Rusty Russell's Coding Blog | Stealing From Smart People



Not Buying Another HTC

Sent back my HTC Magic for warranty repair (wouldn’t charge) and they upgraded firmware; I can’t install cyanogenmod on it any more, making it fairly useless to me.  I spent two days of my holiday time trying and failing the goldcard lottery.

I just dropped my other HTC Magic and shattered the glass, so I’m in the market for a new Android phone via ebay.  Given my phones only last about 6-12 months, any advice for older cyanogenmod-friendly phones?  Or should I just give in and pay $500 for a Samsung Galaxy S?

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15 Comments for Not Buying Another HTC

Chris | November 17, 2010 at 11:36 am

I just got (and rooted) an HTC Vision/T-Mobile G2; would recommend it if you can afford it.

Mikey | November 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm

It looks like the Nexus S (Samsung based Google dev phone) will be out before Christmas if you can hold out that long. Checkout Otherwise the one you mention is probably the best non-HTC phone around currently.

Michael K Johnson | November 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Like you, I chose not to buy another HTC device.

I don’t regret buying two Galaxy S phones (one for me, one for my wife). I would make the same decision again today — though if I were on T-mobile instead of AT&T I’d be tempted to hold out for the rumored Nexus S…

My complaints so far are typical for Galaxy S owners: GPS slow to lock on, compass is jittery and inaccurate (makes google skyview hard to use, for example), no Froyo shipped yet for my particular device (I miss voice commands from my previous phone, and I’d like my browser security fixes, please!), and the camera, while better than my previous phone, could be improved on.

I like that Samsung released source code, that it’s not locked down, that it’s thin and light, that the gorilla glass seems to work to avoid scratches, that battery life has been acceptable, and that it has reasonably capacious internal storage as well as a microSD slot.

All that said, Cyanogenmod support is not done yet; I wouldn’t buy it for Cyanogenmod support out of the box if that was my requirement. But then, most of phones listed as supported by Cyanogenmod right now are HTC phones, so…

Carl G | November 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I’m happy with our new HTC Desires – modded with cyanogen – though you may only be able to get them with Telstra (you are in Oz correct?)

Ferry | November 17, 2010 at 4:47 pm

I had an original Galaxy i7500 that received NO updates.

Samsung: NO OTA updates, software to use for updates is windows only and _complete_ crap, they are also extremely slow with updates. I think they will screw over their customers any time they can.

My brother has a Galaxy S and from what I saw Samsung completely “revamped” the UI, making it very non-functional for me at least.

I switched to HTC Desire and am happy with it. Maybe next time a normal Google phone but that was not possible when I switched.

Alex | November 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm

The only complaint about the Galaxy S my friends have made is the stock firmware uses Samsung’s own file-system which tends to hobble it a little. However it is a fine piece of hardware.

Like others I’m holding out for the next dev phone so I know it’s hackable from the start.

Author comment by rusty | November 17, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I don’t use carrier-supplied phones so I don’t expect OTA updates. I also use independent ROMs; took me a while to first get CyanogenMod installed, but I fell in love with the “bleeding edge” feeling. Reminded me of the “you may blow up your monitor” days of X configuration in my youth…

Anyway, the good news is that in researching whether various phones can be reflashed, I came across rageagainstthecage, which after three hours of exploration got me Cyanogenmod again on my HTC Magic 32A.

And a big fuck you to HTC for making me crack root on my own damn phone!

Anonymous | November 17, 2010 at 7:57 pm

How fundamentally do you want an Android phone, as opposed to any open Linux-powered phone?

Author comment by rusty | November 17, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Good question. Hmm, the mod community around android is what really attracts me.

Nicky De Maeyer | November 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm

If HTC will not Update Android for the Desire (from froyo to gingerbread) then that was my last HTC as well!

Bought a Wildfire for my GF and she’s got some small issues with the touchscreen…

Since they got really big in the consumer market, they have been doing nothing else but slacking off!

Ahmed Kamal | November 17, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Nexus-S ftw, hacker friendly phone

Ferry | November 17, 2010 at 8:49 pm

> And a big fuck you to HTC for making me crack root on my own damn phone!

In that case you should maybe go for a Nokia N900, root access from the start

BTW I also don’t have a carrier-supplied phone

Dag B | November 19, 2010 at 8:49 am

I would love to see some of the more known hackers have a Galaxy S. Thus getting more people with a clue behind the phone I have, I believe I saw a comment by Harald Welte indicating he had one as well. Anyways: CM is coming. In the meantime, 2.1 (JM8 + voodoo) provides 3+ days of runtime on a single charge. Far to many Froyo mods to choose from. I’ll wait and see a bit. Initial CM reports are promising.

zip | November 22, 2010 at 8:37 am

Don’t write off HTC there, others would likely do the same during service. What you need is to get a phone that is intentionally sold unlocked. A Nexus One today (available by signing up as a developer) or the rumored soon to be Nexus S are fine candidates for that.

Customer support wise I’d imagine HTC assumes installing the latest firmware when they lay their hands on a phone is doing both them and most customers a service.

Grant Diffey | May 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I’m now running the CM7 nightlys on my Galaxy S it’s super sweet.



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