version of HTC Sense with Android provides customers with the best experience on the HTC Desire HD.  When we consider new versions of software, we weigh a number of factors, but ultimately the customer experience on the product is the deciding factor. We apologize for any confusion this change may have caused our customers."

So it's sad pandas all around this evening. It looks like Desire HD owners will need to rely on the custom ROM community if they want a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean. In any case, the device already has several unofficial Android 4.x ROMs available, so at least those brave enough to root won't be short of options.

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • As an operator of said 4.0 ICS custom ROM (aosp) (respec to the family's redemption) the only issue was with recording of video and playback. other than that runs very well has for months - root and get some ICS.
  • Been running aospX for months. Great rom but we still need the ICS Kernel to finish it up. So does all the other ICS roms. I will never own a HTC product again.
  • I would. but its not going to be the One series, Htc will redeem themselves if they release the kernel - and after being on aosp rom for over a year its going to be rooted and sense and bloat dismissed.
  • I can understand why they went this route - the hardware really isn't up to par for the best experience. Does it work? Sure. Does it work well? Not so much. I have ICS on my ancient Droid Incredible (original, not S or 2) and while it works, its not the best experience.
  • Look at your phones people...
    How long ago was it released before you bought it?
    What OS was it running? These are the questions you need to ask yourself before you buy a Android phone. Why, you ask? Because you should only expect one major update during the term of your two year contract. How did Google say it, support for 18 months since a phone's release. Buy a phone, get an update. Want another update? Buy a new phone that has the new update and you get the update after that one too.
  • The hardware is up to the task of running ICS, HTC have already decided this by releasing it for the Incredible S and Desire S, which are the same, barring screen size. Also bare in mind that the Desire C exists... This decision is financial, nothing more.
  • NO ICS FOR YOU! Time to upgrade people.
  • Tell that to the people with the Nexus S they're going to have Jelly Bean while newer faster phones won't have it till another 6+ months
  • So I guess that includes the thunderbolt too. If they don't plan on releasing it , they can at least release the ril for the dev community.
  • The Thunderbolt may not be in the same boat as it has a different snapdragon processor than the desire hd, the thunderbolt has the same processor as the Incredible S and Desire S.
  • The Desire HD, Desire S, Incredible S, Mytouch 4G, and G2 all have the Snapdragon 8255, the Thunderbolt has the 8655. The ONLY difference between these chips are the radio/network support. So if HTC is telling the truth that means the same logic would hold true for the Thunderbolt. Honestly anyone that bought a Thunderbolt has no one to blame but themselves for buying a phone that was 8 month old technology with a version 1 LTE radio that drank battery juice for breakfast slapped onto it.
  • Hey HTC: Your phone can work just fine without sense.. I will never buy another HTC phone ever again. They're not updating fairly young phones. They took forever updating a year old phone (3D), and screwed up a good phone at launch with horrible software (EVO LTE/ONE X)
  • LOL, everything you just described is exactly how I felt about Samsung and my Droid Charge. Samsung released an overpriced phone, with sluggish, buggy Froyo, almost 6 months after Gingerbread was released. We had to wait 7.5 months for the official Gingerbread update, and then after that the phone was just scrapped. What an insult to your customers. So while you may never buy another HTC phone again, I will not be buying another Samsung phone again.
  • Well in truth I probably would never buy either :) What I will do is stick to nexus-only devices (nexus one was my first, and I'm spoiled). I didn't get the Galaxy Nexus because I already had a crap camera on the EVO 3D, I figured I wanted an upgrade.. Too bad the EVO LTE got ruined by HTC's sense. And now another phone that can handle ICS just fine (Even the Nexus S can) doesn't get it because of a bloated skin.
  • AOSPX runs very well on the Inspire 4G.
  • And this is why Google needs to get in the hardware business. You can bet that any phone Google makes will always have the latest and greatest flavor. Im sure if there were no carrier involvement, i.e. bloatware and carrier branding, than the update probably would have worked no problem, minus a few bugs that could be fixed with a future OTA update. Just sayin...
  • I think you may have missed something along the way...
  • Haha Im sure the Galaxy Nexus is a great phone, especially with the Jellybean update. I just think it would be cool if Google utilized the Motorola merger to create their own hardware. But I'm sure they don't want to alienate the other Android OEMs...
