Last week I was challenged to install Android Ice Cream Sandwich on the HTC HD2 in as little time as possible. The reason? It was my client’s lunch hour; she was sick of Windows Mobile and she wanted to play Angry Birds. The request came as no surprise; the setup and installation time for Android on the HP TouchPad is easily inside 30 minutes (probably within 10 for the actual installation) so I happily accepted the challenge.
For those of you who don’t know, the HTC HD2 is something of a superphone. While strictly “last gen” in terms of hardware (single core, albeit 1 GHz) the device is capable of running a bafflingly large array of operating systems from its native Windows Mobile 6.5 to Android, taking in Windows Phone 7, Ubuntu and MeeGo along the way (as well as a few older versions of Windows…).
While you won’t get top-end performance out of this device (first released in 2009) you will certainly get a good experience of Android 4.0 from it. What’s more, installation is fast!
Getting Started: Preparation
Before starting: flashing a new ROM to your HTC Leo/HTC HD2 will result in the warranty being voided; there is also a chance that the ROM will fail and the phone will be bricked. As a result, follow all steps carefully, but be aware that we cannot take any responsibility for any damage that occurs to you or your device. Additionally, the steps shown are for the standard 512MB version.
In order to perform this installation and get your HTC HD2 installed with the latest version of Android, you’ll first need to take steps to backup your data using any available means. We’re approaching this task as if you’re running Windows Mobile 6.5 on the device (although if you’re already using Android on your HTC HD2 this approach can also be used), so take advantage of your USB cable to copy data to your PC or download a tool from sites such as FreewarePocketPC that will archive your contacts and save them to your memory card.
Once this is done, make sure your phone is fully charged, the USB cable works, you have a microSD card ready to use and you have downloaded the following files.
These files should be saved to the same folder and the first two unzipped into their own individual folders. Don’t unzip the ROM download.
The next step is to restart your phone, which is best done by removing the battery, counting to three and then replacing it. Power up, holding the volume down button; a new screen three-coloured “tricolor” screen should appear on your phone. If your phone is connected to your computer already, the legend “USB” will appear at the foot of the screen; if not, it should read “Serial”, so connect your USB cable.
You’re now ready to proceed.
Configuring Your Device For Installing Android
In order to prepare your device fully, you will need to update the SPL version on your phone.
This can be checked via the tricolor screen which should currently be displayed on your device. The second line should display the current SPL version – you need this to be: SPL-2.08.
If it isn’t, don’t worry as this can be changed. After unzipping the files above you should have a folder called HSPL4; open this and run HSPL4.exe, following the instructions. You should select SPL 2.08.0000 from the various options that are displayed, continuing to follow the on-screen instructions. Eventually the display on your HTC HD2 will change from a progress bar to the words “We cracked it!”
With this done, you can proceed to the next stage.
In order to install Android on your old Windows Mobile 6.5 device, you will need to install the MAGLDR software to facilitate this.
Note that you cannot access Windows Mobile after installing MAGLDR. To reinstall the original Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system for your device, head to the HTC website and download the latest version of the ROM, listed under the support pages for your phone. Once downloaded, connect your phone to your PC via USB, restart the phone so that it is in the tricolor screen (as explained above) and run the downloaded ROM on your computer, following all on-screen instructions.
To install MAGLDR, restart your phone again into the tricolor screen, ensure the USB connection is established and open the unzipped DFT_LEO_MAGLDR113_DAF folder. Within, you should find MAGLDR113_DAF – open this too, and you will find ROMUpdateUtility.exe. Run this in administrator mode (right click > Run as Administrator) and follow the displayed instructions to install it on your phone.
Once again, a progress bar will appear on your phone, with a message displayed upon completion.
Make It Run Like Clockwork
Next, restart your phone, holding the power button down until a new screen appears. This is the MAGLDR Bootloader, where you can select various options and settings for installing different operating systems onto the phone.
In this case, we’re installing a NAND version of Android to your phone; this means that the operating system will be flashed to and boot from the system memory (there is an alternative method which we don’t use here, enabling boot from your microSD card).
In MAGLDR use the volume up/down buttons to select 4. USB Flasher, pressing the call button (bottom left) to proceed to the next screen. With your phone connected to your PC via USB once more, open the CWM folder, within which you should find Recovery_v1.3_250M. Run DAF.exe as administrator. Follow the on-screen prompts to completion, and the device should restart.
Time to Eat Ice Cream Sandwich!
You’re now ready to install Ice Cream Sandwich on your HTC HD2. Begin by copying the downloaded ROM to your microSD card via a card reader, and then insert the card into your phone.
Next, restart your phone and hold down the power button to run MAGLDR. Select option 8. AD Recovery and use the volume buttons once again to select the Update from SD Card option, pressing call to confirm. Proceed to the subsequent menu, select the ZIP file from your microSD card and begin installation.
Once complete, you will be able to restart your phone, booting into the new operating system – Ice Cream Sandwich!
Do You Want Sprinkles With That?
You’ve probably seen Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in operation on newer phones and tablets – this is your opportunity to have a taste.
As long as your preparation for this task was complete, you should have been able to install Ice Cream Sandwich on your HTC HD2 within 30 minutes.
Of course, if you’re new to ROM flashing, you shouldn’t worry about the timescale – this can be quite a steep learning curve for some. It is more important to carry out the steps to completion in the correct order than it is to beat any timing records.
One last point to note – due to design issues, some HTC HD2 devices have an overheating issue which tends to strike when using Android. This usually manifests as a sudden reboot. Should this happen, follow the steps above to return your device to Windows Mobile.