After updating my Samsung Galaxy SII to Jelly Bean a couple of weeks ago, Samsung pushed even newer firmware (I9100XWLSD) to my phone which is the best of all official Samsung ROM’s to date: with the update JuiceDefender was able to squeeze over 50 hours out of my Samsung Galaxy S II battery:
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.
- About the upgrade:
- I didn’t use KIES, the official Samsung upgrade utility as it claimed there was no upgrade.
- Instead I downloaded the ICS image for the Netherlands from sammobile.com and followed the installation procedure as described on the forum there.
- Samsung allows you to flash, no need to crack your bootloader, flash a new recovery image or anything similarly scary.
- Flashing the official firmware does not overwrite data or apps, you don’t loose a thing.
- After booting into the new firmware, your apps are first and foremost optimized for ICS.
- Battery usage was very high after the upgrade, with the Email app (which connects to an Exchange server) using a lot of CPU. I rebooted and the problem went away.
- 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!
- 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!
Just in from Google Mobile Blog: Chrome for Android is out in beta for ICS (Android 4) devices. I won’t bore you with the marketing video, but this “Under the hood” video is a lot more interesting:
Looks like the superb Firefox for Android is (finally) getting some competition. I guess it really is time to upgrade my Galaxy SII to the recently leaked ICS rom!