Android Arena




GALAXY Note – Car Mount hands-on Review (made by Samsung)

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Galaxy Note is a large and expensive phone, and you don’t want to use some flimsy “squeeze-together” phone mount with weak suction cup, that would be falling off your windshield while you are driving. For this monster of a phone, you need a monster car-mount. Samsung has created just that – an official Car Mount for Samsung Galaxy Note.

Below you can see a hands-on video review of this car mount and also what I think of it, after using it for a week. You can get this Galaxy Note car mount from Amazon.com for about $45 with shipping.

Galaxy Note car mount video review:


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As you can see in my hands-on video, this Samsung car mount for Galaxy Note is very well built, and takes advantage of all the features that a Galaxy Note can offer.

Thoughts after using this Samsung Galaxy Note car mount for 1 week

I’ve given this car mount a good “test drive” for about a week now. After trying and essentially breaking at least 3 other “universal” car mounts (from best buy and other stores) I realized, that those are not a good option as something will always break on them soon or they will just fall apart by themselves. I needed a quality car mount designed specifically for my phone.

Up until I got this Samsung car mount, I was using another very cool car mount by Clingo. The Clingo universal car mount has a sticky pad – so you basically just place the phone or GPS onto this pad and it holds very securely. However, the pad is reported to melt in the summer heat, so I’m a little leery about using it in the summer months (a full review if this Clingo universal car mount is coming soon).

image of Samsung Galaxy Note Vehicle Navigation Mount

Now that I have this Samsung unit, it’s proven to be very useful and easy to use. It is a bit on a price side (about $45 vs generic universal mounts costing about $20), but after going through 3 cheap car mounts in a matter of 9 months, and not that I learned my Clingo sticky mount may be a problem in the summer, I think this Samsung car mount is a great buy!

Pros and Cons of Samsung Car Mount for GALAXY Note

PROS – thing I personally like about it:

  • Well built, durable construction, with EXCELLENT suction cup, that does not fall off your windshield!
  • Built in charging port, that activate Car Mode, which makes it easy to use phone’s “car features” with voice control.
  • Fits Galaxy Note perfectly – you don’t have to worry about your phone falling out of the “cradle”
  • Make you Galaxy Note an excellent GPS Navigation unit
  • Durable design allows you to easily operate the phone with your hands, while it is mounted. DO NOT DO THIS WHILE YOU DRIVE!
  • Unit does not shake or vibrate when you are driving, so you can make very stable videos or pictures while driving.

CONS – thing I don’t like about it:

  • This car mount is rather pricey at $45, but it is a Genuine Samsung car mount designed specifically for Galaxy Note.
  • You will have to remove any phone case / cover, before you can place it into this car mount.
  • You cannot use this unit with any other phone, GPS or other device(s).
  • Instead of regular car charger, they could have included USB cable plus USB to 12-volt car plug adapter
  • It is difficult to adjust the unit vertically / horizontally, without loosening the “wheel” on the back. It may be dangerous to do it while driving.

Basically, this car mount is not perfect, but it is very very nice nevertheless, and is not far from perfect. Honestly, there is not many things that I would change about it, or that COULD be changed, given the design and features it provides.

Stay tuned for more Galaxy Note accessories reviews. Next on the list are Case for Galaxy Note by Elago ($10.99) and the BEST screen protector I have ever used, by Xtreme, which costs only $2, and has lasted me 4 months now, without any wear, bubbles or peeling edges.

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April 3rd, 2012 at 6:11 pm

MIUI (ICS) for Galaxy Note review (Custom Rom – ROOT required)

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MIUI has been my favorite rom, long before the Note was even announced. After trying out multiple other custom roms on my HTC Desire HD (Inspire 4G) I’ve fallen in love with MIUI. Some of the best features for me were Speed, Clean and Bright look, Easy Backup and Restore features, Music controls on the lock screen, MIUI themes, Light weight and low memory requirements, etc.

