HTC Desire Wifi Security Issues

Are you aware of the HTC Desire Wifi security issues? Do you plan to use wifi on the HTC Desire? If so, you may need to pay attention to what I've learned the hard way with this sleek new Android OS phone.

Summary: the HTC Desire will not work correctly with a wifi network that has WEP (or WPA) security enabled.

Like many US Cellular customers, I took advantage of the great bargains they were offering for the holiday season this year, and I decided to upgrade from the Blackberry Curve 8530 to the Android operating system on the popular HTC Desire phone.

The HTC Desire and the new Samsung Mesmerize from US Cellular helped me to overcome my iPhone envy! These two Android-based phones are as beautiful and sleek and fun as any iPhone - and they run on the new Android OS which is an open-source based operating system founded upon the Linux kernel. If you are geeky enough to understand what all that means, then you'd better keep reading to learn about the wifi execution on the HTC Desire phone.

As you may well know, smartphones as well as laptops, netbooks, PC's and all other 'modern' devices are a marriage of both hardware and software. Both parts need to work well separately as well as synergistically. Google's new Android operating system for smart phones has been something I've watched over the years with interest because of how they planned to deploy their operating system to handle all the multitude of hardware choices available. After version 2.1 of their OS was released I began to believe Google had worked out all the bugs in their programming. But have they?

It turns out there is a major issue with how some phones handle wifi. But upon further research I learned it is not a flaw with Google's Android OS. Neither is it US Cellular's issue either. Nope. The culprit is the phone manufacturer. In this case, HTC, the maker of the Desire phone (and several other popular phones - including Google's very own 'Nexus One' phone!), has an issue with how they deployed their wifi capability on the HTC Desire phone.

The bottom line is this: if you have an HTC Desire phone and you plan to use wifi on your phone to connect with a secure wifi network using WEP security, then you are out of luck! The sales rep at my local US Cellular (who is obviously NOT a geek, nor concerned with security) said, "just turn off your security on your wifi - that's what I do." When I called US Cellular tech support, the friendly support person basically said the same, but at least he understood the implications of running an open wifi network and agreed that wasn't a good thing to do.

Next I contacted the manufacturer via email. HTC's tech support had this to say to me...

Unfortunately, when the security is on with your router our HTC devices cannot detect the router. This is what causes the issue with your Desire not connecting like it does when your security is turned off on your router. i apologize for this inconvenience, but at this time this is how the WiFi connection works on the HTC devices.
Did you catch that? Go back and read it again if you need to. HTC says that their devices cannot deter wifi routers with security enabled on them! Huh?! ALL HTC devices cannot detect wifi networks with security enabled? That does not compute.

Back to iPhone envy for me. At least the iPhones can connect to basically any type of network. HTC needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out that wifi security is much more important than they currently think it is.

The future is wireless, whether on 4G networks (which are NOT available for US Cellular customers like me), or on WiFi networks. The devices which will thrive in the future must be able to handle all types of networks, especially secured networks. For HTC to overlook this is a sign of ignorance. C'mon HTC - get with the times will ya?!

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