Monthly Archives: October 2013

Samsung TouchWiz Might Be Better Than Android 4.4 Update

Recently, I bought a Galaxy Note 3 on a whim. I never owned a Note device, but thought it would be an interesting device for my smartphone collection. After my enjoyable experience with the HTC One on Sense 5 and Android 4.1.2, I wasn’t sure how I’d adjust to TouchWiz. Long story short – I’ve adjusted just fine.

Before I go on about TouchWiz, I want to make a general statement about Android; after it hit v.4.1.2 and moreso, 4.2.2, I found Android itself to offer essentially everything I want and need in a smartphone. That is of course, until the next big idea comes around, whether that’s from Android, iOS, or Windows Phone 8. Android is now a very mature and stable platform; yes, there are still bugs, it still isn’t as smooth as iOS or WP8, and I’m sure there are features in custom ROMs that would be nice to have. But that’s the point; a lot of stuff is in the “nice to have”, not in the “must-haves” or even the “I really want X feature” categories.

With that said, skins no longer mean a hard decision because it still runs Android. I understand the arguments about aesthetics and design choices, along with discussions on hardware decisions (e.g. the button decisions like the format of the HTC One and the menu button on the Galaxy devices), but those are all subjective, so I’ll leave it at that. One thing I will say is that having a Home button makes it incredibly easy to wake the phone when it’s sitting on my table or desk without having to reach to the side or top to find the power button; this alone is a huge feature for me, but I digress.

With Android, I’m able to do everything I want and need to do with ease and customizability is still the best of every mobile OS out there. That means less boredom, and more utility. But skins like Touchwiz add a lot to the equation; I’m really enjoying the S-Pen on the Galaxy Note, and features like Multi-Window really do stand out as features that make the whole mobile experience better. For example, before I got the Note 3, I had a Nexus 7 and an HTC One. If I was watching YouTube videos and chatting, I would use the Nexus 7 for the video, then pick up the HTC One in order to chat through SMS, Hangouts, or Facebook Messenger. The ability to dock a YouTube video up top and continue on with my chats, browse Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and the web, all without having to switch apps, is amazing.

The one thing that DOES bother me is that it’s more difficult to access Now; I installed a free shortcut app called Home2 that allows me to double tap Home to get to Now, but I shouldn’t have to do that. A long press on the Home button does show a Google shortcut, and long pressing menu sometimes works to launch Now (it launches S Finder if I hold the button for a second too long), but it shouldn’t be that hard. But I do have to say that I find that this is really the only nuisance I’ve come across.

As many of you, I eagerly anticipate the launch of 4.4 and the 2013 revisions to the Nexus lineup, and perhaps a new device (Google SmartWatch?). But even so, this one-time Nexus and Stock Android warrior has found peace with manufacturer skins. I’d even give LG’s skin/UI a shot!


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Android, Galaxy, Phones, Samsung


Tags: , , ,

Samsung Galaxy Express 2 lands on Vodafone 4G Tomorrow

The Samsung Galaxy Express 2 is warping across the galaxy to Vodafone this week, giving you a 4G option that hopefully won’t beam all the cash out of your wallet.

The Galaxy Express — apart from sounding like a 1980s Saturday morning cartoon — is a mid-range 4G Android phone. It sports a 4.5-inch screen with a 1.7GHz dual core processor and 1.5GB RAM underneath.

The software is Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which isn’t as up-to-date as we’d like from a new phone — Android 4.4 is just around the corner — but then this is a more wallet-friendly option than cutting-edge phones.

Other features include a 5-megapixel camera with flash and a low-resolution camera on the front for video chat, with 8GB of storage for your snaps, apps, music and movies. It also packs Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.

The Galaxy Express 2 LTE UK release date is tomorrow, 23 October, only from Vodafone. It comes in white or blue colours; the blue is just for Vodafone customers but the white version will be available from other networks “at a later date.”

Vodafone offers extra-fast 4G LTE data for mobile phones, tablets and dongles in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Nottingham and Sheffield, with Glasgow scheduled to be switched on this week. If you sign up this month, Vodafone will give you an extra 4GB of data each month.


