Remember when we used to call phones with 4.3-inch touchscreens huge? The first among them was 2009’s HTC HD2, which had the beastly specs of a 1GHz single-core processor, 800 x 480 resolution, a 5-megapixel camera (on the back, no camera on the front), and a 1,230mAh battery. It honestly and actually was a highly advanced phone for its time, though it was saddled with Windows Mobile 6.5 as its OS, which led many tinkerers to experiment and load other operating systems on it. The HD2 then grew into a legend as software modders continuously loaded every imaginable piece of new software on its gloriously versatile hardware.
This month, someone even got Android 7 to boot on the HTC HD2. On half a gig of RAM!
On my trip to Berlin for IFA, a friend of mine showed me his ancient, but still functional, HD2, and I remarked how well its design had aged. It’s not too thick a brick, even by 2016 standards, and its screen bezels are thinner than most devices on sale today. So yes, I can totally see why people would feel attached to the phone and want to keep it going with new software. It’s just absolutely wild to think that the HD2 has endured nearly seven years — it’s almost as old as Android itself — and now it’s powering up with the latest instance of Android. That’s not to say that the HD2 can actually run Google’s latest software, as the mod author notes the RAM limitation cripples what the HD2 can achieve, but this is an achievement just by itself. An achievement that might embarrass Android phone manufacturers whose loyalty to their devices is oftentimes measured in weeks.
As if to remind me of its awesomeness, the HTC HD2 also accompanied me on my trip out of Berlin, as the Uber driver taking me to Hauptbahnhof was using one as part of his multi-device connectivity setup. Such is the future, friends: full of hype about iPhones and Galaxys, but powered by humble, immortal beasts of burden like the HD2.