The HD2 was one of the last smartphones released that ran Windows Mobile. It hit the market in late 2009 and came to the US in early 2010. It ran Windows Mobile 6.5 and had only 512MB of RAM internationally, though the US version had 1GB. In the US, it launched on T-Mobile and sold out very quickly. It was the first smartphone with a 4.3 inch screen, which proved to be very popular with consumers. HTC later released the EVO 4G on Sprint which was essentially a slightly modified HD2, and it also sold extremely well.
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A lot has changed since then, but the HD2 remains a very popular device, though obviously not with regular buyers, but with a different demographic: hackers.
The HD2 has been extensively modified over the years to run nearly every mobile OS imaginable including Windows Phone 7 and 8, various Linux distributions, and of course, Android. The first Android version to hit the HD2 was Android 2.2 Froyo, which seems like a distant memory. And now, it can run Android 4.4 Kit Kat.
The custom Kit Kat ROM, called SlimKat, comes from XDA-Developers member chautruongthinh and is available in beta today. According to the forum thread, there are many things that still don’t work with this build, and it is more intended as a test build for HD2 users to try out. It seems that most users are having success booting it, but the important things like WiFi and mobile data are still not working.
There are people who continue to use the HD2 for the sole purpose of using it as a modification device. There have even been stories of businesses continuing to use it since it can still run Windows Mobile 6.5 which some businesses still require for old, legacy apps.
The HD2 had top-of-the line specs in its day, including a 1GHz single-core processor, 512/1GB of RAM (depending on country), and that large 4.3 inch display. It was also the first Windows Mobile device to support capacitive multi-touch screens. Up until then, Windows Mobile devices had been lackluster resistive screens since Windows Mobile itself did not support capacitive displays. HTC custom-built their own software on top of Windows Mobile to add multi-touch capacitive support to the HD2.
While it obviously isn’t famous anymore today, and officially died with Windows Mobile, it will forever live on in smartphone history. Do you have an HD2 lying in a drawer or proudly displayed on a shelf somewhere? Will you be giving Kit Kat a try? Check Out the YouTube video below to see it in action.