Windows Mobile 6 on the HTC TyTn / m3100 / Hermes?

the shady world of unsupported ROMs

there’s a debate raging over on the xda-developers site, which is a great resource IMHO, a place to find tweaks and natty programs for the various PDAs out there.

Until recently the site hosted a repository of OEM, original, homemade or cooked ROMs for various devices, although in response to requests to Microsoft these have recently been removed (see the debate here )

Microsoft’s position is clear

Microsoft has limited redistribution policies in place for a number of products, from desktop applications like Office, to downloads such as Windows Media Player and Windows Live Messenger, to Windows Mobile products. The licensing terms for Windows Mobile products also varies between versions and is different for each device depending on the features included by the OEM. As you may know, Microsoft is dedicated to protecting its copyright and other intellectual property rights.

All this arises from the way in which Microsoft license Windows Mobile, which is actually through OEMs and the MSPs consequently there is often a situation where one carrier’s device in the wild differs slightly or dramatically from another ostensibly identical device. 

The very fact that my device of choice hides behind a number of product names can be confusing but think of it in a similar way to the situation with cars: Skodas,  Seats Audi’s  and VWs are essentially very similar vehicles vehicle with different doohickies in them and they have different reputations, finishes  and target markets and vastly differing price tags based on this.

don’t get me wrong,  the fact that my m3100 is not officially upgradeable to Windows Mobile 6 irks me, the equipment can certainly run crossbow as this post demonstrates. These are half a dozen homecooked ROMs and won’t be going anywhere near my device, much as I ‘d love to use Windows Mobile 6 it’s essentially using unlicensed software or stealing depending on your point of view.

I’m not the kind of person who is worried about warranties I subscribe to Make: magazines tenet that if you can’t open it you don’t own it, and I regularly reg hack or widget my device to add extra functionality but I don’t really hold with the wholesale replacement of the OS.

There are a lot of people who complain that it’s unfair that their MSP / OEM hasn’t implemented particular aspects of the OS or add-ons available to users of similar devices, and it’s not unusual to hear of dopod / Qtek / HTC ROMs on other badged product. to go back to my car analogy this is very like buying a Skoda and then expecting to be able to add all those Audi gadgets in there for free.

You bought a Skoda right?

the counter argument is that it’s like customising, you can add a Rover engine to a Mini Metro after all.

Me…. I will be awaiting the arrival of the E650 with great impatience – expected to be mid April at the latest report.    

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5 Responses to Windows Mobile 6 on the HTC TyTn / m3100 / Hermes?

  1. Simon says:

    I wonder; the Differences between the Tytn, M3100, trion etc are all essentially the same, with a few aesthetic differences, all of the other differences are in the ROM, and so it should be opssible to use any of the roms to update, although I frankly see no reason why any network would not support this, as HTC is essentially doing all of the work.

    The reason i ask this is because i own a M3100; on O2! So where do you recon I stand?

  2. fanatical says:

    Hi Simon

    the whole WM licensing model is strangely skewed, I assume you got your m3100 from Orange so strictly speaking you should get the update from them (when they get around to it) however HTC have opened a can of worms after their announcements about WM6 on the TyTN.

    You’re right that the HTC ROM will probably work on the m3100 as there are any number of devices out there with cross manufacturer ROMs on them dopods with Qteks and HTCs with Orange. AFAIK no ROM has previously checked for legal IMEI or device serial yet.

    I’d have thought any network provider would prefer an official ROM on the devices on their network tbh it’s the only sensible thing for them to do.

    The problem is that without the vendor’s or OEM’s official support it’s equivalent to installing OEM XP or Vista (which are heavily subsidised to the manufacturers of PCs) on your own clone machine when you should legally pay full retail. I assume even though HTC have commited to a free upgrade that they are paying a licensing fee and the fact you have an OEM version of the TyTN means less cash hitting HTCs coffers.

    Network providers also prefer to test ROMs before release – this is to ensure stability on their network – we may pooh pooh this but I saw the Maxon fiasco first hand where a partially tested budget cellphone brought what at the time was Cellnet’s network to it’s knees because of dodgy software.

    it’s all tricky.

    I’d say practically O2 won’t care as long as you use their network
    providing you’ve paid off your orange contract Orange won’t either
    from experience HTC will try to ensure that your device is a true TyTN through website verification but the ROMs will get leaked or torrented, and HTC probably won’t try too hard to police this.
    Microsoft will lose out a little unless they cut a deal with HTC where the upgrade was free anyway however I have a sneaky suspicion that they aren’t too bothered providing there are plenty of WM6 devices out there to keep annoying RIM and drive sales through device envy.

    officially and probably legally you shouldn’t upgrade without Orange releasing the upgrade and paying whatever fee they stipulate but I don’t think anyone will be hounding you down if you don’t strictly adhere to this.

  3. Gemma K says:

    T-Mobile, with the Vario, have yet to release AKU 3, let alone even intimate about Windows Mobile 6, I was told in store that “we would only release when there is an issue we wish to fix”, guess stability, and feature completion are not issues to them. I have to say my nokia n80 went from being the worst phone i ever owned, to being a functional competitor to my vario when i installed the nokia software updates.

    The phone market is filled by companies who release buggy alpha quality software and say “contact the network for your approved updates, you suckers!”

  4. alasdairford says:

    Hi Gemma, I just wish the MNO’s would get their collective heads around what consumers want, we certainly don’t want to be told that we aren’t going to get the available upgrades unless they fix a fault.

    the problem has two aspects:

    MNOs are used to static (stagnant) traditional handsets who have firmwares that are manufacturer only upgrades they are reluctant to upset the apple cart and can’t comprehend user customisation beyond backgrounds and ringtones.

    Tech savvy consumers with smarrtphones who are used to tweaks and updates and adding programs that enhance their mobile experience who are not willing to be told that they can’t upgrade their own handset.

    MNOs are in real danger of alienating their users especially as upgrades will no doubt become more and more prevelant in the wider phone world I can’t imagine the N95 won’t get an update at some point.

    Orange seem to be getting wise as it looks very like they will offer HTC branded devices alongside the SPV signature range, this neatly sidesteps the politics of upgrades so they become HTCs responsibility, much like Gordon Brown and interest rates – nice maneuvering

  5. […] News: you need to validate your HTC account with a TyTN IMEI – only fair as I pointed out before but it means all the OEM and operator branded owners will have to wait or get […]

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