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Android, Galaxy, Phones, Samsung


Tags: , ,

Official Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 Update (Download Guide)

Samsung have launched the Jelly Bean 4.3 update for the Snapdragon 600 quad core and the Exynos 5 Octa core version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that comes with the model number GT-i9500. The official build is said to make the handset faster and it comes with several improvements along with optimisations.

The base firmware is I9500XXUEMJ5, and the Jelly Bean 4.3 update is now rolling out in Russia. Owners of the device are able to get the firmware through Kies along with OTA.

Firmware details
Model: GT-I9500
Country: Russia
Version: Android 4.3
Changelist: 1875800
Build date: 14 October
Product code: SER

If you are not in Russia you can follow the step by step guide to installing the update manually with the Odin tool.

As the I9500XXUEMJ5 build is an unbranded version of firmware, it can be installed on any unlocked GT-I9500 unit, irrespective of region and country.


1) Install USB Drivers for Samsung Galaxy S4 to connect the Android device with computer.

2) Enable USB Debugging Mode on phone to connect it with the computer and use Android SDK with it. [Press Menu>> Settings>> Applications. From there navigate and click on Development option then check USB Debugging Mode.]

3) As the tutorial is likely to wipe out all data of the phone, create a backup. If the device is having any custom recoveries such as CWM/TWRP installed then backup data using the recovery.

4) The Galaxy S4 should have battery charge above 80%.

5) The device should be factory unlocked and not locked to a particular carrier.

6) The phone will lose custom ROM with the installation of official firmware. Also, the custom recovery will be replaced by the stock recovery.

7) The device will no longer belong to a rooted version once official firmware is installed.

8) XXUEMJ5 Android 4.3 official firmware works only with Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9500. As flashing this on any incorrect variant might brick the device, verify the model number of Galaxy S4 by navigating to Settings>> About phone>> Model number.

Steps to install XXUEMJ5 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean on Samsung Galaxy S4 I9500

Step-1: Download I9500XXUEMJ5 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (Alternative link ) official firmware for Galaxy S4 to computer. Extract the downloaded firmware file to get


Step-2: Download Odin3.09 . Extract Odin zip to get Odin v3.09.exe in it

Step-3: Double-click to open the Odin3 v3.09.exe file to start Odin

Step-4: Boot the Galaxy S4 in to Download Mode. To do so, first power off the phone and wait for five to six seconds after the display is off. Press and hold Volume Down, Power and Home buttons together until a warning screen appears. Then press the Volume Up button to continue to enter into Download Mode

Step-5: Connect the phone to computer using USB cable while it is in Download Mode. The successful connection will be indicated by an Added message in Odin

Note: If the Added message does not appear then follow these troubleshooting issues.

Verify USB driver is installed properly.

If the driver is installed, try to uninstall and then reinstall it again.

Try different USB port on the computer.

Reboot the phone and computer and then try again.

Step-6: Load the file, extracted from I9500XXUEMJ5, in Odin

Click the AP button in Odin and select I9500XXUEMJ5_I9500SEREMJ5_I9500XXUEMJ5_HOME.tar.md5 file

The Odin window might freeze and show ‘Not responding’ alert because of the large size of the AP file. There is nothing to worry, it will get back to normal.

Step-7: Under the Option section in Odin, verify Auto Reboot and F.Reset Time checkboxes are selected. All other boxes should be unchecked

Step-8: Double check everything and click the Start button in Odin to begin the installation

Step-9: A PASS message will appear when the flashing is completed and the phone will restart automatically. Once the home screen appear, unplug the USB cable form the phone

Note: Instead of a PASS message if FAIL message comes, disconnect the Galaxy S4 from the computer, close Odin, remove the battery of the phone and reinsert the battery in three to four seconds, open Odin and then repeat from step-3.

Samsung Galaxy S4 will automatically reboot and boot into I9500XXUEMJ5 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean official firmware.

