Samsung Galaxy S Froyo 2.2.1 Firmware Upgrade Using Kies

I?EUR(TM)ve just upgraded my Samsung Galaxy S firmware from version 2.2 (DXJPA) to version 2.2.1 (DXJPE). Some improvements for the 2.2.1 firmware include:

  • Lag fix (oh-yeah!)
  • GPS fix
  • Upgrades to Contacts, Camera, Video and Music Player, Browser, Gallery, YouTube, Phone Dialer and Keyboard

This is a follow-up to my previous guide on upgrading firmware from 2.1 Eclair to 2.2 Froyo using Kies.

Note: This guide applies to SGS GT-I9000 phone bought from Malaysia. I am not sure if it applies to phones from other countries.

As usual, make sure your phone battery is (more or less) fully charged, and you have a stable Internet connection.

Steps

  1. Download the new Samsung Kies version 2.0.0.11011_16_5. The old Kies isn’t even smart enough to know it needs to be updated.
  2. If you have an older version of Kies, you will need to uninstall that before installing the new one.
  3. Connect your phone via USB to your computer. If Kies cannot detect your phone, you can refer to this hub page to fix that problem.
  4. Start Kies, Kies will inform you that a new firmware is available for your phone. The new version will be PDA:JPE and PHONE:JPB. samsung galaxy s 2.2.1 firmware update with kies
  5. Click Update, accept the terms and conditions, proceed without saving phone numbers and click Next.
    samsung galaxy s 2.2.1 firmware update with kies 2
  6. You will be given an option to backup your data. You should do this. I’ve recently done a backup, so I just skipped some of them.
  7. Click OK and the download will start. samsung galaxy s 2.2.1 firmware update with kies 3
  8. Wait for Kies to download the firmware from the Internet. It took me 15 minutes. How long you wait will depend on your connection speed and Samsung’s server load. Don?EUR(TM)t disconnect your phone from your USB cable, guard it with your life!
  9. After Kies completes the download, a yellow “downloading” sign will appear on your phone for 3 minutes. Don’t turn off your phone even if the building is on fire!
  10. Your phone will reboot and you will see a lot of system text as the phone updates some files. It will then stay at the startup “S” animation for about 3 minutes.
  11. Done! The Froyo version will still be 2.2 but you will see DXJPE as the firmware.
    samsung galaxy s 2.2.1 firmware update with kies 4
  12. At this point you can safely disconnect your phone from your PC.

First Impressions

The phone is really much faster. This is what I really wanted. The only lag seems to happen when the media scanning process takes place.

All the great new features of Froyo 2.2, yet faster than a rooted and lag-fixed 2.1.

I just opened my media gallery and all the photos fly on the screen.

I will be writing a follow-up to this post next week so share my usage experience after upgrading, so stay tuned!

Conclusion

You need to perform this upgrade to fix some issues that have been bugging you, especially the lagging.

Samsung Galaxy S Froyo Firmware Upgrade Using Kies

[ad#Samsung Galaxy 1]

I’ve just upgraded my Samsung Galaxy S firmware from Android 2.1 to Android 2.2 Froyo.

Update: Refer to my latest guide to upgrade Samsung Galaxy S to 2.2.1.

This step-by-step guide will show my Galaxy S brothers and sisters how to upgrade Samsung Galaxy S to Android 2.2 Froyo.

This guide applies to SGS phones bought from Maxis Malaysia. I am not sure if it applies to phones from other countries.

Before you begin, make sure your phone battery is fully charged, otherwise Kies won’t allow you to proceed.

You also need a stable (and fast) Internet connection.

The Steps

1. Install / update the latest Samsung Kies software (version 1.5.3.10103_102 or later). You need to use a Windows PC so Mac users like me have to borrow a Windows machine.

2. It is strongly advised that you backup the contents of your SD card, contacts, photos, etc to your computer. There is no way to backup your text messages and call logs unless you use third party apps.

I used AppBrain to store a list of all my installed apps.

Don’t worry, if everything goes well your data should remain the same.

3. I used RyanZA’s One Click Lag Fix, so I reversed the lag fix and unrooted my phone. I’m not sure if this is necessary but I wanted to be safe.

4. Connect your phone via USB to your computer. If Kies cannot detect your phone, you can refer to this hub page to fix that problem.

5.  Kies will inform you that a new firmware is available for your phone. Click on the box where it says “<GT-I9000>’s firmware can be upgraded. Please click here to upgrade firmware)”.