Image of MIUI 4 for Samsung Galaxy NOTE

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After getting Galaxy Note, I was almost happy with it. However, Samsung’s Touch Wiz interface is just horrible (in my opinion) and it’s too deeply integrated into the Android OS on the Note. So deep, that using other launchers is not a viable option – you are still stuck with all the Sammy’s system apps – dialer / lock-screen / contacts, and others.

And for the longest time ALL custom roms were just cleaned up versions of stock TouchWiz roms. However, ever since the first ICS leak for Note, a multitude of truly custom roms began popping up on XDA and other dev forums, including AOSP, AOKP, CyonogenMod, and MIUI!

This review is for a beta build of MIUI Revolution (Android 4.0.3) by Livewings. It is based on early MIUI build, and original ICS leak for Galaxy Note

As we reported in our early post, the official ICS with Premium S Pen Suite for Galaxy Note will come out sometime in Q2. However, great Android developers all over the world have been hard at work to give us first taste of ICS on Note, and now there is an almost fully functional MIUI rom that can be used as a daily driver.

MIUI 4 Revolution video hands-on:

MIUI Revolution for Galaxy Note – installation:

I will not go too deep into installation of MIUI on the Note, as it’s very technical, and is outside the scope of this article. Whatg you should know if you plan to try this yourself – your note must be rooted, and you will need to first install the original ICS leak repack by ChainFire, to install and preserve proper ROOT on you ICS rom. All the links to installation instructions and downloads will be at the end of this review. All in all, the installation takes about an hour, assuming everything goes well.

Features that DO NOT work yet (in MIUI Revolution V1B):

First, let me mention again that this is a BETA release, and some features still do not work, or need a work-around to function properly. This is in part because of AOSP bugs in Android 4.0.3, unfinished MIUI base, and lack of certain files, drivers, and kernel source code for the Galaxy Note (both ICS and GB). For this test I used MIUI Revolution V1B by Livewings. Later version will fix many if not all bugs, and as soon as official ICS for Note and final MIUI builds come out, things will get much better.

– HDMI Output
– Video Recording (AOSP BUG) – use
– Flash Video (Samsung Kernel bug)
– WiFi Direct
– No S-Pen apps from Samsung included in this rom (S Note / S Memo / S Planner, etc)

Also, since all current ICS roms out the are still based on the original Chinese Galaxy Note (i9220) ICS leak, the CPU is clocked at 1.2GHz, versus international Galaxy Note’s (N7000) standard 1.4GHz.

All other bugs (such as USB mass storage, etc) have been fixed in previous versions.

image of MIUI 4 (ICS) for Galaxy Note

MIUI Revolution – First impressions

WOW – MIUI for Galaxy Note is beautiful and fast… when on Nova launcher – MIUI lags, which can get annoying. Current MIUI launcher is ported from Gingerbread 2.3, and is not a native MIUI 4 launcher. Until MIUI team finishes native MIUI 4 launcher, we will be stuck with this one, and it can get VERY laggy at times.

While this beta is almost fully functional, it is still buggy, and I experienced MANY random reboots, as well as laggy MIUI launcher.

Reboots can be caused when you launch too many resource-intensive apps. In my case I had ScreenCast screen recording app running along with launching many other apps. However I also experience reboots without screencast running.

Despite bugs, this is an excellent rom, considering what the dev had to work with – an even bugguer original CL1 leaked rom, bugs in AOSP source, in Samsung kernel & unfinished MIUI base.

I can’t wait for official ICS for Galaxy Note to come out, along with official MIUI 4 builds, and then a fully cooked MIUI for Galaxy Note – that will be my everyday rom! But until then – I’m back to Gingerbread – DarkyROM 3.3 which has served me well for more than a month now! (I used to be an obsessive flasher, so > month is a long time).

Additional Resources for MIUI Revolution:

Below are links to installation instruction and download sources, if you want to try MIUI on your Note.

WARNING: Rooting, flashing new / custom roms and doing other modifications to you phone will void your warranty and can permanently damage your device. Do at your own risk – we take no responsibility if you damage your phone or loose data or anything else.

