Windows Mobile 6 for T-Mobile MDA

I own a T-Mobile MDA which is actually an HTC Wizard. If you don’t live in America, let me tell you about the situation here. When you go to the cellphone store, you sign a contract for many years, and usually purchase a phone. Getting an unlocked phone or just a SIM card in America is unheard of. The phone you’re purchasing is usually locked to both the carrier and the region (US). You cannot install any software on it outside of what you’re permitted to by the carrier, and all around the deal sucks. So when I read that HTC was offering Windows Mobile 6, I ran over to my TMobile store hoping for a holiday upgrade…

My relationship with T-Mobile is probably a textbook case for divorce, including domestic violence. I used to own their older XDA, until the screen broke. Of course, I had loaded my own roll of the OS on that also, and had the phone CID (Country ID) unlocked and SIM unlocked. When I walked into the last T-Mobile store for the repair, the rep plugged in my phone, told me I had made “unauthorized changes” and he would need to keep my phone. CID/SIM unlocking is a breach of contract for T-Mobile customers, so if I breach my contract and I got my phone through the contract, there’s probably a strong legal argument the phone is theirs. But, we never got to the “legal” part of the argument, I reached to get my phone and the rep pushed me, I tripped him and ran out of the store. It was absolutely surreal. It was a broken phone anyway, WTF? I still could use the buttons on the front and MS Voice Command to call. I used Outlook to keep the address book in shape.

Fast forward two years – I’m on my T-Mobile branded HTC Wizard (bought at another store where the reps don’t give as much of a shit) and realize that the T-Mobile Wing is another HTC Wizard, running Windows Mobile 6. Bonus features: It doesn’t have the “screen redraw” bug, IE is upgraded, and it has Windows Update. Big win – Windows Update means I’m not under T-Mobile’s thumb. I call up T-Mobile, and I ask when they’re going to update Windows Mobile on the Wizard, oops, MDA. The guy they connected me with tells me that Windows Mobile 6 won’t run on my phone and I will have to purchase a new one. I told him I’m a developer and I know it will run, they should upgrade because of “security concerns”. “Nope, it won’t run on your phone”.

Fine, assholes. Now it’s on.

Trying to contact HTC did no good because they are only authorized to distribute the phone with a barebones bootloader for the carrier to load their own Windows on. They would be happy to sell me the generic phone, or Windows Mobile 5, which is their current licensed version of Windows. The guy explained to me that they don’t usually get calls from individuals. At least he was helpful in explaining that Microsoft licenses Windows Mobile to the telcos to load their software on. I asked about Linux for shits and giggles and he said there were no drivers, but they were open to the idea.

I considered calling Microsoft but I have a feeling unless I wanted to license a million units, that would be futile.

So back to fishing around, I decided to check my old haunts. It’s like hanging out at a Pep Boys, there’s a lot of posers and homosexuals, but if you can find someone knowledgeable, there’s some good stuff to buy and some good discussions to have. The leaked ROM is called “Crossbow” and like everything else fun, electronic, and illegal it’s stolen from China. I picked this up reading the Windows Mobile 6 forum. And similar to those guys, I have the dreaded MMS doesn’t work following the T-Mobile Instructions problem. (Yes I know the gateway is wrong).

The Million Dollar Question: Anyone on K5 have T-Mobile, a Wizard, and have a working MMS setup in their WM6 rom?

Update: The problem was with AT&T. My wife is on AT&T, but my buddy with his Palm is on Cingular. XDA Mobile 6 Release 5 RC1 with .Net 3.5 works for sending, but still gives the error if you manually sync it. Something about the settings in the comm-manager for Push is broken.

So I suppose I should post how to screw T-Mobile and do the upgrade. You don’t need an unlocked phone for this, you will need Windows XP (NOT VIRTUALIZED), ActiveSync 4.x, a USB cable, and a willingness to pirate software since there’s no official T-Mobile WM6 for the Wizard.

1) Download MFRAZZZ’s ROM. ONLY HIS ROM. His ROM has the radio and bootloader updates stripped out so you won’t brick your phone with the wrong BIOS or radio.
2) Read This Post. If you’re sure you have a Wizard G4 (firmware at boot reads 2.xx.xx1) you just need this file and run FIRST and SECOND. Reboot if prompted. (G3 Wizards, click the link and wander around in there).
3) Grab Soft SPL and copy the nk.nbf to the directory softSPL lives in.
4) Connect the phone, sync, upgrade. You should see GRUB bootstrapping the ROM right before the screen goes white. Go through the wizard and the phone will reboot with WM6. The first time it boots, it takes about 5 minutes (or a small while) to unpack, then it’s good to go.

Update 2: I can send MMS messages but not get them. What the fuck t-mobile?