Google, the land of milk and honey, have smashed open the smartphone market when they released their Android platform for free to developers and in one fell swoop, gave a huge stride forward for smartphones everywhere. Traditionally, the smartphone market relied on specific operating systems such as Nokia’s Symbian, Palm’s PalmOS and Apple with their iPhone OS. Each company fights to keep their software on their own phones and the result is that a person is locked into using only phones from a particular company if they are familiar with the software. As they say, you can’t have your pie and eat it.
Android plans to change all that by offering a very solid and robust software for running a smartphone, but because Google is giving it away for free, any company manufacturing phones can make phones for the software. You are no longer limited to buying hardware from a particular company, but you can choose from a wider choice now because as long as the phone you buy runs Android, the experience is going to be the same. This gives the consumer more power to choose the best hardware without having to worry about the software quality. This is the reason why Motorola eschewed using their own (terrible) phone software and instead focused on making a great phone (hardware-wise) then dropping Android into it, for free no less.
I can go on about the benefits and future that Android is poised to bring to consumers in the next few years, and even about Google’s plans to enter the phone manufacturing business by making their own exclusive phone, but I’m not going to talk about that today. Today, we’re going to teach you how to get Android on your Windows Mobile devices.
The tutorial today only covers HTC’s Touch Pro and HTC Touch HD as well as HTC Diamond. Due to some awesome work from hackers, they have successfully got Android to run on these phones which previously run Windows Mobile. The greatest complaint against WM is the extremely annoying LAG. As with their desktop cousins, WM is full of bloat and perhaps inefficient GUI design, leading to much lag when doing simple things like opening menus and viewing information. This lag is nothing major on its own, but imagine it as a prick that keeps embedding itself into your skin, every single second that you are using your phone. Is that how you like your experience with a phone to be?
Installing Android on these devices may or may not eliminate the lag, but it certainly will help somewhat. Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes. But you’ve got nothing to lose anyway so why don’t give it a try?
A primer on how the process works. You download some files and a special program and place it on your memory (or internal) storage. Start your phone and launch the program and the phone will reboot into Android. This method needs you to run Windows Mobile first, then only reboot into Android. There’s no way to directly start your phone on Android currently, but it’s good enough since most people don’t restart their phones that often. It is recommended that you format your phone and memory cards so that there is no clutter that may impact performance.
Head on to this website and locate the latest package for your phone. The author has conveniently packaged everything into one package with instructions to boot. After grabbing the special modified version of Android, you need to get HaRET, which is the Windows Mobile application that allows you to boot into Android. Just get the latest one and you should be good.
The next step is to unzip everything from the Android package & HaRET into the root of your external storage. For the Diamond, you need to unzip into its internal storage root. Make sure your startup.txt file is the correct one. The default that came with the package is for RAPH100. To get the exact model code for your version you can refer to this website (for the Touch Pro). A simple Google search should also show which code refer to which device.
Once all that is done, just start HaRET from inside Windows Mobile. Your phone should reboot directly into Android!
If you need more info on getting network connections to work, this rather complicated post is the only solution for now. Data connection might or might not be important for you, but I think it really adds to the overall experience. Personally I don’t really use much Data because its quite expensive, but if it’s a must then you’ll need to follow the steps from the link.
Anyway I hope you enjoy your new HTC Android phone! HTC will be producing more Android devices in the future, but this way you can assess Android’s performance and usability without having to spend a single cent. Have fun!