12 September 2010

Froyo and the Galaxy S

Yesterday, I took the plunge and successfully upgraded my Samsung S to Froyo. This was with ROM I9000XXJP3 which although released by Samsung in Kies, does not appear to be an official release ROM version. I thought the experience was worth sharing for anyone else that might be thinking about it.

Steps to install

First off, I didn't use Kies to to the upgrade (as described in this XDA developers post) for several reasons:
  • I hate Kies even more than I hate iTunes - at least iTunes is vaguely useful for organising play lists, and does a proper backup of your device. Anyway, moving on...
  • Upgrading Kies to the version which contained the new ROM took over ten hours, after which my laptop was no longer able to recognise my phone because the USB drivers had been destroyed.
  • Another five hours of trying things to fix the drivers had not solved the problem so I gave up and switched to my other laptop.
  • As it turns out, Samsung have stopped the update being available in Kies anyway.
So here is what actually worked for me. I was starting from an already unlocked phone, and ADB with working USB drivers installed, then the steps were:
The upgrade went totally smoothly and very shortly my Galaxy S automatically rebooted into Froyo loveliness.

So what's the big deal?

The most noticeable difference so far is the speed - the 3-4 second delay when opening an activity is all but gone and the phone phone feels much nicer to use as a result. This was the one thing that had been stopping me saying that the Galaxy S was as good as an iPhone 4.

The second major thing is Flash 10.1 support so I don't get crappy messages on sites that insist on it. Sorry Steve, but it's going to be a long time before everyone has moved to HTML5.

Other things are more cosmetic - there's an option in the Market to allow automatic updates which sounds nice, settings have colour icons, there's a GPS toggle in the windowshade when you drag down the notification bar, apps can now install to the SD card (although to do this by default you have to do some tweaking), and so on.

Teething troubles

A few things could have been better:
  • Some of the settings were lost - display timeouts, lock screen config, etc., which wasn't a surprise. Account details for Google accounts were preserved, but others (e.g. Hotmail) lost. Not a biggy.
  • I chose not to repartition during the update, but many apps crashed when first run so needed reinstalling (either from the Market or from my ASTRO backup). With hindsight I probably would have just repartitioned to give a clean start and then restored everything in one go from ASTRO.
  • Pure Calendar (which is one of my favourite widgets) has vanished, is not visible to me in the Market, and wasn't backed up by ASTRO. It turns out this is because I9000XXJP3 isn't official (as far as Google are concerned) and so copy-protected apps are hidden. More info from the developer of Pure Calendar here. Copy-protected apps can be backed up if you've rooted your device, e.g. using Titanium Backup, but I didn't know that at the time.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the upgrade, if a little frustrated at having to reinstall apps and losing Pure Calendar. When Samsung release an official ROM later this month I'll be upgrading to that using the same process again.

Update 2010-09-13

I've now rooted it following instructions from here, and applied RyanZA's One Click Lag Fix from the Market roughly using instructions from here, which pretty-much doubled my Quadrant score up to 1766. The phone is blindingly fast now - definitely recommend.