This is the second software update since I purchased my HTC Desire Z last year. The first update was a bit nerve-wreaking, as there was no explanation of the procedure, thus inducing a few moments of “Oh F$%@, what now.” I thought I would write up my experience with the latest update so as to alleviate the use of a few swear words from others!
I recently had a new motherboard put in my phone when it simply failed to turn on for no obvious reason. I was on a trip to China to see my wife’s family and put my phone beside the bed before sleeping. In the morning I woke up and went to look at the time on my phone, but it was as dead as a door nail. With the new motherboard I guess some things may be different from what others have, so just a warning in advance!
Here is what my phone reported from the Settings->About phone->Software Information screen before the upgrade:
Model: A7272 Android: 2.2.1 Kernel: 126.96.36.199-g6e170e7 htc-kernel@and18-2 #1 Tue Dec 28, 21:41:11 CST 2010 Build Number: 1.82.707.1 CL317545 release-keys Software number: 1.82.707.1 Browser: Webkit 3.1
I wasn’t told of the update through a system notification like some of you probably have been. I was just wondering if the latest update to Android 2.3 was available and hit the “check now” button on the system updates screen. I was actually out and about when I found out the upgrade was available, so I selected the option to only download the update via a wireless or wired connection.
The notification area had an icon to remind me of the pending upgrade and if I looked at the notification drop down it show the download as paused. When I got home I connected to my wireless network and downloaded the update which is 107MB (it’s still in my downloads).
I charged my phone fully before doing the upgrade. In fact, the upgrade process will tell you to charge if you don’t have enough battery power left. It wouldn’t even let me upgrade while I was charging.
It was just after 5 pm when I started the upgrade, so here is a very rough time-line of what you can expect once you start the upgrade process:
5:04 Started the upgrade. “Power off, shutting down….” message appears
5:04 30 seconds or so later a white screen with HTC in green appears.
5:04 About 10 seconds after that an installation screen appears with a green progress bar that gradually moves across.
5:10 Once the bar looks like it’s completely filled with green the phone appears to sit there for a while.
5:11 Now a blank screen appears for a short time followed by the update screen without the progress bar.
5:12 Another blank screen for a short time, followed by the white screen with HTC in green again.
5:13 The update screen appears again, but this time with a progress bar filled with repeating, slanted black and white bars, giving the impression of “I’m busy.”
5:13 The white screen with HTC in green appears again 20 seconds later.
5:13 Another 20 seconds pass and the white screen with HTC in green and the quietly brilliant tag line below it appears accompanied by the normal boot sound. This is looking promising now!
5:14 While the above screen was on the brightness went lower and then back to normal again.
5:15 Now main screen appeared just like a normal boot followed by wireless connecting, the phone network connecting. It’s all looking good!
5:15 Once I unlocked the phone I was greeted with a message:
“System software update Congratulations! Your phone has been updated successfully to version 2.42.707.2.”
I then had the white screen with HTC in green appear again for a few seconds before the home screen loaded.
Here is the information from my software information page after the upgrade:
Android 2.3.3 HTC Sense 2.1 Kernel: 188.8.131.52-gdfb8ed3 htc-kernel@and18-2 #1 Sun Jul 10 00:08:09 CST 2011 Build Number: 2.42.707.3 CL104011 release-keys Software Number: 2.42.707.3 Browser version: Webkit/533.1
A Few Changes
I used to have a problem with my Facebook application where photos in the news feed or at the bottom of the main app home page would appear as empty boxes. This happened if they were already loaded and then I went to do something else in Facebook and came back. It was quite annoying. This problem is now fixed.
A couple of new notifications appeared straight away. One was for Google Reader asking for permission on my work account (I’d not given it access previously). Another was for a new HTC widget, but I couldn’t remember what was there before and what was new! The last notification was for an HTC app/plug-in. When I looked at these I could see Picasa, HTC media link and LinkedIn. I downloaded HTC Media link, but have not played with it yet.
One of the best improvements is the Quick Settings tab on the notification drop down. This gives you an easy way to toggle on and off your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Hotspot, GPS (YES!), and Mobile Network. The last spot in the menu takes you to your main settings screen.
The icon that brings up all your applications now looks like a tiny screen with icons on it, which is more relevant. The apps screen now scrolls in full screen lots making it easier to get to where you want to be and not lose yourself in the process. There are also separate screens for frequently used and downloaded apps too.
Auto-correct was turned on for the hardware keyboard by default. I could turn it on before, but you had to adjust some settings. I think it makes sense to have it on by default.
The first time I went to turn my phone on after turning it off I had a minor heart attack. It seems they changed the time required to turn the phone on from a single quick press to a prolonged press. This is actually a good thing, as I always turn the phone on accidentally when I go to activate the screen to check the time, forgetting it’s off. No longer will I be in awkward situations like in a meeting or in the cinema when the phone starts up with the HTC gingle!
I used the Wi-Fi hotspot feature for the first time ever after the upgrade. Our lighting in the living room was having some problems and the electrician needed to shutdown everything to run a new line. Without wireless in the apartment for most of the day we were having withdrawal symptoms, so I set up the hotspot and it ran very well.
Something is Missing!
One thing that still annoys me about Android is the lack of a network priority/preference setting. This is important for those of us that roam and prefer to be on one network over another, or for people who have a femtocell at home. My Sony-Ericsson phone has such a feature and I really appreciated it.
There are probably a few more changes from this update to Android 2.3.3 that I’ve not come across yet, but I can tell you that this is a good improvement for me. I’m now happier than ever with my purchase of the HTC Desire Z. If only they could make the battery last!