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Warranty void if label removed

O2 is OK. They really are. After all: They sent us an XDA II to review. It arrived yesterday already, but we didn't have time for it until tonight (aaargh...). We have to send it back in two weeks, unless we can convince them to let us buy it. We figured lots of others have done reviews detailing the features and outside apprearance. Suffice it to say that a lot of the things that were wrong on the XDA were done right on the XDA II, and we want it. Bad. Below is the first analysis of the insides. All of this is extremely preliminary, and some bits of this are probably wrong.

  • It no longer has a hard-reset hole: if you hold power while resetting, it is a hard reset. If you want to access the bootloader, you should press any direction on the 5-way rocker switch while also pressing power and resetting (takes practice to do using only your hands...).
  • The bootloader no longer has buttons to press but only displays "Serial" and "v1.01". If you hook up a terminal on the serial line, you get lots of output, and the promise of help if you press 'h' or '?', which does not work. We looked at the binary of the bootloader and concluded it was meant to work, because the texts are in there. The entire bootloader makes an unfinshed impression, but I guess ordinary users would never see or use it anyway. Lots of commands are said to only work after issueing the 'password BOOTLOADER' command. The bootloader will get it's own page as soon as we have some time. ('rtask 7' gets you the GSM command mode, 'd2s' dumps the ROM to SDcard.)
  • The device has 128MByte RAM, 32 MB flash ROM (internal to the Xscale CPU...) for the Operating System, and 32 MB on a "disk-on-chip". 14.5 MB out of these 32MB are available to the user as non-volatile '\Storage'. 1.5 is Missing In Action. We thought it was used by our familiar aflashman and cflashman to save contacts and appointments. Now they have two new friends: nflashman and tflashman, which save connection settings and tasks respectively. This would have made 'permanent save' a good candidate for the missing 1.5 MB (it's 1 MB on an XDA). But we found the database data in text files in '\Storage\PerSaveBackup'.
  • The other 16 MB of the disk-on-chip holds a whole bunch of CAB files which are executed one by one by a small app called 'autorun.exe' on the same disk. All the operator-installed software is here. This means that cold boot takes forever, but also that we're likely to see separate upgrades from HTC (the base 32 MB) and from the providers. (I can understand HTC got tired of the way they did it before). The disk with all the provider CAB files on it is not visible to the user, but does show up on the device driver level as DISK1. (the user-disk is DISK2). If you delete the value "MountFlags" (dword:00000001 == 'hidden filesystem') from the key:

this 16MByte disk gets mounted as '\Extended_ROM'.

         7,168 AutoRun.exe
           561 Config.txt
             0 ignore_my_docs
     3,054,659 o2ActiveUIEnglish.CAB
        40,021 xmailInstaller2003.PPC_ARM_2003.CAB
  • COM3 is dedicated to IR (no more sharing with wired RS232), COM6 is Bluetooth.

We want it. But there are a few minus points: The camera is really not good in low- to medium-light, and misses a flash (maybe a combined CF backpack with flash? Then again this will never be your primary camera anyway at this resolution). Also cradling the device sometimes feels like something will break soon.

  • A detailed test report by the FCC can be found here

Many more pictures (including some insane-resolution close-ups), opening instructions and further research data to follow soon. see also this forum posting.

Note that that internal parts can’t be switched between all Himalaya variants. For i.e. the PCB and screen panel of XDA II is different from MDA II, which means you can’t replace an LCD panel from MDA to XDA and vice versa. A Hi Resolution comparison of XDA II vs MDA II can be found here: Xdavsmda.jpg The MDA II is on the left. Note the differences in screen's flat cable at the middle right of the devices