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HTC Desire Gingerbread update available, if you're feeling brave

The HTC Desire finally has an update to Android version 2.3 Gingerbread. But updating will wipe your phone, and could stop SMS and MMS from working.

HTC has at last issued a Gingerbread update for the HTC Desire. But disappointingly, updating isn't as simple as a normal Android update -- and it could hobble your mobile.

The Android 2.3 update has been seriously squeezed -- adjusted and with applications removed to work around the Desire's memory constraints. As such HTC says it's for development only, and is recommended for "expert users". It's available to download and install as a ROM file from HTC's website, but if you do install it you'll lose features and your mobile will be wiped.

"Flashing this ROM will erase your previous customisations, including any messages, emails, contacts and other personal information," according to HTC's licence agreement. It's recommended that you backup as much as you can to your Google account before updating. Anything stored on your SD card will be safe, because it won't be erased or modified.

All wallpapers except the default will be removed, as well as several HTC applications, and the official Facebook app, though you can redownload this from the Android Market.

More painful is a warning that certain functions may become unavailable after updating, including SMS and MMS.

If that all sounds like too much faff, take comfort in the fact that your faff detectors are working normally.

HTC originally stated it wouldn't be bringing Gingerbread to the Desire because of the phone's memory constraints, but after a vicious backlash it quickly changed its tune. Now Desire owners are offered this -- a technical and tricky method of updating their mobiles, with many features cut out. On its official Facebook page, HTC said, "We've been forced to accept there isn't enough memory to allow us both to bring Gingerbread and keep the HTC Sense experience on the HTC Desire.

"We're sincerely sorry for the disappointment that this news may bring to some of you."

Many Desire owners are understandably ticked off. One commenter on the Facebook page writes, "Do you really think Desire owners are going to upgrade to another HTC phone after this?" Another says, "And this was once a flagship phone... what a send-off. RIP desire. You deserved better."

So is it worth updating? We're not convinced. A glance at our Android updates guide confirms Gingerbread contains few new features. The battle to get Gingerbread on the Desire is more one of principle, with many users thinking it unfair for HTC to stop supporting a phone that's only just over a year old.

What do you think? Do you own a Desire? Are you disappointed by HTC's handling of the situation? Let us know your sentiments in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.