With that said, here is a link to Livewings’ thread on ICS Forums: http://www.icsforums.com/forum/showthread/502 – there you will find installation instructions and download links to all the files needed to install MIUI on your Note. Good luck!

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March 29th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Samsung Galaxy NOTE – ICS (Android 4.0) with Premium Suite, coming Q2 2012

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Samsung demoed Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for Galaxy Note. Included with the upcoming update, will be S-pen Premium Suite of many new applications designed to take full advantage of S-Pen,and intuitive features – Samsung’s patented stylus for Galaxy NOTE.

Upgrade to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will provide great new features not available in Gingerbread (Android 2.3.6) and will also support Hardware Acceleration, resulting in great speed improvements of your Galaxy Note, and will make everything smoother.


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ICS allows you to:

– Easily multitask and and visually manage running apps with simple swipe gesture.

– Visualize Data usage and manage data consumption (set mobile internet limits / quotas)

– Enjoy multitude of Apps optimized or made specifically for ICS.

Integration of Google Voice into Galaxy Note dialer app will allow you to easily make G-Voice calls, check voice-mails, send text messages, etc.

Premium Suite includes:

1) S-NOTE – new notes taking app, helps expressively create a unique story on-the-go, will include 8 templates – Simple Notes, Meeting Notes, Sketch Book, Diary, Magazine, Travel, E-Card & Recipe.

2) SHAPE MATCH – Automatic Shape Correction.

3) FORMULA MATCH – Easily find answers for complicated formulas in Math, Physics, Chemistry, etc.

3) S-MEMO upgrade – major improvements over original S-Memo app (which was full of bugs, and was underdeveloped, lacking features such as advanced Notes export / backup and importing previously saved notes)

New S-MEMO app will allow you to instantly capture type of idea, directly from home screen.

Created notes can be uploaded to the “cloud” and later downloaded in its exact form (a truly functional Backup / Restore for S-Memo), as well as shared among multiple Galaxy Notes.

4) MY STORY app – write content-rich letters or e-cards to family and friends (or significant other), make multimedia albums to share, and easily send them by email.

image of Galaxy Note ICS with Premium Suite in Q2

We will post a full review of Galaxy Note ICS update as soon as first real beta leak becomes available (most likely before official launch), hopefully in early April. Check out full Galaxy Note review at My Phables – a PHABLET (phone/tablet) review site.

Also check out Galaxy Note car-mount from Samsung: http://www.androidarena.org/car-mount-for-samsung-galaxy-note/

Written by admin

March 26th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Android News

Samsung Galaxy S3 render image leaks

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Galaxy S3 – the successor to the most popular (most selling) Android smartphone – Galaxy S II is about to be announced. Rumored announcement dates have come and went, but it’s no doubt this great device is coming soon. And now there is a leaked render image of this phone, out in the wild – take a look.

image of leaked Samsung Galaxy S3

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Galaxy S3 will be a beast of a phone, and will probably beat the current “specs king” – a yet unreleased HTC One X, that comes with a quad core 1.5 GHz nVidia Tegra 3 chip (Dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 in the LTE version of HTC One X), 4.7″ 1280×720 HD display, 32 Gb of internal storage, and an 1800 MaH battery pack.

Rumored Galaxy S3 specifications:

Galaxy S3 is expected to have the following hardware, and will be running Android 4.x – Ice Cream Sandwich:

Processor: Exynos 4412 – 1.5-1.8 GHz Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 with MALI 604 graphics processor, manufactured using 32nm process.

Screen: 4.8″ Super AMOLED Plus HD display with Gorilla Glass 2 (on-screen soft buttons – no hardware capacitive buttons, just like in Galaxy Nexus).

Cameras: 12 MP rear camera, and HD front-facing camera.

Memory – RAM: 1 GB, which is currently industry standard for high end smartphones.

Memory – Storage: Expect to see this phone with 32 GB of internal memory, and (most likely) Micro SD expansion slot.

Battery: Battery size is still unknown, but it should be in the range of 1800-2200 MaH – enough to get you through the day, considering low power consumption of 32 nm processor.

Thickness: Galaxy S3 should be only 7 mm thick, which will make it one of the thinnest smartphone on the market.

