This weekends project was to hack and install Android 2.1 on my HTC Hero. I have been waiting on an OS upgrade since I got it last fall, but every promise from HTC has been followed with an advanced release date. In september there was a small update for my European Hero, but ever since it has been dead silent from HTC. US Sprint customers received a Android 2.1 upgrade a few weeks back, but the official upgrade from HTC was still missing. Last week, on the 4th, HTC finally announced that the 2.1 upgrade was completed and ready for shipping. Since then only Taiwanese customers has been able to get the update, but I guess the states and Europe is soon to follow.

Anyway, since I once again wasn’t included for the upgrade I decided on doing it my self. Android phones can be “rooted”, which basically means that you unlock it and enable any version of Android to be installed. I decided to install Android 2.1 by using an upgrade British group who releases hacked version of the Android is under the name VillainROM. This saturday they released a custom version of the official HTC 2.1 release that shall work on all HTC Hero handsets (Sprint non-included). The procedure is fairly simple and everything you need is available on several online forums. I’m really pleased with the results and I finally think the Hero makes sense. The phone is faster, it has a richer feature set, all new apps work, and all standard features such as calendar, email client, camera and more has been greatly improved. If you want to do the upgrade as well, here is the rundown of how to do it.

  • Go to The Unlockr and follow the instructions of how to root the Hero
  • Go to VillainROM and download the ROMs, both radio and OS
  • Wipe the phone, install the radio ROM and then the OS ROM

That’s it! I hope you will enjoy your new and snappy Hero.