I’ve been stitched up

I have a great mobile smart-phone called the HTC “Hero”. And I have a great deal with Virgin, a monthly Sim only contract for £18 a month for 300 minutes, 3,000 texts and 1 gigabyte of Internet use.

The other day I went onto the HTC website to upgrade my firmware on my “Hero” to the latest edition of Android which the phone is based upon. There was an edition of the update for T-Mobile and 3 but nothing for Virgin. I asked HTC support about this and they told me that I had to get the upgrade from Virgin. I contacted Virgin Mobile support and was told they could not give me an update as they didn’t officially support the HTC “Hero”.

It is my opinion, although I have no proof, that HTC have made a deal with their official customers to make it impossible for the poor customer who purchased the phone in good faith to be able to upgrade their firmware unless they changed their preferred operator to one forced upon them by HTC. I would be grateful if you could prove my suspicions incorrect in the comments below.

Needless to say, if this is true it is the most blatant dishonesty imaginable. As I cannot give them the benefit of the doubt, I shall never deal with that company again. It is their loss as I was thinking of giving my “Hero” to my wife (she always wanted a hero) and purchasing their new “Desire” model just released. I will wait for the Google Nexis 2 from Motorola.


PS, A very good reply from HTC in the comments.



  1. #1 by Ampers on Tuesday, 13 April 2010 - 12:54 pm

    I have received the following reply from HTC…

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your email. First let me apologise. The previous email you received was totally incorrect and i apologise that your time was wasted.

    We have certainly not made any deals with the networks to punish anyone, and certainly have no intention of making things difficult for SIM free customers.

    We make many different models of phones and we sell them to many networks who customise them in many ways, and they do indeed have different ROMs for different service providers.

    So had you bought your device from T-Mobile for instance, you would need to download and install the T-Mobile spceific ROM to your device, as the networks lock the device to keep control over the device. They subsidise the cost of the device and therefore retain some control over the contents of the ROM. This is true for all manufacturers, as all networks like to differentiate from each other with their phones.

    I am sure in the past you have seen the Vodafone Branded Sony Ericsson phones which have a totally re-designed menu structure in the vodafone corporate colours. This practice is very common in the phone industry and is nothing nefarious in any way.

    However, in this case the problem is not that we have made a deal with anyone or tying to make things difficult. The problem is that my colleague simply seems not to have bothered reading your email properly or checking his facts before replying. By searching for and reading your previous email, it is very plain that you state you bought it SIM free from Amazon, and by checking your serial number in our database, this is confirmed. My colleague seems to have simply seen ‘virgin mobile’ and not taken notice of the rest of the email.

    I apologise for my colleagues mistakes, and would like to assure you that SIM free devices are still updated from our website as they always have been, and there is no need to go to your network whatsoever. We have not made any changes in this respect.

    I also see that in your first email you say you are using Linux. This is a little bit of a problem. The update software we provide only supports Windows based PCs. at present it seems that the demand for sync software for non Windows systems is still too low for HQ to find it financially viable to develop the software.

    I can create an update file that i can send you which can be done from your Linux PC using the cable and the SD card, but due to it’s size, I cannot email it to you as the email system we use does not allow files that large. I should be able to get access to an FTP server where I will upload the update file, along with full instuctions on how to do the update for your phone using your set-up. once I have been able to upload it, I shall email you the details straight away.

    Please accept our apologies for the misunderstandin, we have no intention to punish or bully anyone. I shall also be taking my colleagues mistakes up with management, as his reply falls well below the high standards we set ourselves.

    Best regards

    Pete WHTC

  2. #2 by Ampers on Monday, 12 April 2010 - 8:11 am

    Also, I am not able to update my phone using Linux. If I want to update my phone I have to find a friend who uses Windows.

    You may think, “so what?” But do bear in mind that these people are selling a phone which works on Linux, but won’t let other people who work with Linux to update it!

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