There are also rumors that later iterations of Galaxy S3 will come with dual-core 2 GHz Exynos 5250, which is based on a newer (and much faster) Cortex-A15 ARM architecture. LTE versions might be built with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 or NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, coupled with its Icera 410 LTE modem.

At this point we will just have to sit tight and wait for big boys at Sammy to finally decide to announce and release its new flagship device – after all Galaxy S II is getting pretty old, and it’s time for an upgrade! I just have to wonder what kind of a beast the Galaxy Note 2 will be – I can’t wait…

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March 14th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

AT&T Samsung Galaxy NOTE now works on T-Mobile 4G (HSPA+)

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This is a great development for anyone who wanted to have an AWESOME Galaxy Note to work on T-Mobile 3G/4G network. As you may know, out of the box, AT&T branded phones do not work on T-Mo’s 1700 MHz network, and up until now you could only get EDGE / 2G speeds.

Yesterday, great folks over at XDA Developers have hacked AT&T’s Galaxy Note (SGH-i717) to take full advantage of T-Mobile’s 4G (HSPA+ 42 Mbps) network, by just flashing a new modem (radio) onto an unlocked / rooted Note.

This only works for AT&T Galaxy Note – international / European Note (N7000) owners are still out of luck on this – read below for explanation as to why.

So if you want to have a Galaxy Note on T-Mobile, what you will need to do, is head over to your local “friendly” AT&T store, and buy a new Note (for $650 + tax), and then root / unlock it, and flash the T-Mobile 3G/4G mod files.

XDA Developers user tomin.fhl has provided all necessary files and instructions in this AT&T Galaxy Note on T-mobile thread, and there is even a bounty of $690 (so far, with more folks committing money, for his great work).

Head over to XDA for instruction on how to do this, if you are interested in having your Note working on T-Mobile network. Keep in mind, that your Note must be unlocked and rooted first, before you can flash new 1700 MHz radio. Check out XDA’s AT&T Galaxy Note Android Development section for instructions and all necessary tools to root your Galaxy Note.


Also keep in mind, that roofing will void your warranty and you may also brick your phone if you do not follow the directions correctly.

Why European / International Galaxy Note (N7000) still does not work on T-Mobile 4G network?

The problem with N7000 Galaxy Note not working in T-Mobile 3G/4G vs AT&T Note (i717) is in the hardware. I717 has a Qualcomm’s 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and LTE modem, which was pretty much the only LTE modem available before nVidia released its new Icera soft-modem, paired with Tegra 3 quad-core chipset.

N7000 has Samsung’s own 1.4 GHz Exynos dual-core processor and 1900 MHz HSPA+ chipset (modem). In a nutshell, Samsung does not release the source code for it’s modem drivers, and this makes it very difficult to hack, compared to Qualcomm’s modem used in i717. Here is more info on hacking N7000 to work on T-mobile 4G network.

In the word of bedwa – a lead “hacker” behind making N7000 to work on T-Mobile 4G network:

I have mentioned from day one this was going to be harder. Despite having the same hardware as the G-Nex or other devices with the x-gold 6260 chip, unlike qualcomm’s chips, they are not coded similarly. Thus, I have to hack at a base hex level. Much harder stuff.

For more info on this development, head over to XDA’s Euro Note on T-Mobile US UMTS/3G thread.

When will Galaxy Note N7000 be hacked to work with T-Mobile?

Well – now one knows really. Hopefully very soon, and if or when that happens, I will definitely let you guys and gals know, as I myself am an N7000 owner, and would love to have an option of using T-Mobile. However, it is possible, that this may never happen, or will be too late, when Galaxy Note 2 comes out (most likely fall of 2012), and original Note will no longer be relevant. But let’s not lose hope!


