For months the rumor has been floating around that my phone, the Samsung SGH-I607 (more commonly known as the Blackjack), would be getting a new operating system. It began its life with Windows Mobile 5. It would be upgraded to Windows Mobile 6.
I first heard this rumor about the time I got the phone, in the fall. There were dates announced and missed. Then Samsung came out with the Blackjack II.
Now there was a new rumor. With a new model, Samsung would stop any work on its older models.
Last night, while poking around, I found an article saying Samsung had actually released the update last week. I moved my focus to bulletin boards where the geekiest were already discussing their individual results (which like your mileage, can vary).
Two tidbits stood out. The Blackjack could still be used as a modem for connecting to the Internet (valuable if you’re sitting in an airline terminal or hotel with ‘pay only’ Internet access) and it now worked with Google’s GPS-less mapping system.
As much as I wanted to wait and let the smoke clear, I was drawn by a force more powerful than apprehension. The update had to go in and it had to go in now.
Putting a new operating system in your telephone is not a simple thing.
Samsung posted instructions on their website. There were lots of steps… steps that implied the phone really wasn’t designed for the untrained masses to perform this surgery. There was software to be loaded onto my PC (XP, not Vista – thank you), then pushed to the phone. Software switches would be thrown, then switched back.
For long periods of time, the cellphone sat with a barebones screen showing changing parameters in Comic Sans (to understand my feelings about Comic Sans, read this). I was beginning to worry I’d ‘bricked’ my phone.
The whole process took around 30 minutes. By the time I was done, the phone was actually working, infused with the geeky goodness of Windows Mobile 6.
I had backed up all my data, so my phone numbers would easily go back in. My ringtones, actually the ABC World News Tonight music, is now too large to be played. I’ll have to find a replacement. I also forgot to back up my customized home screen. I’ll have to rework that too.
There are a few unexpected improvements. Youtube now works on the phone! I can also now easily read Microsoft Windows documents, spreadsheets and PowerPoint files.
Already, people on the bulletin boards are complaining the upgrade doesn’t include Microsoft’s voice command software with the ability to do most functions handsfree. I expect someone will figure a way before long.
This upgrade is not for the faint of heart. There are many confusing steps spread between the PC and cellphone. Wild horses couldn’t have kept me from doing it.