7 days with my Ice Cream Samsung

Last week I flashed my Samsung Galaxy S II with the official Android 4 firmware from Samsung. Here’s some information and semi-random thoughts about the upgrade and my Ice Cream Sandwich on Samsung-experience so far.

  1. About the upgrade:
  2. What Ice Cream Samsung is like:
    • Battery life actually seems a bit better than with the Gingerbread-based firmware.
    • Ice Cream Sandwich seems slightly faster as well, more responsive.
    • ICS isn’t all that different, from a user interface point of view. Some small tweaks and usability improvements, but nothing major.
    • Face unlock (having Android unlock your phone after recognizing your face) is a nice gadget, but it’s of little use if you value security.
    • More interesting, from a security point of view, are “encrypt device” and “encrypt SD card”. Should give that a try.
    • The data usage app is really great, allowing you to monitor and manage data usage for the entire device and on a per-app basis. “Data Usage” is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the hidden treasures in ICS!
  3. Tailoring ICS to my liking:
    • I’m not a fan of Samsung’s TouchWiz, which also features in their ICS implementation, so I don’t use it.
    • At first I installed Nova, an ICS-only launcher, but I wasn’t blown away, so I reverted to good old ADW.
    • I rooted the phone with CF-root to be able to install SetCPU.
    • SetCPU, which I had previously used on my HTC, seemed to work all right at first, but it sometimes put my phone into a deep sleep during phone calls or when idle, with nothing but a forced reboot to wake it up. I uninstalled SetCPU (and am still looking for a similar tool to save battery mainly).
    • I also installed AdFree Android, which adds known ad-domains to your hosts-file, having them point to localhost. Only for rooted phones, but it works like a charm. More privacy and better battery-life will be yours!

So I’m good, for now. But I’m sure I’ll be very tempted when Cyanogenmod 9 for the Galaxy SII comes out. Go TeamHacksung!

Pimping my Samsung Galaxy S II

didn’t really like the look & feel of my Galaxy S II’s GUI, so I decided to customize my experience to feel a bit more at home on my “personal digital assistant”. One of the first things I did (after installing some apps) was extracting my old wallpaper from the Cyanogenmod 6 zip-file to replace the ugly Samsung wallpaper.
Next on my hitlist: getting rid of Samsung’s iPhoney TouchWiz. I was very fond of the simple elegance of the open source ADW launcher on my Cyanogenmod-ized HTC Magic  (which is for sale by the way), so I installed ADW.Launcher from the Android Market. I then configured ADW to display 5 instead of the default 4 rows to better use that incredible screen resolution.
A small inconvenience of ADW.Launcher is that you don’t get notification-bubbles that display the number of new mails, messages or missed calls on the icons of those applications. ADWNotifier, an ADW.Launcher plugin, solves that problem just fine.
What’s next? Rooting that fabulous GT9100, I guess. And maybe try this early Cyanogenmod 7 build for it?