The HTC HD2 “Leo” was released in November of 2009 running Windows Mobile. It was quickly embraced by the XDA community, where somebody got it to run Android. The rest, as they say, is history. Late last week the legendary device got its first Lollipop ROM.
Over the course of its storied history the HD2 has been able to run all versions of Android dating back to Gingerbread, along with Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Tablet Windows, Ubuntu, Meego, even Firefox OS. It’s been called the final boss of smartphones, and at the very least is the poster child for XDA.
So what’s so special about this thing?
After poring over reddit threads and old XDA posts I can only surmise that it boils down to a matter of timing. The HD2 preceded the HTC-made Nexus One by only a few months, but while the Nexus had Android and an unlockable bootloader from the start the HD2 shipped with Windows Mobile Professional 6.5, an OS still optimized for stylus input, were it not for the heavy window dressing of HTC’s Sense UI.
It was a time when users were just starting to recognize the power of Android, and the HD2’s then-impressive specs made it a worthwhile test subject for Google’s nascent smartphone OS. Ultimately, two things have kept the HD2 alive—the many hours put into developing and porting ROMs and, over time, the prestige of being known for doing so.
Now don’t expect a Lollipop-powered HD2 to be especially usable. That’s not the point. The HD2 is, like I say, the poster child for XDA… its crowning achievement in extending the life of a smartphone well beyond what anyone would have thought possible. Kudos to the XDA community for that!