6. You will be given an option to backup your contacts.

7. A popup window will appear showing you your current firmware. You will see something like:

Current Version: PDA:JF4 / PHONE:JF4 / CSC:JF4
Latest Version: PDA:JPA / PHONE:JPA / CSC:JPA

If you are in another country, you may see another Firmware such as JPM. Don’t worry because JP means it’s Froyo. The A or M at the end is used to denote the region.

Warning: Make sure you are using the right firmware version for your phone. I repeat, I used the JPA version because my phone was bought in Maxis Malaysia.

8. Click Upgrade, accept the terms and condition and click Next.

9. You will be given an option to save phone numbers in Samsung servers. I chose ‘Proceed without Saving’ and clicked Next.

10. Wait for Kies to download the firmware from the Internet. I waited 90 minutes. Don’t disconnect your phone from your USB cable, guard it with your life!

Fun isn’t it? So many steps to do a simple firmware upgrade. I wonder if iPhone users have to go through so many steps.

11. After Kies completes the upgrade, your phone will reboot. It will stay at the startup animation for about 5 minutes.

12. You will then see the new lock screen, and you’re done (cute baby not included)!

New Froyo Unlock Screen

Just go to Settings -> About Phone to check the firmware version.

Samsung Galaxy S Froyo Firmware Version

You just need to setup your home screens icons, folders and shortcuts.

All my media, contacts, and apps were still there after the upgrade.

Improvements

  1. Speed. I haven’t even done the Lag Fix yet and it is almost as fast.
  2. Flash support (hello Flash games!)
  3. Pinch to zoom flyover on home and application screens
  4. GPS toggle button in notification bar
  5. Interface improvements such as new icons and colours
  6. Access to more applications. Previously I could not access some free apps like Angry Birds but now I can. Maybe those apps were locked to Froyo and above only.
  7. GMail app upgrade (but not much difference)
  8. Camera app upgrade
  9. New apps such as Google Places, Latitude, etc.
  10. Screen capture by holding home and back buttons. Really useful!
  11. An easier way to drag and drop the cursor during text entry.

Non-Improvements

  1. The GPS is still unreliable. Hard to get solid fix on GPS satellites even when outdoors.
  2. Lag is still noticeable when doing heavy data reading and writing, though there is a vast improvement from before.

Conclusion

You really should upgrade if you have a Samsung Galaxy S.

I know it may sound like a scary process but just take precautions and it will be okay.

Thank you Samsung Mobile for delivering the Froyo upgrade, great job.

Is it too much to ask for Gingerbread or HoneyComb?

My Best Android Market Apps

I’ve been using my Android phone for two months, and I thought I would evangelize a bit about the best Android apps.

One of the main questions people ask me is “does the Android phone have apps?”. Hopefully I will be able to convince some of you that the Android platform does have many great apps (although honestly it still doesn’t compare to the number of iPhone apps).

The main way to get Android apps is to use the Android Market. I like the Market because:

  • You can find thousands of apps
  • No apps censorship (as long as it’s legal)
  • You can quickly download apps directly from phone
  • Easily install apps with a few clicks
  • It’s easy to update your apps to the latest version or patch

When you start the Market application, you get to choose between viewing Apps or Games.

In each of those choices, you get to choose between different app categories such as Finance apps, Comic apps, Arcade & Action Games or Puzzle Games.

Clicking in a category will display a list of the top apps or the newest apps.

android market 1 android market 2

Once you choose an app, you get to see a description, screen shots, user ratings and comments. I find the comments really useful because I can tell immediately if the app is buggy or does not work as promised.

android market 3 android market 4

Having said that, there are a some things I wished Google would improve:

  • Malaysians do not have access to paid apps (the workaround is to root your phone and install the Market Enabler app)
  • It can be difficult to find great apps if you do not know what you are looking for. A better search and recommendation method is needed.
  • Some free apps are not available to non-US users.

My Favourite Apps

Okay, moving on to my favourite apps. These are the apps I use all the time. I will describe each app, then let you know how I rate them in four categories:

  • Usability: a measure of user-friendliness and ease of use
  • Performance: measures the speed and efficiency of the app
  • Design: measures the beauty of the visual elements and interface design
  • Functionality: measures how well the app does what it is supposed to do

The ratings are 1 (FAIL), 2 (bad), 3 (okay), 4 (good) and 5 (exceptional).

Twitter

The Twitter app allows you to read tweets and post your Twitter updates in a simple and clean interface.

On the app home screen, you can access all the functions you get at the Twitter website.

android twitter 1 android twitter 2

You can tweet a plain text message, or you could attach a photo via TwitPic.

android twitter 3

I like the simple and minimalist interface. I think this app is the best one to use for accessing and updating your Twitter account.

