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Android 2.3 and Swype Beta


Android 2.3 and Swype Beta

I'm in the Swype Beta. I recently updated the version of Android on my HTC Evo Shift 4G to Android 2.3. That includes Swype.

The version of Swype included is very old, buggy, and irritating. As a result, updating my phone actually rolled back the version of Swype on my phone.

To resolve this, I reregistered for the beta, downloaded the latest version of the Swype Installer, and installed it again. The install appears to have failed - it proceeds as normal then suddenly skips several steps (compared to the first time I installed it), and says everything is ready to go. The older broken version of Swype that got put on the phone with Android 2.3 remains.

How do I get rid of this broken version of Swype and get back to the latest version?


Android 2.3 and Swype Beta


     I'm going to grab a lab device and try to recreate this, I did find a couple of post though that may be helpful. I found this post from a few days ago with someone reporting the same issue you're experiencing it looks like, reading the post refers the person to follow these steps which eventually resolved his problem.


Re: Android 2.3 and Swype Beta

He's having a different issue. His issue is that Swype isn't working at all. My problem is the version of Swype built-in to the OTA 2.3 ROM for the Evo Shift 4G is really old, and has a lot of well-known problems fixed in the current beta:

  1. It breaks copy and paste by putting Swype's 8-word popup over the text, rather than using a thin bar of suggestions like other Android input methods immediately over the soft keyboard.
  2. It guesses poorly compared to the latest version, resulting in a lot more correcting.

Because Swype was included on the ROM it's effectively installed as root and without su permissions, I can't remove it. The long-term solution from Sprint is to remove as much as they can from the ROM and make it easy for us to go and get the apps instead, so they can be easily updated, or left off the phone if we don't want them (I'm looking at you, Nascar).

The solution in the immediate for me is to root the phone which can be accomplished effectively on the HTC Evo Shift 4G with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) here:

You need the JDK installed:

The Android SDK installed:

And the HTC Sync software installed: (scroll down to HTC Sync for all HTC Android phones and click Download)

This works on the current version as of this posting Aug 27, 2011: Android 2.3.3, but is unlikely to work in a future OTA update if there is one. Note that this only gives you temporary root but that's all you need to wipe out the ROM version of Swype. Note also that other temp root solutions like Visionary and permanent root solutions like ShiftRR will not work on the latest OTA (Android 2.3.3). Only the method linked to above will work.

Once you've rooted the phone you still need to go and delete the app. The easiest way to do that is to install ES File Explorer (free) from the Market, then go into Menu>Settings and check Root Explorer, then check Mount File System. Then browse to /system/app (you may need to change Home Directory to / instead of /sdcard to get to it), find Swype, press and hold on it, and click Delete.

While you're in there you're free to get rid of other useless apps that are normally locked, like Amazon MP3, Nascar, NFL ("sfl-prod-release.apk"), Sprint Navigator, and Sprint TV. I doubt it's smart to get rid of the annoying Sprint Zone app because it appears to be how PRL updates etc get onto the phone.

These steps took a long time but worked for me. I was then able to use my existing beta registration key from to download the latest Swype Installer, let it update itself, login to it, put in my key, install Swype, and enable it - voila, latest version of Swype, at last. I'll be able to continue to update it as new versions come out as long as I don't let another Sprint OTA onto my phone. You can prevent future OTA updates by tapping Menu>Settings>Software Updates>HTC software update and uncheck Scheduled check. You can always explicitly ask for an OTA update if you want by coming back to this screen and tapping Check now. This will let you avoid buggy OTA updates until the forum complaints die down (which I did with 2.3, lending much to my sanity).


Re: Android 2.3 and Swype Beta

Swype has decided to go this route with the way the pre-installed version works. It would be relatively simple for them to add an update mechanism into it, but to this date they have not. This information ix esplained on the Swype website and is all over their forums, a 2 second skim of their frequently asked questions gives this answer already.

As for the mini-rant about other pre-installed applications. Sprint has already announced plans for future devices and updates to allow customers to remove most pre-installed applications if they choose to. The EVO 3D already has this ability, and it will be added to new phones and included in updates to some already released phones as well. Sprint to this date is still the only company to allow this capability at all.

Rooting your device will void your warranty. You also run the risk of bricking the device and rendering it useless unless you know how to fix it and reflash a good software image to the device. Recommending a person void their warranty and potentially destroy their device to get a newer version of a program in testing is a bad idea. Rooting would solve the problem, but if you do not explain the potentially consequence of rendering their phone useless, especially if they haven't read the disclaimer from the developer about this exact thing, then all you are doing is setting the person up to potentially take their working and slightly out of date phone and turn it into a very good paperweight in a very short period of time.


Re: Android 2.3 and Swype Beta

halcyoncmdr134, do you have a date when this fix by Sprint for the HTC Evo Shift 4G will be available, where we can remove apps like this without root?


Re: Android 2.3 and Swype Beta

ThisFeatureIsStupid wrote:

halcyoncmdr134, do you have a date when this fix by Sprint for the HTC Evo Shift 4G will be available, where we can remove apps like this without root?

No idea. There is a chance it may not come out for the Shift. It has been announced for new devices being released, and some of the older phones will get this ability, but no old phones have been announced or have had updates to allow this yet. Personally I think it will come to the Shift, but nothing has been announced related to it.


Re: Android 2.3 and Swype Beta

Well in the meantime, the only way to update Swype on the HTC Evo Shift 4G is the above. I hope it helps other users. I'll address your 2 concerns:

  1. Rooting can void your warranty. So can waiting a year. And the warranty doesn't do much - if you do have a problem phone, at best you'll get a refurbished phone as a replacement with even more issues than the one you took in for service - and they charge you for it, warranty or no. So this is true, but let's be clear about the value you're losing.

  2. Rooting can brick your phone. While I agree caution should be used, I doubt a technical novice reads those and assumes they're about to embark on an easy, risk-free task. That said, let's clarify the risk. First, "bricking your phone" refers to a problem of the phone becoming as useful as a brick - that is, it's so messed up that even with professional help it's never going to be a useful phone again. It and bricks both make competent paper weights at this point.

    Android phones come with a Recovery tool built-in that makes it VERY difficult to brick your phone. They're designed to be played with. If you do manage to mess up the phone royally, or if something unfortunate happens and it corrupts on its own, the Recovery tool can easily restore everything back to normal. The Recovery tool on the HTC Evo Shift 4G is accessed by turning the phone off, holding Volume Down, and continuing to hold it while you press and hold Power to turn it on. You let go of both once it starts booting.

    While some rooting instructions do mess with the Recovery tool and so run some serious risks, a nice thing about the above instructions is they don't mess with it at all. For you to brick your phone by performing the steps above, you'd have to:

    1. Run the above instructions
    2. Look up how to mess up the Recovery tool
    3. Mess up the Recovery tool as your research indicated
    4. Run the Recovery tool
    5. Enjoy a bricked phone at last.

    So don't do that.

Enjoy the latest version of Swype.

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