Having bought myself an HTC Incredible S almost a year ago now, I’ve had various problems and nuisances with it. Apart from having to have it repaired once due to a screen defect and it currently developing a disposition for being difficult to unlock (the button is rarely responsive) I’ve had some software woes too. Well I say woes, I find faults with everything.
Initially I found no problems with the Android operating system running on my phone. It was fast, nice to use and functional. I liked HTC Sense (HTC’s custom UI overlay over the stock Android OS) although I was slightly behind in Android versions, running Froyo (2.2) rather than Gingerbread (2.3). Eventually I received an update to Gingerbread which though included an improved HTC Sense, also managed to diminish the Wi-Fi range of my phone, which made it irritating when I was far from my wireless router (such as in my kitchen) as it constantly disconnected. I sighed, and thus began the quest to root my Android phone (analogous to Jailbreaking iPhone devices), to install custom Android software which could possibly alleviate the problem. I tried various ROMs including CyanogenMod however I liked few of these and ended up reverting to the most recent ROM for my phone. Another update later, and a new router (its predecessor broke) I had no problems with Wi-Fi and I was fairly happy. For a while.
You see after months, the screen defect had developed. I had to send it for repair via warranty and endure my previous phone, an LG Cookie in the meantime which was beyond torture. Nevertheless I received my Incredible S back after what seemed like too long. It wasn’t long before I discovered it wasn’t perfect, and I wasn’t receiving texts on time (delays of hours). Assuming this to be a software issue (and not being able to face any longer without a smartphone) I took to rooting my phone again and trying various ROMs to see if any fixed the situation. None did, and flashing alternative radios (the layer between the OS and the radio hardware) didn’t help either.
So I reverted back to stock once again, sick of the problems I was having with my phone. At long last I received an update which fixed my text delay issue, yet brought along with it a new version of HTC Sense, Sense 3.0. And wow it was slow. Having been designed for the next generation of phones from mine, the dual core devices such as the HTC Sensation, it just couldn’t run smoothly on my phone.
Which brings us to the present. Disappointed with my phones performance compared to when I first purchased it, and unable to downgrade I sought out some alternatives. I could wait for another update, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich had just been released on Google’s flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, however HTC kindly informed the world that my phone would not in fact receive it. I had no other option than CyanogenMod, which I had previously had unspectacular experiences with.
The only hope I had was the fact since this was a final release (in comparison to trying a beta beforehand) I might like it. And I do, it’s very fast, yet since it has no HTC Sense, it’s very simple, leaning towards basic. I certainly miss some things from HTC Sense, not least that video playback and the camera is inferior. But the trade-off is that my phone is now very fast to use again. I’m in a perpetual indecision as whether to go back or not.
As I write this I simply wait for the people at CyanogenMod to develop an Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for my phone. With the improvements that Android version has received over Gingerbread maybe I won’t need HTC Sense and I can move to a fast, full featured ROM.