HTC, a Thaiwan based mobile instrument manufacturer has an excellent reputation of having state of the art technology hand sets in the market. 3G (4G not entered India yet) and GPS are the two main features any traveller would look in the present world of smart phone market. We tried their smart phone HTC Hero for our travel purpose especially, the GPS and 3G features.
Soon after having hands on, we came to know that the OS running in the phone is Android 1.5 and there is update available for the phone. HTC Hero was announced during mid of 2009. After nearly one year there is OS upgrade to Android 2.1 available. After searching in the internet for upgrading the OS, lot of information came up. We need to know the hardware and software versions of the phone. And also, there are several versions and models available for the same HTC Hero around the world. To our surprise, ours was T-Mobile G2 Touch model, German version. Other than the model we need to know the firmware version (available in setting, about phone), IMEI number (available in setting, about phone), serial number of the phone (available on the body of the instrument), build number (available in setting, about phone). One need to know these information for sure if HTC customer care help is required.
Before doing anything related to firmware upgrade, first visit the HTC website (htc.com). Don't forget to know the country from where the phone is purchased. One can take the help of HTC customer care (hotline tollfree number 18001033566) in this regard. The serial number and IMEI numbers are required to know the country of manufacture. Once the country is known, select the country first in HTC website. Our handset was a German handset. We had trouble in understanding German language but fortunately there was translation to English available in the site. Select the model as HTC Hero only (not Hero Android 2.1). Once it is selected, the upgrades available for the phone are listed. You won't find the Firmware upgrade in this list. You may find HTC Sync software and ROM upgrade software here. First download and install HTC Sync as per the instructions given in the site. Connect your handset and confirm that the communication is established and the synchronization takes place between phone and PC. We had trouble in syncing the phone to PC with Vista based system. We found that the software working fine with XP Service Pack-2 based system. Copy the installation file to the SD card of the phone and run from there. Copying of file is possible through mounting the SD card which is an option when phone is connected to PC. Once the SYNC works properly, you can sync the contacts of the phone with Windows address book.
Next step is to check for ROM upgrade software available in the same page for HTC Hero. Before downloading, confirm that the number (build number) shown in the website is higher than the number available in the phone. Download the file. Follow the instructions given in the site to install the ROM upgrade. Once done, you will find the new build number in the phone. In this state, your phone is ready to get the new Android 2.1 upgrade.
We didn't find any downloadable file to install and upgrade the Android to 2.1 from 1.5 in the HTC site. All the upgrades are available On The Air (OTA, also called Firmware On The Air, FOTA) only. Now the actual pain starts. We followed the steps explained below to upgrade the Android. It is very important to take back up of all the important data from phone like contacts, messages etc...
1. Switched off the phone. Keep pressing the HOME and BACK button, momentarily press the power button, phone goes for a reset, when prompted, press MENU button. With this, phone gets a hard ware reset.
2. Wait for the phone to reboot. After rebooting, reset the date using, MENU... Settings... Date and time. Set the date to 6th November 2010. When we did it, nothing happened. We waited for one day but of no use. Again, changed the year to 2011, still no result.
3. After the discussion with some techies and going through some forums, we came to know that the mobile provider connection is also matters. We changed our default SIM given by BSNL to Airtel. Again set the date to 11th November 2011. We switched ON the WiFi in the phone. Now, surprisingly, after few minutes, we got the notification informating that firmware update available. We accepted the upgrade and continued.
4. Initially it took very short time to download a file and asked for downloading one more file, we accepted. After the download, the phone got rebooted on its own. While rebooting we observed some installation process going ON. After rebooting, we got one more notification (third time) for upgrade and we accepted that too. It took nearly twenty minutes to download and the file was rechecked on its own. The phone got rebooted.
5. While rebooting it went once again for the installation. This time it took nearly 45 minutes to install. After the installation, the phone again rebooted and the initial screen G2 TOUCH T-MOBILE came. Strangely it got stopped there. Even after two hours of waiting, the screen didn't change. None of the keys worked. At this time, the battery was removed and reinserted. The phone was made ON. The phone got rebooted normally and a new screen saying HTC Quietly brilliant came which was not there earlier. It took quite some time to boot and initial screen came. We did the normal process of setting the language and etc... which we found in the earlier OS too.
6. After the initial screen, the brightness suddenly got decreased and a message appeared saying that HTC Sense is not responding. We got struck for a while and when the MENU button was pressed we got the option to Force close HTC sense application. After that we switched OFF the phone and left for a minute. Again rebooted the phone and this time it worked quite brilliantly. No hickups and crashings.
7. We got impressed with the new menus, user interfaces and additional options available with Android 2.1 which is named Eclair. All the operations found faster than the older Android 1.5 version. The screen response is improved and has multi touch facility. The difference between the two is quite more.
8. The SYNC software which was used earlier didn't work with the latest Android 2.1. We had to once again visit the German HTC website to download the HTC Hero Android 2.1 version of SYNC. This new application has much more features compared to the old one and is very user friendly. Syncing is possible with contacts, mails and calendar if one has Gmail account. Ofcourse the sync software didn't work with Windows Vista but worked quite good with Windows XP (service pack 2). You need to download Adobe air software from adobe website as instructed during the installation of SYNC with XP platform.
It took nearly 2-3 days to upgrade the OS. All the way, the support from HTC was great, the pain was worth every penny. They have a very good customer care support and excellent at communication. The benefits of upgrading to Android 2.1 are many. The additional features what users get is very impressive. The biggest advantage of upgrading is that, one need not have to change the instrument to a better one available in the market, saves money.
NOTE: Before doing any upgradation, it is very important to take all the required backups from the phone. Contacts can be backed up using Windows address book feature as the phone gets synchronized with this folder.