In the mean time, you can get your Galaxy Note to work on Straight Talk $45 Unlimited plan, which essentially runs on AT&T HSPA+ network with “advanced backhaul” (non-LTE 4G) and still get great speed!

image of Straight Talk $45 unlimited plan Speed Test

And now you no longer need to buy the E71 and do SIM Card swap, as was described in our original article. You can now buy a Straight Talk SIM Card for $15 and put it into your unlocked Galaxy Note (or any other unlocked phone), and get same great deal, with fewer hassles and without the risk of being disconnected for not using “approved device”, which was always the part of sim-swap. We will have full coverage in this in just few days.

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March 13th, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Car Mount for Samsung Galaxy Note

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Update: As promised, I’ve done a full review of this Galaxy Note car mount, after “test driving” it for a week – check it out here.

Also check out my video review of the Samsung Galaxy Note car mount:

Original article: When I just bought my Galaxy Note back in Nov. 2011 (International version of Note), there where pretty much no accessories of any kind available for it in US. However in just short few weeks, Amazon was filled with screen protectors and cases and pouches for the Note. There were also scores of car mounts available, for Note’s little brother – Galaxy S2, but nothing for Note, except for generic, multi-purpose mounts.

You can pick up Galaxy Note Car Mount from Amazon, for about $42-44 + shipping / handling (free in some cases, depending on seller).

Image of Galaxy Note car mount

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Finally, and only after Note went on sale in US and Canada officially (on Feb 18, 2012), did manufacturers get their act together, and now there is a native car mount designed specifically for the Note – both US and international versions.

I will be picking this baby up soon, and putting it through a bunch of test. After using over 10 different car mounts – I know what to look for.

Main thing I will be looking at, will be the suction cup. All other car mounts that i’ve used previously, had horrible suction cup, and the whole unit would just fall on the steering wheel while I was driving. The only exception was the suction that came with my old as earth Garmin Nuvi 200 GPS unit – that was the BEST suction design I’ve ever seen.

Another thing that I look forward to is the ability to easily insert the Note into the mout and have it charging immediately – if only my “oh so advanced” 3rd gen prius had a USB plug, so I could control the music from the steering wheel…

Look forward for a full review of the Galaxy Note wind-shield car mount in the next couple of weeks – stay tuned.

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March 9th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

LG Optimus Vu – this Phablet will be announce at WMC 2012 in Barcelona

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LG Optimus Vu is a new Phablet device to be announced at World Mobile Conference 2012 in Barcelona – the device features a 5″ screen with 4:3 aspect ratio (compared to 5.3″ screen with 16:9 aspect ratio on Galaxy Note – it’s closest competitor).

image of LG Optimus Vu phablet (tablet / phone) with 4:3 aspect ratio 5" screen)

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Other specs for LG Optimus Vu:

5″ IPS LCD display, with 1024 x 768 resolution and 4:3 aspect ratio
1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU
Android 2.3 Gingerbread (though, we suspect this may be running Android 4.0 soon after officially launching — LG promises within 3 months)
Stylus-input capable with stylus-friendly applications built in
8 megapixel rear-camera likely to come with 1080p HD video capture.
1.3 megapixel front-facing camera
650 nits brightness on the display, mirroring the super-bright display found in the ASUS Transformer Prime
32 GB built-in storage (no word on microSD slot)

LG Optimus Vu video teaser:

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February 24th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Samsung Galaxy Note – Android 4.0 ICS leak – hands-on video

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First Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich leak for Samsung Galaxy Note (n7000 / i9220 – Chinese version of Galaxy Note, clocked at 1.2 GHz). This ROM is for International version only – non-US/Canada. This leak is from China, and hence does not have any Google Apps. However, those are not difficult to install.

Full review of ICS on Galaxy Note coming soon, including details on how to install this leaked rom on rooted devices. I already have this installed on my Note, and am testing it right now.

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February 16th, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Android News

Get AT&T unlimited plan (3G / 4G, Calls and Texts) for $45 / month, with a high-end Android phone (hint: Straight Talk).

