WARNING: Changing the firmware on your HTC phone could cause it to become inoperable. A phone with changed firmware may not be eligible for warranty service. Any data on your phone will be erased! Make sure you follow directions carefully and never ever interrupt the firmware update until it is finished. I take no responsibility if this doesn’t work out for you.
So let’s say that you live in Taiwan and want to buy a fancy new HTC Touch Pro smartphone. You’ll quickly learn that in Taiwan you can only find the Chinese version of this phone. Importing a European version is expensive, plus you won’t get any contract signup discounts. US phones use provider-customized firmware that may not work correctly or optimally in Taiwan.
Don’t despair. There’s active communities of HTC enthusiasts who have extracted HTC firmware in English and other languages. It’s a fairly simple process to change the firmware on your phone, but the documentation is slim, so it’s difficult to know where to start. Here’s a simple guide on what you need to do. Each page referenced has additional information if you need more detail:
1 ) Download and install on your computer the English version of ActiveSync from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/help/synchronize/device-synch.mspx
2 ) Turn on your phone and connect the USB cable that came with the phone (aka the charging cable) between your phone and computer and set up the phone to sync. You don’t need to actually sync anything yet, you just need to get ActiveSync on your computer to say it is “Connected”.
3 ) Download to your computer and extract RaphaelHardSPL-Unsigned_1_90_3.zip from here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=410150. Normally you can only install ROM firmware versions intended for your version of the HTC Touch Pro. HardSPL will change the SPL firmware to allow any HTC Touch Pro ROM firmware to be installed.
4 ) Make sure your phone battery is more than 50% charged or the SPL and ROM firmware will not install.
5 ) Run RaphaelHardSPL-Unsigned_190_1_3.exe on your computer. Follow the prompts in the program to start the SPL upgrade. After the upgrade starts there may be an inquiry on your phone’s display asking permission to switch into the bootloader. Press “是” (yes). Do not do anything on your phone or computer until the installer says the process is completed and your phone has restarted. (Note that it says the firmware upgrade takes up the 10 minutes but the SPL is small so it will be much faster.)
6 ) Download to your computer RUU-Raphael-HTC-WWE-1.90.405.1-Radio-Signed-Raphael-CRC-188.8.131.52-1.02.25.19-Ship.exe from http://wiki.xda-developers.com/index.php?pagename=HTC_Raphael_WM6.1_ROMs. At this writing there are newer ROMs there but this one is the stable released version on shipping English phones. (In the future there may be a newer stable release.)
7 ) Run RUU-Raphael-HTC-WWE-1.90.405.1-Radio-Signed-Raphael-CRC-184.108.40.206-1.02.25.19-Ship.exe on your computer. The interface is similar to the SPL upgrade, but this upgrades the main ROM firmware. Again, do not do anything on your phone or computer until the installer says the process is completed and your phone has restarted. This firmware is very large so it will take several minutes.
8 ) When your phone restarts it’ll go through the install process just like a brand new phone. (Your dealer may have done this for you when you bought the phone.) It’ll take several minutes to install the OS and additional software, calibrate the display and setup your phone network settings.
9 ) Congratulations, your Chinese phone now speaks English.