Usability: 5/5
Performance: 4/5
Design: 5/5
Functionality: 5/5
Overall Rating: 19/20

You can use this QR code to download Twitter on your Android phone.

twitter app qr code

StumbleUpon

If you are the type of person who gets bored on the Internet, then StumbleUpon is the perfect app for you. If you’ve never used it before, then it will change how you browse the web for fresh and cool stuff.

The home menu displays all your favourite topics. Clicking on your topics will bring up a random website about the topic.

The four shortcut icons at the top will bring up content most suitable for mobile devices. This helps to save you time because you will skip sites containing large amounts of text or Flash sites.

android stumbleupon 1

Here are some examples. The first screen shot shows a cool photo I found when stumbling Photos, and the second screen shot is a site I found while stumbling the topic ‘Fitness’.

android stumbleupon 2 android stumbleupon 3

After each Stumble, you can thumbs up or thumbs down to train the system on your preference and taste.

I like this app for helping me to find new things to blog about, or to find awesome and fresh content whenever I get bored.

Usability: 4/5
Performance: 3/5
Design: 4/5
Functionality: 5/5
Overall Rating: 16/20

You can use this QR code to download StumbleUpon on your Android phone.

android stumbleupon qr

Goggles

Google Goggles is an amazing app that can identify objects, logos, barcodes and text from a photograph. How it works is, you snap a photo and the app will do a Google search and show you the results.

For example, I see a nice cartoon character but I don’t have any idea who it is. I just take a photo and let the app do its magic.

android goggles 2 android goggles 3

Like magic, the app identifies the cartoon character for me! Isn’t this the kind of technology they use on CSI?

android goggles 3

In another example, I may come across a book at the book store and want to read reviews or check out prices online. I just take a photo of the barcode.

android goggles 4 android goggles 5

The result is displayed and I have immediate access to book reviews, author information and price comparisons!

android goggles 6

It also allows me to scan QR codes with my phone to instantly download an app or access a website!

I think this app is awesome because it combines the power of mobile cameras, mobile Internet and search engines. I do think that i it can be improved because search results are not always accurate.

Usability: 5/5
Performance: 4/5
Design: 2/5
Functionality: 3/5
Overall Rating: 14/20

android goggles qr

SNESoid

Let’s move on to some games, shall we? As the name of this app implies, it is a SNES (Super Nintendo) emulator for the Android. What this means is you can run SNES games on your phone.

The home screen of the app allows you to choose the game to load. You can get games (or ROMS) from sites such as Roms4Droid.

android snesoid 1

Here are some screenshots from my favourite game on my SNES.

android snesoid 2

If your Android phone has a keyboard, you use the keyboard to control the game. Otherwise you can use an on-screen keypad.

android snesoid 3

If you get the paid version, you can even save games. If you don’t like SNES games, you can find emulators for NES, Game Boy, Sega, PlayStation and even Atari games.

Unlike some emulators on the PC, graphics and sounds are reproduced accurately on my Android phone.

I just love this app so much, because it turns my phone into a portable gaming device. My only complain is, the on-screen keypad is not responsive enough to multi touch… it can be hard to execute some combos.

Usability: 3/5
Performance: 5/5
Design: 3/5
Functionality: 3/5
Overall Rating: 14/20

You can use this QR code to download SNESoid on your Android phone.

android snesoid qr

Angry Birds

This is the super-popular pig-killing game where you have to shoot some birds on a slingshot.

It’s a simple game, but it’s really addicting. It’s not hard to finish the game, but it’s harder to get three stars (the maximum) for each stage.

I’ve spent countless hours on this game.

Best of all, iPhone users have to pay for this game but Android users get it for FREE!

angry birds

angry birds

Usability: 4/5
Performance: 4/5
Design: 5/5
Functionality: 5/5
Overall Rating: 18/20

You can use this QR code to download Angry Birds on your Android phone.

angry birds qr

Flight Director (Lite)

In this game, you play the role of an air traffic controller, and have to guide the planes to land safely. Planes are colour coded, so you have to make them land on the correct runway.

What I like about the app is it uses actual airport layouts from Google Maps.

android flight director 1

It’s pretty easy at first, but gets more challenging as time goes on because more planes arrive simultaneously.

android flight director 2

It’s nice whenever games like this incorporate touch screen functions in a clever way.

Unfortunately, the lite version only comes with two maps and the hard difficulty mode disabled. The full version (paid app) is not available on the Market, but I am planning to buy it via Market Enabler.