Troubleshoot issue after flashing

After installation if the phone comes across issues such as Boot animation, bootloop, phone running slow or app force closing then perform a factory reset of the device using recovery to resolve the issues. To do so, first switch off the phone. Press and hold Home, Volume Up and Power buttons together until the phone turns on then release all three buttons. In recovery mode, use Volume keys to scroll between options and Power button to select the desired option. Navigate to Wipe data/Factory Reset and select it. Then select Yes to confirm the action on the next screen. Select Reboot system now to boot the phone. This should fix the bootloop issue of the Galaxy S4. It should be noted that performing data wiping will erase the internal data of the phone, therefore, backup data before proceeding.


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Android, Galaxy, Phones, Samsung


Tags: , , ,

How To Unlock A Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Or S3 For Free

Anyone who has a locked version of a Samsung handsets, for instance the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or S3 can now unlock their device and then use it with any carrier.

Say for instance you bought the Samsung Galaxy S3 with Verizon. If the handset is locked then it can only be used with that carrier. But if you were to unlock it and you are not in contract then you could take it to any carrier.

You would even be able to send the handset overseas.

So take out your Verizon SIM card, or the SIM card of your carrier, and put in any other. Switch your handset off and then turn it back on again.

Go to the dial pad on your phone and type in *#197328640#. Head to your main menu > [1] UMTS > [1] Debug Screen > [8] Phone Control > [6] Network Lock > Options [3] Perso SHA256 OFF. You then need to wait for around 30 seconds before going back into your main menu and selecting back. You should see “Network Lock” now. Choose [4] NW Lock NV Data INITIALLIZ.

The sequence that you should have typed in is “Asterisk Pound One Nine Seven Three Two Eight Six Four Zero Pound”. Don’t forget that some people call the asterisk the star button, and call the pound button hash.

You should now be holding a Galaxy handset that you can use with any SIM card anywhere in the world. Bear in mind that as this code has been used for some time you may be able to use it with just about any Samsung device.


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Android, Galaxy, Phones, Samsung


Tags: , , ,

Some International Samsung Galaxy S4 Models Now Receiving Android 4.3 update

Builds of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 first began to leak out way back in June, well before Google had even had the chance to properly announce the new version of its mobile operating system. Fast-forward to this week and there’s some good news for Galaxy S 4 owners that prefer to stick to the official side of the update tracks, as it appears that Samsung has started pushing Android 4.3 to some international versions of its flagship smartphone.

As noted by SamMobile, both the LTE Galaxy S 4 (GT-I9505) and the HSPA+ Galaxy S 4 (GT-9500) are now receiving their updates to Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The LTE Galaxy S 4 update process is currently underway in Germany, while the HSPA+ model’s update is said to be going out in Russia. As with most software updates, Samsung is pushing Android 4.3 out in phases, so Galaxy S 4 owners not located in one of the two aforementioned countries will need to continue to wait for their own taste of 4.3.

Samsung hasn’t published an official changelog for its Android 4.3 bump, but those folks that’ve already received the new software have spent some time digging through it and discovered several notable enhancements. The update is said to contain improvements to the TouchWiz launcher, Samsung keyboard and browser and the Galaxy S 4’s RAM management, as well as Samsung’s Knox security feature and the company’s Wallet app. Other goodies include support for Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch and a handful of small UI tweaks.

Even though it’s only rolling out to a couple of countries right now, it’s still good to see that the latest version of Jelly Bean has started to make its way to the TouchWiz-ified Galaxy S 4. It’s not yet clear when S 4 owners in other parts of the globe will receive their own updates to Android 4.3, especially when you remember that carrier testing can have a major effect on an update’s rollout in some countries, but at least now we’ve got an idea of the the types of goodies that Samsung has packed into the Galaxy S 4’s Android 4.3 upgrade.


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Android, Galaxy, Phones, Samsung


Tags: ,

Samsung launches Galaxy Trend and Galaxy Star Pro in India

Almost a month after Galaxy Trend duos went on sale in India, Samsung has decided to make it official today. The company has also launched Galaxy Star Pro smartphone, which has been available for over a fortnight in the country.

According to a press release issued by the company, Samsung Galaxy Trend can be purchased in black, red, and white colours for INR 8,290, while Galaxy Star Pro has got a price-tag of INR 6,750.

