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Samsung Vibrant

For the last two and a half years, I have been an avid iPhone 3G user. I’ve probably spent upwards of $80 on various apps and just as much on random accessories. Once iOS 4 came out I really started to hate my iPhone. The new OS made my 3G ridiculously slow to the point where I would be waiting 1.5 seconds or more for the touchscreen to actually respond to any actions I was making. I contemplated going with the iPhone 4 but I honestly wanted to break free from the iPhone. I didn’t care about the front-facing camera which meant that the Galaxy S series phones would be the next best thing for me.

So in November I finally decided to make the switch to an Android based phone. I went with the Samsung Galaxy-S Vibrant. It is an amazing phone! The Vibrant has a 4″ WVGA Super AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass, 5MP Camera, supports 720p recording, 1GHz Humingbird processor and has 16GB of built-in storage with support for up to 32GB more with a microSDHC card.

The learning curve was pretty easy going from iOS to Android. The one thing I was hesitant of before even using the phone was the default Android keyboard but I installed Smart Keyboard Pro so I wouldn’t have to deal with the default. Other then that I was able to jump straight into the Android OS with little issues. In fact, some of the default UI was SO much better than on the iPhone it really made it’s usage much more efficient. No longer did I have to jailbreak the phone to have a springboard; I can just drag down my status bar on Android to access quick on/off functionalities for certain features and of course being able to see all notifications.

Samsung Vibrant Applications

It’s been over two months since I’ve gone Android and it’s definitely the best choice I could have made. I lucked out on my timing for switching to Android. Majority of the applications I used on iOS now have their own Android version in the App Market. Perhaps this was another reason why I held off on changing my phone for so long and not switching to Android earlier–I just didn’t want to have inferior Android apps and/or not have any alternative. Sure, there are some apps that I will no longer ever see on Android (TapTapTap, I’m looking at you!) but when I look at how often I’ve utilized them on iOS after purchasing, it’s not really a con for me. You can check out what apps I’m using on my AppBrain.com profile. It may look like a lot but it includes stock apps. I also don’t like utilizing too many apps so I often install/uninstall pending on its usage.

Neowin.net on the Samsung Vibrant

This has honestly been the best phone I’ve been able to use thus far. I tried out the iPhone 4 and a few of the WP7 phones that were out during early November but the Galaxy S series stuck. I think my favorite thing about the phone is the softkeys on the phone. I’ve got a settings key (works in phone itself and for apps that utilize it), home key, back key (works awesome for browser and in apps) and of course the search key. The first day of playing with the Vibrant, I jumped back to my iPhone 3G (since it was still active with old number) I found myself already fumbling to use the home and back button only to be annoyed I had to either tap the screen to go back or just hit the home button. I also love the haptic feedback when pressing the softkeys and various other UI elements that work with it (like the keyboard or clicking links in the browser.)

Since Froyo (Android OS version 2.2) has been delayed on the T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant perhaps until early next year, Steve and I ended up flashing our phones to an unofficial ROM for Froyo thanks to the awesome people over at XDA Forums that have posted up on it. Which, by the way, XDA Developers is probably the best site/forum to be a part of and reference for anything you need to know about your phone. The members there are serious about their phones and anything else related to them (accessories and the like) so it’s where I’ve been referencing for optimizing/updating my phone as well as ensuring I’ve got quality accessories to use with it.

Neowin.net on the Samsung Vibrant

So after a little over two months of usage, I’ve really got the phone optimized for the best battery performance. I have the display brightness dimmed down which is probably the number one reason for extra battery life! I use Advanced Task Manager by Arron La. This app helps me end running processes and/or apps so they’re not sucking the battery juice up. That way if I open up Gowalla, FourSquare, Facebook and Twitter.. they’re all not running which can honestly really drain the battery if I’m off charge for awhile and constantly using the phone. With the slide down status/notification window, I can also turn off wifi easily when I’m out and about. Turning off wifi prevents it from constantly running trying to pick up a signal. It’s just easier for me to stick with 3G data since I’ve got an unlimited data plan. With all of the little tweaks I’ve done, I’ve been able to get to 40 hours of life off of a single charge (from 100%). This includes gMail syncing, minor text messages, minor voice calls, web browsing and app usage. More often I can be found whipping the phone open when I hear my email notification going off.

All-in-all I really love my Samsung Vibrant. The only hard part was having to leave AT&T for T-Mobile. I thought about going for the Samsung Captivate but I was a bit disappointed that AT&T took a nazi approach to locking down the OS. They block 3rd party apps by default and right now there really isn’t a ROM for 2.2 that I’d flash to. I was also really annoyed that I wouldn’t be able to keep my $30/mo unlimited data plan that I’ve had since mid-2008. I’d be going for either 200MB or 2GB, neither of which are suitable for my usage. So I’m with T-Mobile right now and just ported over my number. I tried to get CUP-CAKE but all area codes for the area were taken! Oh well, I don’t mind sticking with a number I’ve been using for 8 years now ;).

