As HTC gets socked with more user complaints around reception problems with its Windows Phone 7-enabled HD7 smartphone, independent developers have been creating a port of Android OS 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) for HTC’s older HD2 phone.
Both kinds of issues and activities around HTC’s Windows phones have cropped up over the past week in user forums. In the T-Mobile Forum, for example, users have revived complaints of weak signal strength, dropped calls, and even lack of any connectivity whatsoever for the HD7, a phone that shipped in November.
These complaints came after the release of several videos on YouTube which also cited connectivity woes among HD7 users, plus the official response from HTC that followed.
HD7 Reception: Good Enough or Not?
Opinions don’t seem to be exactly unanimous about the HD7’s reception capabilities (or the lack thereof). In an ongoing poll on the XDA-Developers site, opinions about the HD7 and its Windows Phone 7 OS have been largely positive.
Although some users of the site have voiced unhappiness, they’ve pointed to screen quality, battery life, the browser, and a variety of other issues, as opposed to reception.
On the T-Mobile site, though, it’s a slightly different story. Some forum members continue to insist that they’re experiencing serious connectivity problems with the HD7, and they’ve refused to accept a response issued by HTC last week:
“Quality in industrial design is of key importance to HTC. To ensure the best possible signal strength, antennas are placed in the area least likely to be covered by a person’s face or hands while the phone is in use.
“However, it is inevitable that a phone’s signal strength will weaken a little when covered in its entirety by a user’s palm or fingers. We test all of our phones extensively and are confident that under normal circumstances reception strength and performance will be more than sufficient for the operation of the phone when network coverage is also adequate.”
First published in Computer Weekly, HTC’s response has been generally interpreted to mean that — much like Apple’s iPhone 2 and HTC’s own HD2 — the HD7 will lose signal strength if it isn’t held in a certain way, and that this is caused by the location of the antenna at the bottom of the handset.
However, some users aren’t buying this explanation. “HTC is simply wrong in saying there is nothing wrong with the HD7. In general, calling the reception issues a ‘death grip’ type iPhone bug is not exactly the best description,” wrote BrentN on the T-Mobile Forum.
BrentN has issued a challenge of sorts to T-Mobile, asking other users to test the signal strength of their devices and report the results to the forum.
Although only a handful have replied so far, those users are fuming over the results of their connectivity attempts.
“I have spent countless hours on hold and in a T-Mobile store trying to figure this out, and every time it’s, ‘Take your phone out [of] 3G mode.’ Reception on the HD7 is questionable at best from what I have experienced: [dropped] calls, constant echoing are a couple of things,” said windowsshell.
It can be tough to tell, though, whether these difficulties might be related more to the phone, or more to the network.
Windows Mobile HD2 Phone Gets Android OS 2.3
Meanwhile, outside of Google’s official revelation this week of the details of Android OS 2.3 — and Samsung’s announcement of plans to ship the Nexus S next week with OS 2.3 aboard — independent developers plugged into the XDA-Developers Forum have been working on a build of Gingerbread specifically for the HD2.
Although the independently created rendition for the HD2 isn’t the first pre-release build of Gingerbread for an HTC phone, it is unusual in that the HD2 was originally devised as a Windows Mobile device.
Also in the XDA-Developers Forum, a user named DarkStone1337 wrote that he is now handing off the HD2 port to anyone else who wants to contribute or help.