Vanilla Gingerbread for the HTC Desire – what are the options? [ROM Reviews]

March 9, 2011 | by Lars Aronsson


Vanilla Gingerbread for the HTC Desire

The 3.7-inch HTC Desire is an esteemed Android phone that has proved to be popular around the world. Even though HTC Sense arguably is the best custom interface for Android that we’ve seen from a manufacturer, and the fact that the Desire will get an official Gingerbread update within a few months, some people prefer the exquisite vanilla Android experience.

So which are the best Gingerbread ROMs for the Desire? The multitude of custom ROMs can make it a bit difficult to choose – hopefully this article will make the selection process easier. For more info and download links, click on the title of each ROM. All of the ROMs are fully functioning Gingerbread builds with everything working, including the FM radio.

Oxygen 2.0.1 by AdamG


  • Android v2.3.3 (GRI40) built from AOSP
  • Linux kernel v2.6.37.2
  • Minimal Google apps
  • Superuser/Busybox/Apps2SD
  • Improved widget picker

Oxygen is the most popular Gingerbread ROM that is designed specifically for the HTC Desire, and deservingly so. It’s minimal and built to be fast, clean and without hacks. AdamG had the first version of it available just two days after Google released the Android 2.3 source code. But as with all custom ROMs, your mileage may vary. I stopped using Oxygen and Ginger Villain because of issues such as echoes when calling and LauncherPro force-closing on each boot, but I hear that version 2.01 of Oxygen is very good and stable. It comes with several convenient modifications, such as an advanced power menu with reboot options.

Those who rely on moving the data partition to the SD card for extra internal storage might want to avoid Oxygen, since it doesn’t support it natively, but if you use the Oxygen HBOOT, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Ginger Villain 1.4 by richardtrip


  • Android v2.3.3
  • Linux kernel v2.6.37.2
  • OTA updates, and additional mods and kernels via the Villain Setup app
  • Apps2SD (Google + Darktremor A2SD+)
  • T-Mobile Theme Manager/improved widget picker

Ginger Villain is another common Gingerbread ROM for the Desire, and since it’s basically a modified version of CyanogenMod 7, it has CM’s extra settings and features. By typing “su / a2sd cache2sd” in the app Terminal Emulator, the Dalvik cache can also easily be moved to the EXT partition on your SD card. Ginger Villain receives fairly regular updates, and is a stable and well-crafted Android 2.3.3 ROM.

Redux 1.0.2 by ihlades


  • Gingerbread base, comes straight from AOSP
  • Clean and lightweight
  • Built for everyday use, has stability and good battery life
  • Fast and smooth
  • User interface tweaks and additions
  • Added functionality, such as new browser and camera options
  • Takes advantage of EXT partitions on SD cards to provide more space for apps
  • Improved widget picker

Redux is an underdog, but I personally feel it brings the most enjoyable Gingerbread experience to the Desire. It’s smooth, fast, looks good – and foremost, I’ve hardly encountered a single bug or annoyance in version 1.0.2. There are no comments in the Market on my Desire, but other than that, Redux is a ROM that could’ve been made by Google itself.

After using Redux, many happy and grateful commenters have stated that they’re never going to flash another ROM again. Redux has a customizable power widget in the notification bar, built-in CPU settings and other useful mods. Dalvik2SD is available as a flashable add-on. This is my current ROM, and hopefully it will bring the same great experience to your HTC Desire if you try it.

CyanogenMod 7 RC2

Last but not least, HTC Desire owners with root access naturally also have the option to flash CyanogenMod 7 – the most popular custom Android ROM of them all. For more info about the features of CyanogenMod 7, visit the official website.

A question to all HTC Desire users with root access: have you tried any of the above ROMs, and if so – which one is your favorite? Is there a Gingerbread ROM for the Desire that is even better than these four?