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If you go to a corporate AT&T store, this plan will not be available. In fact it does not exist on AT&T – but it does exist – on Straight Talk. Straight Talk is a smaller, budget wireless company that uses AT&T network for it’s phones, and its plans are MUCH more competitive. It is quiet simple actually to get fully-unlimited AT&T plan on Straight Talk, and the best thing – you will not need to sign a contract with AT&T. Here is how it works:

Basically Straight Talk offers a few somewhat decent smart-phones (two Android phones and a Nokia E5 which runs for only $149, which is a 2-3 years old 3G capable phone). If you want to do this “SIM swap”, DO NOT buy Straight Talk Android phones – most of them work on Sprint’s CDMA network and will not even have a SIM card. Get Nokia E5, and pull a SIM card out of it.

UPDATE: Originally we wrote about getting Nokia E71, refurbished for $49. However, it appears that they are no longer available on Straight Talk website. Instead you can get Nokia E5 – it’s a $100 more than E71, but still worth it, considering you will be saving almost $100 / month vs compatible AT&T plan. Not to mention that AT&T no longer has unlimited 3G/4G plans anyway.


However, if you want to use a high end device, they are not available on Straight Talk – as mentioned above, there are only two real smart-phones, and they are both mediocre at best – Samsung Precedent and LG Optimus Q – both 3.2″ phones with rather weak hardware – not to mention that they are not AT&T compatible. But, fear not!

In this guide I will show you how to set up any High-End AT&T Android smart-phone on straight talk and get the full potential of the AT&T 3G / 4G (HSPA+) for only $45 / month!

Choosing a high end Android phone for Straight Talk:

First things first – the phone must support AT&T 3G network to take advantage of this, but it does not have to be an AT&T phone – you can get an unlocked phone of your choice from New Egg or Techno Trading House (place where I got my Galaxy Note), or many other online phone shops.

If your phone is factory unlocked, all you will have to do is change APN (Access Point Names settings) to those used by Straight Talk – see instructions below.

If you get a locked phone from AT&T or bringing in your old AT&T device, you will need to root / unlock it manually – this can be tedious, especially with older HTC phones, but well worth it! Got to XDA Developers Forums, choose your device and go to Android Development section, to find a 1-click or Easy Roof instructions for your phone. However, most AT&T contracts are 2 years, and I doubt that you will want to use a two-years old phone (which will not have 4G radio in it). So most likely you will get a factory unlocked phone imported from Europe, which will probably cost you less that if you bought it off-contract in AT&T store, and usually not sales tax and free shipping included!


So here is how it works: 

You need to buy a Straight Talk phone that requires a $45 / month plan – see list of phones for Straight Talk $45 unlimited plan.

You cannot just get the SIM-card and will need the phone for any trouble-shooting in the future. I recommend getting a Nokia E5 for $149 – since you will not be using this phone, you want to spend as little as possible on it.

You basically activate your SIM card and then place it into the phone of your choice.

Getting your High End phone to work on Straight Talk:

WARNING!!!

You are doing any modifications at your own risk! If you do any modification to your phone, it may cause unpredictable outcomes in which your phone might not be usable any more.

I am not responsible for bricked devices, dead SD cards, thermonuclear war, or you getting fired because the alarm app failed, etc.

Please do some research if you have any concerns about using unsupported devices on Straight Talk!

WARNING 2

The below APN settings are not finalized and can only be used for reference information. I will update this page as soon as possible. In the mean time I need to confirm all settings, to make sure they work!

Once you get the phone, activate it first, make sure it works (calls, 3G and texts). Then pull the SIM card out, and put it into your unlocked or rooted device. Then go to System Settings (usually you will need to press “menu” button, then choose setting).

Now choose Wireless and Networks >> Mobile Networks >> Access Point Names.

You will typically have one APN there – name won’t matter.

Click on it and change each line for the following (note – it is case sensitive):

Name: HOME

APN: att.mvno

Leave everything else alone EXCEPT the bottom selection that says:

APN type (here you must enter the following, with no spaces): default,supl

=================

Then save, next choose to add another APN
make it look like this:

Name
MMS

APN
att.mvno

skip down to
MMSC
http://mmsc.cingular.com

MMS proxy
proxy.mvno.tracfone.com

MMS port
80

skip to:
APN type (enter the following)
mms

Written by admin

December 28th, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Posted in Android News