Vodafone's Desire update irks Froyo-hungry users

The operator has sent out a branding and 360 services update that has left some Desire owners unhappy about the changes

Vodafone has updated its HTC Desire handsets with company branding and a selection of Vodafone 360 apps, a move that has irritated customers waiting for the Android 2.2 'Froyo' upgrade.

The update, which Vodafone started rolling out over the air on Tuesday, brings a new Vodafone splash screen, adds web shortcuts to the home screen. It also installs the Vodafone 360 services apps, which include a portal to the company's online store, the My Web service and the Vodafone music store.

Customers quickly started a thread — which has since been merged with another thread — on the official Vodafone forum complaining that the file sent out, named 'Android 2.1-update1', did not warn them about what it contained or that it would change their home screen.

"I was so hopeful when my device said that there was a firmware update," wrote commenter 'kyokan' on the forum. "I couldn't understand what had happened when my phone finished rebooting and it appeared nothing had changed... Then I noticed a bunch of extra stuff in my main menu, and my browser bookmarks had been flooded with all sorts of random sites and my homepage had been changed."

"I feel you've just ruined my Desire with software I neither need nor want," commenter 'Allan87' wrote.

The roughly 20MB update is being rolled out to Desire handsets in all countries where Vodafone's 360 service is active. Owners can choose not to install it, but they will receive a reminder in 14 days, the operator said.

"360 services give customers a choice of whether or not they want to use them. If a customer doesn't want to use those services, then they don't have to, and if they do want to use those services, then they've got the option of benefitting from them," a Vodafone spokesman told ZDNet UK.

Initially, the update had been planned to arrive much earlier, but delays to the schedule set it back closer to the expected Android 2.2 upgrade than had been intended, according to the company.

Even if people choose to reject the Vodafone app update, they will be presented with the same changes again when the operator issues its eagerly anticipated Android Froyo upgrade. Vodafone's spokesman confirmed that the Android 2.2 update will automatically include the branding and 360 updates.

At the end of July, Vodafone began rolling out the Android firmware update to Nexus One handsets. The company's spokesman said it is working on issuing the Android 2.2 upgrade for the Desire as soon as possible and that the update can be expected in "weeks rather than months".

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