Hands-on with HTC EVO 4G Gingerbread update

Summary:A Gingerbread update for the EVO 4G has been confirmed by Sprint and is available today with a manual install. I grabbed it first thing and have spent a few hours with Gingerbread on the EVO.

Word had leaked out that Sprint and HTC were going to push out an update over-the-air (OTA) on June 6 that fixes some bugs and updates the Android software to Gingerbread. That update has been confirmed by Sprint but you don't have to wait as it is available today with a manual install. I grabbed it first thing and have spent a few hours with Gingerbread on the EVO.

To manually install the update turn off Wi-Fi on your EVO and go in Settings to System Update. Do a manual check for HTC Software and the update should show up. Be sure and tell it to download via Wi-Fi only unless you're in a good 4G area, as it is a big update. Just follow the instructions onscreen and you will soon be nibbling on Gingerbread on your EVO 4G.

Here's the official word from Sprint on the update:

HTC Evo Maintenance Release - 4.22.651.2 Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Enhancements/Fixes:

  • SMS are intermittently sent to wrong and seemingly random contact
  • "Me" instead of "Yo" in SMS thread conversations when set to Spanish
  • Unable to stream media thru some applications after updating to 3.70
  • Email attachments are not displayed in the mail client
  • Multiple Gmail accounts no longer sync after FroYo update
  • Fix for battery discharge issue
  • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  • Downloads management- The Downloads application gives the user easy access to any file downloaded from the browser, email,or another application

Note: HTC Sense updates are not included in this upgrade

That last note is a big one, as even though HTC has updated the Sense interface to version 2.x, this does not include any update to the interface. Your EVO will still have Sense 1.x after the update, and look just like it did before.

As for the Gingerbread update, most of the changes from Froyo are under the hood. There is not much visually different in the interface. One big difference is the performance improvement, after the update my EVO 4G operates as fast as ever, and things move as smooth as butter. I would recommend the update for this reason alone.

I haven't been running the updated software long enough to verify it, but Gingerbread is supposed to provide better battery life than Froyo. It also has improved background task management, eliminating a need for task manager apps. What I have seen so far bears this out, the system runs better and smoother with no action on my part.

I have seen no issues caused by the update, but some are reporting on the Sprint forum some minor problems such as notification errors. Netflix has stopped working for everyone due to the update, but Netflix is aware of it and should have this fixed soon. I suspect it's a nasty DRM problem, since Netflix only works on a few handsets due to the DRM. I'll bet it now doesn't recognize the EVO due to the software version changes. I'm sure this will get fixed quickly.

This update installs Android 2.3.3, even though the most recent version of Gingerbread is 2.3.4. It's further indication of the fragmentation of Android. This is significant as even though Google has released Google Talk with video chat support, that is not included in this update. It's a shame to waste that front camera, even though Google supports it.

This update also doesn't include the improved Gingerbread keyboard. I use a third party keyboard so this is not a big deal to me, but it will be to others. You can find the keyboard online and install it anyway, however.

Overall the update is as expected, with some folks experiencing minor issues and others not. The system performance improvement makes it a good update for me, and I am glad I have applied it.

Topics: Collaboration, HTC, Microsoft, Mobility, Software

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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