  • I think HTC should read this
  • To be fair, the nexus S will run pure vanilla android without bloat, on the other hand, the Desire HD/Inspire 4G will be running android loaded with cancer (AKA HTC Sense)
  • I lol'ed at cancer haha
  • Also on the other hand... These HTC devices have a slightly beefier processor and 256mb more RAM than the Nexus S (768mb v. 512mb). No excuses for not updating to at least ICS.
  • Complete and total crap. So long HTC.
  • HTC YOU SUCK! Nexus's for all!
  • It sucks for people who have The Desire but to HTC's defense at least they had the decency to give people a heads up instead of having them wait and wait and wait. If you want ICS on it then I suggest you root it and get an ICS rom from XDA.
  • Then what HTC NEEDS to do is this: It's obvious they have ICS for the Desires. Release the source. That way if people want to muck around with it, they can at least have the source/drivers for their phone.
  • I love HTC build quality, but I'm really re-thinking my future with them after this move. The DHD/Inspire4G is perfectly capable of running ICS, and I've had mine doing so for several months now (aospX works great). The only problem is the camera which has a few issues and will continue to be a hack job until HTC releases the source code, which probably won't ever happen now. HTC, you just pissed off a lot of people for no good reason. I think I'll be going back to Nexus phones after this.
  • ...So you're already running ICS but you're going to boycott the manufacturer for not releasing ICS? Forgive me, I seem to have missed the logic here.
  • I never said I was going to boycott their phones, I said I was going back to Nexus phones. HTC did make the Nexus One, and it isn't an impossibility that they might make another Nexus phone in the future (although it is pretty unlikely). If you read my comment, you'd realize that the camera barely works because we don't have the full source code for ICS on this phone. It works *kinda* at this point because people have figured out ways to make it work, but if you look the code that runs every time the camera is opened up it's full of errors. If HTC released their official update with the new kernel source, the XDA community could pull it apart, take the pieces that they need and make the current batch of ICS ROMs even faster and more stable. If you look at XDA pretty much every ICS build is either an alpha, beta or preview build. I have ICS on my phone because I was willing to take the time to make a gold card and follow the relatively in-depth process of rooting and putting a custom recovery on my Inspire 4G. Most people aren't willing to put in that kind of effort and they're the ones who are really screwed here, especially since their phones are PERFECTLY CAPABLE of running ICS. If the Thunderbolt and the Desire S are on the official list, so should the DHD/Inspire4G since they're running basically the same chip with the same screen resolution.
  • He's boycotting the fact that he (and possibly others) have to turn to the Developer Community for the most up to date versions of software because the OEMs like to drag their feet with updates. Its nice to be able to run ICS roms on your phone if the OEM won't release a sanctioned version, but many times a factory sanctioned OTA is more stable than turning to a rom. I know, he's still complaining for something he already has lol =P
  • I will never again purchase an HTC product, unless it is a Nexus device assured of updates. I have an HTC phone that was released less than a year ago, has the same hardware as the Sensation XL, is definitely not a low-end, low-powered device. But HTC and T-Mobile have abandoned it on Gingerbread 2.3.4 and won't release kernel code or drivers so the available ICS roms just, frankly, suck, because many functions are just not working and won't work correctly. FU HTC.
  • Do half the people raging even have Desire HDs or are the Samsung trolls out in force? xD That said, I don't think there's much of an excuse for not updating the DHD. The hardware is identical to the Incredible S (minus a slightly larger screen and no FFC) so unless it's a Face Unlock problem... Also remember the furore with the Desire GB update: HTC said no, the community shouted at them, they reached a compromise which is better than nothing. Don't give up hope just yet :)
  • *** EDIT *** IGNORE THIS REPLY, I MIXED UP THE DHD WITH THE DHD2, SORRY... I can agree that this was a bad move by HTC but you forgot one major difference between the DHD and Incredible S, the amount of RAM!
  • I have 3d I don't think my phone will be upgraded to Jelly Bean its just a year old phone. I know they said it will get ICS but until I see I won't believe it. This is my 1st android phone and boy it was a good lesson to stay away from HTC.
  • Well, stay away from Samsung and Motorola too, then. Because they do the same stuff. Oh, probably Sony too.
  • Yea stay away from Samsung that way you won't get a Nexus which is always guaranteed an update ( unless you're on Verizon/Sprint cause then you're screwed..)
  • Its a lesson for us all that bought a HTC phone. I bought a Desire HD we was promissed andriod 4.0 ICS they kept lying to us too. HTC are a company heading for more losses in a bigger way than they know. I myself will get word out about this using every means :) customers dont sit quite use your brill hard earned cash on a phone that gets more than 1 upgrade in its life buy elsewhere & get the word out dont buy HTC :)
  • Pathetic. How is the One V/Desire C running Sense 4.0 and ICS?