I’ve had my iPhone 3G since September, and for months I had been reading articles on jailbreaking the iPhone. It felt like so much work when reading through all of the articles found, but the process was so easy and quick. Since I’m using a Windows machine, I went ahead and decided to use QuickPWN to jailbreak my phone. If you’re using a Mac, you’ll want to Pwnage.

img_0028 It’s not really pertinent to include the steps of what I did with Quickpwn. It was a matter of plugging the iPhone into the USB port, and letting the software recognize the phone. Then you just follow the instructions listed (holding the power button a few seconds, then power+home, then home), and voila, it boots up with your jailbroken iPhone.

You’ll want to backup just in case something goes awry during the process. However, I had no problems at all. Apps, contacts, and all files stayed in tact and no corruption. The main purpose for doing this was because I wanted to take advantage of a bunch of apps that are available through Cydia. Installer.app is included as well, but I prefer what is offered through Cydia at the moment.

img_0033 One thing I would recommend before you download any app on your device, is that you google it online. I didn’t do this, and had some issues that I can’t resolve unless I restore my iPhone. There are some that are going to be buggy, and might not work entirely as it should, and there are some that are going to interfere with other apps that may be loaded as well. One website/forum I have been relying on heavily to find out any issues or recommendations has been modmyi.com which has a bunch of mods for iPhone, iPod, Mac and who knows what else. They are also very involved with apps through Cydia, so there is definitely a chance you can get help for something, or even request an app.

One app that I would stay away is called Kate (RiPDev). Prior to configuring i I went to make a call only to have the mobilephone.app crash on me after 5 seconds of loading. It kept doing this repeatedly since at first I though it was a bad jailbreak, but then I remember I installed Kate. So I went to remove the app, only to still have to problem. Perplexed, I added it back. I then went and googled mobilephone.app, and one of the first results was from modmyi.com: mobilephone.app crash. Someone mentioned that Kate was the culprit on their phone and provided suggestions on how to remove it.

I’ve been through a bunch of threads and have been unsuccessful at this point. Granted, I did get mobilephone.app working once I applied a trial license to Kate. However, once that trial expires you receive no warning and then you better get used to things crashing again. I’ve tried a few of the fixes to undo Kate’s fuckup, but none of them worked, and I didn’t want to resort to restoring. So I went ahead and just purchase a license for it, but don’t go through the trouble I did. Just stay away from it altogether.

img_0030 Granted, the largest advantage of having Kate installed was being able to modify a lot of settings on the phone (but I should mention that there are certains apps that will achieve various effects–you just need to search for their names to get ’em.) But with Kate you can have 5 icons in your dock (there’s another app that can do this, but I don’t know it off hand), change the icons used for a good portion of apps, add privacy settings (eg: no content shown when a text message is received), and a bunch of others I have yet to take advantage of. So if you are interested in paying for the app, there is a chance is will be of value to you. Otherwise you get a short trial (I think a week) so if you don’t want to pay for it, skip out on it.

Some of the other apps I have downloaded and enjoy:

Well, almost two months into the job and things are still going very well. The only thing I still can’t adjust to is that I wake up around 6:30am every morning, yet I still go to sleep around 12:30-1am. There are days when it doesn’t affect me, but I have maybe 1-2 days a week where I feel completely drained and am constantly yawning and fighting to stay awake.

I’m sure eventually I’ll go to sleep early! In other news with the reliable source of income, I’ve made the decision to go ahead and do away with my Samsung Blackjack and get an Apple iPhone 3G. I just really needed something that was more suitable for me as I’m constantly downtown. I need a better way to stay updated on the go, and because I just want to have an iPhone. I’m going in tomorrow to AT&T to upgrade my phone to get the $199 price for the 8GB iPhone. My Blackjack I actually ordered online from eBay so the last time I had an upgrade was in 2006 and it was with a Samsung SGH-D807 aka the Slider Phone.

Not only am I splurging on that but after talking with Armando I decided that I’m going to go ahead divvy up my money. $250 per check will go to my dad, and $200 will go straight into savings. Then the other money I have is pretty much used for gas, $116/mo train pass, and anything leftover is for anything I want to buy. Which I decided would be mostly electronics ranging from a new HDTV LCD monitor (not sure what size yet), Blackmagic Intensity capture card, possibly a new DSL-R, and then trying to fix up my car.

Originally I planned on saving most of money from each check for a new car, but if I’m going to move downtown I won’t need a car to do the public transit around here (that and I hate parallel parking).

Oh, and aside from work I’ve been working with a fantastic designer, Anthony Bullock on getting together a new design for Holdfire so hopefully once that’s 100% complete (he’s working on the subpage design) I’ll be able to get started on the redesign and relaunch for it. 🙂