Virgin Mobile Samsung Intercept

As a linux user, I absolutely had to have an android phone, and the Intercept was the only android offered by Virgin Mobile (where I've been accumulating a large account balance I'd like to use for something more than rolling over minutes I never use).

The Samsung Intercept Forum was one place I found a lot of useful information to get me going.

I like the phone well enough, no regrets buying it, but complaints are more fun to talk about, so here's my collection of annoyances found so far:

The first thing you notice about it, is the unbelievably annoying Virgin Mobile music(?)/screaming that greets you when you power the phone on or off. After only a couple of weeks I found it utterly necessary to root my phone to get rid of the sound files.

After the update to Froyo (android 2.2) I had to use a different root technique to get rooted again.

The case is all smooth and streamlined. I suppose it looks good, but it means that if you try to slide out the keyboard you are more likely to squirt the phone out of your hand than to get the keyboard open :-).

Speaking of the keyboard, I'm not sure it is as valuable as I thought it might be. It is tiny enough that typing on it is just about as irritating as typing on the onscreen keyboard (but you do get more screen space with the physical keyboard).

With near 100% statistical certainty I can say there is a bug in the gmail app. If I let it try to automatically sync mail, the phone will freeze up or even reboot itself at least once a day. I disabled gmail sync, and it has been about a week with no crash (and I didn't have a single crash before I enabled gmail sync either). I've enabled IMAP on my gmail account and added the account to the normal default email app. It hasn't crashed yet configured that way.

This post on the intercept forum describes a problem I also see frequently, and fortunately also gives a work around. When the notifications bar stops working, holding down the home button till the recent apps window pops up, then pressing the back button makes the notifications start working again.

I can't get the PPTP VPN client to connect to my corporate Microsoft PPTP VPN server, and the phone gives just about zero information about why it can't connect, so it is kinda hard to debug.

Hopefully the 2.2 update promised for the spring 2011 time frame will fix some of these.

I suspect this is a linux problem more than a phone problem, but attempting to plug the usb cable into my linux box makes the the linux box freak out. It seems to think it is a storage device, but until I press the button on the phone, it isn't a storage device, so linux's attempt to recognize it as soon as I plug it in fills the logs with strange messages. Much simpler to pull the card out and put it in a real card reader that actually is nothing but a storage device.

OK, enough complaining, what do I like about the phone?

The android market seems pretty nice. So far I haven't thought of anything I haven't been able to find in the market and most of them are free.

The PowerAMP music player is one I was willing to pay for so it could play my huge collection of WMA encoded music without having to convert it to mp3 or something.

The support for up to 32GB microSDHC cards was nice as well (since it takes almost that much to hold all my music).

I've now got it running every aspect of my life, with calorie counter, med helper, alarm clock, calendar, contacts, etc. Of course there is always the slight feeling that I've become a character from Metropolis, and the nagging worry that google is actually the advance scout for the alien invasion and they will know everything about everyone on earth when the invasion finally happens.

I look forward to the day when they figure out how to make much bigger displays that are just as portable. Maybe something that can unfold or a direct retina projection that could be any size imaginable. Till then, the display I have is pretty readable even with tiny fonts.

I'm not real impressed by 3G, I suspect 7G wouldn't make me happy either, but the Wi-Fi connection seems rock solid on my home network, and it is a lot faster than 3G.

Oh yea, it even makes phone calls, and the voice quality seems much better than my old phone did on the same Sprint network.

I close with a link to my home page.

Page last modified Wed Apr 27 19:20:22 2011