  • I have a Desire HD on T-Mobile UK and am satisfied with the Sense UX. What am I missing by not getting the ICS upgrade? Would it make features on the phone work better or faster?
  • I encourage every HTC Desire HD/Inspire 4G/Ace user to sign the petition which asks the manufacturer for the proprietary drivers: or I would also appreciate if non-owners would sign it too. Thank you.
  • go nexus people!
  • I've currently got a Inspire 4G and would have loved for HTC to release this, not that I would run the official update from HTC but for the sake of the developer community. I've run Ice Cold Sandwich and aospX and both are great roms. I totally understand why HTC and other manufactures aren't releasing ICS for older phones; that's why I'll be making my next android device a nexus.
  • Yep I'm pretty much done with HTC phones. My Thunderbolt most likely won't get ICS. I just wish they would release code for it to be used on Verizon with the number of roms out there that run but just lack good radios.
  • My Rezound better.... Very soon too.
  • I will never buy anything HTC they could of at least give the desire HD Adriod 4.0 ICS its all about costs. It dont matter to HTC the money we have spent on this 18 month old phone. I feel sorry for people thats bought it latley with HTC making promises to giving 4.0 ICS. Just shows what a lazy greedy company they are as we all know the ICS works well on it. There profits show a loss this year that will be down to the original Desire owers jumping ship. There upsetting alot of customers. My contracts ended ive got my sim card on a roll over why i wait to see what apple have to offer the iso is cool as andriod sucks on HTC if i stay on adriod though it will be Nexus never again HTC ide be supprized if any HTC DHD owners buy from you again. Bye, Bye HTC im looking forward to seeing you go bust :)
  • Stop complaining, buy a new phone.
  • All may not be lost! HTC told me that SENSE wouldn't be updated to 3.6 and never mentioned ICS itself, I pushed them for an answer and they emailed me: Thank you for providing me with the additional details to enable me to resolve your enquiry. In answer to your query, we have not been made aware of any official statement as of yet informing us of the full cancellation to the HTC Desire HD Android 4.0 update.
    Because of this I am unable to comment on your query yet until an official statement has been released.
    I apologise for any inconvenience caused. For the latest news releases Please go to Our official HTC website,
  • Just do what Desire HD owners are doing stop listening to HTC bye time to keep cashing in on there one series. Make sure us angry customers jump ship to a company who delivers what they say. A nexus is a correct way forward for andriod. Or Apple iphone iso. Even Samsung gallaxy s3 but myself & other let down cheated Desire HD owners have had enough of waiting for what has been said by them they have cancelled ics on the Desire HD. So the correct way is to boycott HTC. To pay £500 for a Desire HD that HTC made such a big thing about then 18 months after getting there sales cancel there andriod upgrade they promissed shows how bad a company they are. They cancelled there new tablet adriod updates to due to lack of sales what does that mean to them who spent there hard earned cash on there products. The one series is another flop HTC are loosing customers fast they only care about new lines of phones then before you know it they dump you. Wake up smell the coffee HTC lie there trying to account for there proffit losses this year it will continue there losses as us customers jump ship & get the word out dont buy HTC its that simple :)
  • DHD is the best phone in Its time,
    smoothly running ICS is the prove of it.
    At least release the source code..,
    Is it too much for HTC? No one would buy another >$500 phone just to get ICS on one X, so..
    Don't be evil HTC. For those DHD owners who want a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich,
    root the phone and go to XDA dev, searching for AOKP,
    that's the most stable ICS ROM for DHD,
    and much.. much smoother than HTC gingerbread.
  • im so pissed to know all of this.i just knew this...i keep on checking to update software...but..yrghhh i wanna throw this phone seriously.after that id rayher buy phone5 which is more better than this dhd.... i dont want this fucking htc so done.
  • HTC DESIRE HD USER WERE ALL PISSED. YOU SUCKKKKKKKKKKKKK...IM FUCKED UP,REGRET,AND MAD. JENFJSBAKAJDIFHRHSKQKDOSJWUFISJQKSBCISW THANKS! AND FAREWELL TO DHD, IM GOING TO VOMIT ON THIS DHD, KILL IT, SINK IT IN THE HOT WATER, AND BURN IT.AND offense but..... youll know how it feels like when youre the user and im just here watching people's htc uptodate to ics...fuckkkmahn. lazy company you better solve this...