Usability: 5/5
Performance: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Functionality: 3/5 (because it’s a limited lite version)
Overall Rating: 16/20

You can use this QR code to download Flight Director (Lite) on your Android phone.

android flight director qr

3G Watchdog

This application runs in the background to monitor your data usage. Obviously if you’re using DiGi’s DG Smart Plan, you don’t have to worry about bandwidth because you get an unlimited data plan.

But I’m the curious and techie type of person who just loves to keep stats on everything.

android 3g watchdog 1 android 3g watchdog 2

You just have to configure your quota, and the app will warn you if you reach your quota. You could even disable data access when you reach the limit.

As you can see, I’m a light data user because I’m on WiFi most of the time.

Usability: 3/5
Performance: 4/5
Design: 2/5
Functionality: 5/5
Overall Rating: 14/20

You can use this QR code to download 3G Watchdog on your Android phone.

android 3g watchdog qr

Evernote

If you are an Evernote user, this app will give you a convenient way to add notes.

If you’ve never heard of Evernote, the service allows you to track notes containing images, links and sound clips. These notes can be tagged, and are stored online to be accessible on any computer or mobile device.

This is the home screen of Evernote. You can take a new snapshot, upload a file, write a new note or record an audio clip. You access your notes via the menu.

android evernote 1 android evernote 2

As you can see, I use Evernote to keep coupons, recipes, name cards and all sorts of random information.

My favourite feature about the app is the searching. In the following example, I search for the phrase ‘Large pizza’ and it returns one of my Domino’s coupons.

android evernote 3 android evernote 4

That’s really amazing because any text in any image you upload to Evernote is indexed via OCR (optical character recognition)!

This app helps me to keep my house clear of those small bits of paper, and it could be even more useful if you use it to keep your study notes or journals.

My only complaint is, it can be quite slow to upload an image. Probably could be due to the OCR indexing.

Usability: 4/5
Performance: 2/5
Design: 4/5
Functionality: 5/5
Overall Rating: 15/20

You can use this QR code to download Evernote on your Android phone.

android evernote qr

Ringtone MP3

One of the first things people do when they get a new phone is to change ringtones right? In fact, the ringtone download industry is very lucrative.

The only problem is, it’s difficult to get ringtones of your favourite songs, and even if you can find the song, you can’t gurantee you can get your favourite part of the song.

This app is your solution.

There are three options in this app’s home screen. Download Panel shows the status of current downloads, My Music shows you all MP3s on your phone and My Ringtones shows you all ringtones on your ohone.

Entering text in the search will browse the Internet for MP3s matching your search term. In the following example, I searched for ‘Coldplay’.

It returns a list of Coldplay ringtones, but most of the time MP3s of entire songs are also displayed.

android mp3 ringtone 1 android mp3 ringtone 2

You can select which portion of the song to convert into a ringtone, set the play duration and it will be saved as a new MP3 file. You can then use your custom MP3 as a ringtone.

android mp3 ringtone 3 android mp3 ringtone 4

Obviously, one undocumented feature of this app is allowing you to download pirated MP3s, but I’m not encouraging you to do that.

Usability: 4/5
Performance: 3/5
Design: 3/5
Functionality: 5/5
Overall Rating: 15/20

As I write this review, this app seems to be removed from the Android Market, but a version 2 of the app is there. You can use this QR code to download Ringtone MP3 v2 to your Android phone.

Waze

Waze (pronounced Ways) is a real time traffic reporting tool / maps / GPS navigator application.

If you like listening to traffic reports on radio then this is the app for you.

I like this app because it allows me to see if there are traffic jams along my route If yes, I can plan to take an alternate route.

When you open up the app, it uses GPS to find your location and plot your path on the map. Any traffic jams will cause the road to turn red, and any accidents are marked with an icon.

You can scan real time alerts… in the following example I saw a report of an accident on LDP.

android waze 1 android waze 2

You can also send chit chat messages, in case you want to chat with other Wazers in the area.

The app adds a gaming element to your travel by granting points whenever you make a report, or whenever you discover a new route.

android waze 3 android waze 4

The service is still in beta, so you might encounter some bugs (like suddenly going off the map). Also, there aren’t many Malaysian Wazers yet so your experience with the app will vary depending on your location.

Usability: 3/5
Performance: 3/5
Design: 2/5
Functionality: 3/5
Overall Rating: 11/20

You can use this QR code to download Waze on your Android phone.

android waze qr

Conclusion

I hope I have done justice to the Android apps, and I hope you enjoyed my list.

I’ve covered 10 apps in this post and I haven’t even mentioned live wallpapers, multimedia apps and phone security apps.

I could easily include 10 more apps, but I think that’s enough for today.

🙂

Feel free to suggest in the comments if you have any other Android apps to recommend.