**Update (October 16, 2011): The process is a lot simpler now than it was a few weeks ago. This thread outlines the new simpler method for achieving root for your Evo Shift 4G. (I haven’t tried it myself, but I’d use it if my device weren’t already rooted.)
A few months ago, I upgraded my HTC Hero on Sprint to the HTC Evo Shift 4G. I liked the Shift because it had a good size and promised a little better battery life than the original HTC Evo. I didn’t need 2 cameras and a couple of the other bells & whistles of the bigger device, so the Shift looked to be a great choice.
And it was… for months. But unfortunately, the latest OTA (over-the-air) update that came to the device in late August / early September created a giant mess. For the first time ever, the Evo Shift started running slow. Every time I would hit the “Home” button to exit an app, the HTC Sense UI would restart. I wasn’t actually aware this was exactly what was occurring, but the home screen took forever to come up and the HTC logo would spin for a while. This was incredibly frustrating.
Rebooting the device didn’t help. Eliminating some apps made no difference. On a couple of occasions, using the device was so frustrating that I was about ready to throw it at the pavement.
Root, Root, Root Your Phone
I’ve written previously about rooting my HTC Hero. That turned out to be the best thing I could’ve done with that device. But I had hesitated to root the Shift. In fact, I hadn’t even looked into it because I was so happy with the device’s performance and really enjoyed the latest version of HTC’s proprietary Sense UI. Sense is a set of apps and tweaks that sits on top of the device’s Android O/S.
My experience with the HTC Hero was that by rooting it, I gave up access to the Sense UI. I liked it enough on the Evo Shift that I hadn’t gone down that road.
But with all my frustrations after the latest OTA update (which bumped me to Android 2.3.3 “Gingerbread”), I wondered what could be done. So… I started to check out the community of Android device hackers.
What I discovered was both delightful and frustrating. First of all, the guys & gals that work on this stuff had found a way to re-install the Sense UI after rooting the device. (This was not possible when I originally rooted my Hero.) Yippee for me! I can root the device and have full control, but still get the enjoyment out of Sense.
The downside — which was a bit frustrating — was that the road to get to a nicely-running, rooted “Gingerbread” (Android 2.3.3) Evo Shift with Sense UI was pretty convoluted.
Essentially, here’s what had to happen:
- Backup everything
- Gain a “temporary” root (goes away on reboot) on the Evo Shift
- Install some code to the device allowing a downgrade
- Backup everything
- Downgrade to “Froyo” (Android 2.2)
- Permanently root the device on Android 2.2.
- Backup the device
- Install a nice fresh new ROM
Definitely convoluted. Definitely more frustrating than the process on the HTC Hero (when I did it). But the results have been amazing. I’m running a custom ROM called MikShifted-G “Executive” from TheMikMik. It is gorgeous. It is lightning fast. All the “bugginess” from my device is ancient history.
And of course, with a rooted device, there’s no end to what you can do that was locked down previously by Sprint & HTC. All the Android goodness is there… and it gets better all the time!
I’m glad I rooted my Evo Shift 4G. You will be too!
For reference: xda-devleopers is the ultimate resource for rooting Android devices. For the HTC “Speedy” (Evo Shift 4G) running Android 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) this thread in particular will be helpful. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth it!