T-Mobile SGS2 ICS update via Kies successful

Yesterday, I ran into a few problems when trying to update my SGS2 (SGH-T989) to Android 4.0.3 ICS. The problems were indeed related to having Window$ installed in a virtual machine. Both Windows 7 and Windows XP exhibited problems, though different ones, respectively. Today at work, I used my laptop (which has Windows 7 as the host OS) to install the updates via Samsung’s Kies application, and it went through without any major issues. The only problem that I had was that my work’s firewall wouldn’t allow for the download of the firmware. Luckily, I just used another phone as a mobile hotspot, and the upgrade was successful!

After I gave the problems of last evening some thought, it occurred to me that they were likely caused by the USB passthrough functionality of the Type II hypervisor. The operation could have required special privileges in terms of direct USB access on the host machine. As such, the sandboxed environment would likely reject such requests. However, it would have been nice for VirtualBox to have logged some type of error. However, I would imagine that the problem I experienced with the firmware upgrade is similar in nature to 1) not being able to directly access a GPU from within a guest OS, and 2) not being able to burn an audio CD from within a guest OS. Maybe one day these two operations will work, but until then, at least my SGS2 is running ICS.

Android Ice Cream Sandwich ICS

As for ICS, I do like it compared to Gingerbread, but I still don’t like the Samsung proprietary skin of TouchWiz (although it is better than HTC’s mess that is Sense UI). I greatly prefer AOSP ROMs, and especially CyanogenMod (although there is likely a personal bias involved). I’m sure that we’ll have CM9 sometime in the future; at least a completely functional “unofficial” port. Until then, I haven’t found an AOSP ROM of which I’m particularly fond, so the Samsung official 4.0.3 shall do. :)

Cheers,
Zach

T-Mobile US Samsung Galaxy SII (SGS2 SGH-T989) update to Android 4.0.3 ICS

T-Mobile of the United States announced on their support blog yesterday that owners of the T-Mobile variant of the Samsung Galaxy S II (SGS2, or model SGH-T989) would now be able to update their phones from Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread) to Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich [ICS]) via the Samsung Kies application. Interestingly, the update to ICS is only available through the manual installation method through Kies, and will not be sent out OTA (over-the-air).

Since I don’t have any computers that run Windows or Mac OS, I had to fire up a virtual machine in order to install the Samsung Kies application. Other than the download being a bit on the slow side (probably due to Samsung’s download servers being overloaded) and the typical Samsung bloatware, the Kies installation went smoothly inside of a Windows XP SP3 VM. Thereafter, I simply had to enable USB Debugging in the settings menu, connect the phone via USB, and enable USB passthrough in the XP VM. Of course, I had to reboot the VM in order for the application to function properly, as is the case with most Windoze programmes.

I’m not sure if it was related to having Kies installed inside of a VM, but I had to minimise the main Kies application window immediately after starting the programme. If I didn’t do so, the firmware upgrade screens were behind the main application window, and none of the options could be selected. Further, once the process started, the progress window glitched and didn’t display any status updates. After that glitch, the firmware transfer simply halted. At that point, I decided to try the upgrade in a Windows 7 VM. The application installed successfully, and didn’t have the visual glitches that were seen in the XP VM, but I couldn’t get the drivers to function properly in Windows 7, so no go there either.

So much for upgrading to ICS a little bit early… at least from within a VM. Maybe I will give it a try tomorrow on my work laptop, which unfortunately has Windows 7 as the primary OS.

Cheers,
Zach

The Nexus One and Google countdown

I have been waiting for the “right” Android phone for quite a while now. I’ve tried many different ones in the retail stores, but I simply don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a phone if it isn’t darn close to what I want. The Nexus One is certainly the first Android phone that seems to do everything I want it to do. There are certainly some drawbacks, but most things seem to be right. It supposedly comes with Android 2.1, screen resolution of 480×854, a 1GhZ Snapdragon processor, and it won’t feel like a brick in your pocket. I’m certainly looking for other features as well, but those are the primary considerations for me.

Anyway, the main purpose of this post regards the release date/time of the Nexus One. Many are suggesting that the release date is going to be 05 January 2009, but much of this is simply speculation. Well, I found something interesting on Google’s page today. Go to Google, and click “I’m Feeling Lucky” without typing anything into the search box. See that? See that mysterious timer? It seems like this counter recognises one’s timezone, and then calculates the time left (in local time) until the new year (midnight, 01 January 2010). However, could this also be the debut of the Nexus One? Will Google release this phone as a New Year’s present? Of course, this is simply speculation, but one never knows.

|:| Zach |:|