“At Samsung, we are committed to listening to our consumers and providing innovative, yet affordable technology to them. GALAXY Trend and GALAXY Star Pro will provide our consumers an exceptionally rich mobile experience in regional languages with the ability to access an array of apps in their preferred language.  We believe these new devices coupled with the innovative language capability will help us address a larger set of consumers,” said Vineet Taneja, Country Head, Samsung Mobiles & IT.

The company has also noted that both phones come with support for 9 Indian regional languages including Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil. Not only can consumers browse the web, send SMS, and enjoy the phone interface in any of the 9 languages, but also use several applications in any of these languages.

Samsung Galaxy Star Pro GT-S7262 key specifications

* 4-inch WVGA display (800x480p)
* Dual-SIM support
* 1GHz single-core Cortex A5 processor
* 512B of RAM, 4GB of storage, microSD card slot
* Android 4.1
* Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, MicroUSB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
* 1500 mAh battery
* 2MP rear camera

Samsung Galaxy Trend GT-S7392 key specifications

* 4.0-inch WVGA display (800×480p)
* Dual-SIM support
* 1GHz processor
* 512MB RAM, 4GB internal memory, microSD card slot
* 3MP rear camera
* 1500mAh battery
* 3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS/AGPS
* Android 4.0


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 24, 2013 in Android, Galaxy, Phones, Samsung


Tags: , , , ,

Samsung Galaxy S5: Release Date Delayed to March or April Due to Magnetic Resonance Wireless Charging

Samsung may be featuring another big thing in place of fingerprint scanner on the upcoming Galaxy S5 for 2014. New reports hinted an upgraded wireless charging technology called Magnetic Resonance for the smartphone to allow owners charge S5 wirelessly without requiring any docking ports but its release date may be moved to March or April.

Samsung Galaxy S5 with Magnetic Resonance

According to ETNews, Samsung is currently working on a new form of wireless charging and it will allow Galaxy S5 owners to charge the device at longer distances without requiring any charging pod.

Wireless charging known today requires a charging pod which receives the energy from the charger plugged on AC source and delivered to the device. For quite some time, rumours have spread about an upcoming new wireless charging and it seems like Samsung will make it come true in 2014.

However, reports also indicate that the technology may not be ready in early 2014 and probably during the middle of the year. Samsung aims to get the technology done by the middle of 2014 which makes Galaxy S5 launching date in March or April, similar with Galaxy S4 timeline.

If successful, upcoming Galaxy smartphones and tablets may feature Magnetic Resonance wireless charging technology.

Fingerprint Sensor

Primarily, Galaxy S5 has been rumoured to feature its own fingerprint sensor to match Apple’s iPhone 5S. Unfortunately, the technology planned to be used appears too young for quality.

Korea Herald reported Samsung’s skipping over its fingerprint technology feature on Galaxy S5 since it is not yet ready at this time. The company needs more time to improve their fingerprint sensor to match quality test for commercial use.

One possible device which may feature is the Galaxy Note 4. Note devices are usually announced at the middle of the year during September and October and it is logical for Samsung to decide on adding a fingerprint scanner on Note 4 to match quality, function and intelligence of the phablet.

“We never officially admitted that Samsung was weighing the fingerprint system and Knox for Galaxy Note 3 for security functions. We are not yet developing the technology,” an unnamed Samsung executive told Korea Herald.

Crucialtec, a Korean company, is the best bet to help out fingerprint sensor on Samsung mobile devices but Crucialtec remains behind Authentec in terms of patents and solutions which make their technology one year far from being stable.

Rumoured Technical Specifications

Nothing is clear yet regarding Galaxy S5 technical specifications as everything remains to be rumoured floating around. But some of them may probably happen in 2014.

* All-new design which probably made of metal

* Ultra-slim RAM chipset

* Slimmer battery pack

* Android 4.4 KitKat

* Exynos 6 processor with 64-bit support

* 13MP camera

* Wireless charging using Magnetic Resonance


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Android, Galaxy, Phones, Samsung


Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: