Putting Android on an old HTC phone

After feeling months of prolonged sadness at my lack of ownership of an Android based mobile device, I was ecstatic to hear that there were a group of developers over at XDA Developers who are trying to port Android over to older, Windows Mobile based HTC phones.

The process of getting this to actually work is quite a fiddle, if you have no idea what you are doing. Thankfully there are a few helpful sites out there. My advice to anyone planning on doing this (and I wish I had taken this advice) is to find your EXACT model of HTC phone (you may think you know the model, but a lot of these developers use the handsets development codename, rather than final production names).

A full list of pretty much every handset you can buy is available at PDADB

After about an hour of trying to install Android for the handset I thought I owned (HTC Vogue), with no success. I discovered that I actually owned a HTC Elf. Armed with new information, and a fresh mug of coffee, I was able to track down project Wing Linux on Sourceforge. Wing linux is a special branch of the Android project, working on some of the older HTC Handsets, and even better, its a snap to install.

If you are using a handset that wing linux supports, all you need to do is visit the downloads page, download the latest archive. Once you extract it, you will find it contained a load of cab files for different handset, and an approximately 40mb filesystem cab.

Once you have these, all you have to do is load them onto your handset, then install them through Windows Mobile and finally, open your "Programs" folder and run the new "Wing Linux" icon that has been added. Then tap the 'run' button and your phone will re-boot.

If this is the first time you have booted into Android, the OS will have to install itself. You should be able to leave this running. The last step before using Android is screen calibration. Be careful you do this properly, as currently there is no way to re-calibrate, and you will have to re-install if you mess up.

If you calibration goes ok, then voila, an Android install of your very own.

The software is still not entirely complete. Wifi doesn't work, and neither does audio, but this is supposedly on its way. I can't wait!

NOTE: No images yet, I will try to upload some when I get some time!

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