Sunday, May 1, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Fit - WiFi issue (solved)

After a few days of using my new Android based phone, I noticed that WiFi would not turn on. It appeared occurring randomly. And the only way to get it to work was power off the phone and turn it back on. Going into flight mode (turn off all radios) and back did not help. Careful observation suggests that it has to with reclaiming the RAM using the following sequence of steps:
Task Manager -> RAM tab -> Clear memory button

The phone warns about gracefully closing applications before doing that. However I did not think it would affect WiFi, like it never affected the ability to connect to 3G or make a voice call. This may be an implementation issue in the Samsung phone I use. After I stopped clearing the used memory, the issue has not recurred.

Before coming up with this observation I also reported the issue to Samsung tech support on phone. As expected, initially the tech support started doubting trivial things without even completely understanding my issue. They promised to get back and I'm yet to hear (4 days and counting)...

What prompted a PalmPilot guy get an Android phone?

I have been an enthusiastic adopter of digital devices starting with a Casio digital diary since back in 1995. Today I have an Android based smart phone. In between, I used two different Palm Pilot devices. The first one was the original US Robotics made PDA, PalmPilot, bought in 1997 and the second was Palm Zire, bought in 2004. This is a personal perspective from my, a user's, point of view.

The Evolution

For the functionality they offered back then, though at a price that seems unreasonable today, I had liked those early devices and benefited from their use. Remarkably, all those devices have been in good working condition even today. It is only the additional functionality of newer devices that prompted an upgrade to new ones.

Durability speed; but rigidity
I have hard time accepting the fact that the early gadgets had such limited and fixed functionality. The Casio digital diary would offer mere personal information management: an address book, notepad, searching through those and miscellaneous utilities like a simple arithmetic calculator. For marginally improved functionality of existing utilities, one would have to buy different, higher-end device. No customization whatsoever. Today, a smart phone user retains the hardware and simply upgrades the software application.

PC Sync; but multiplicity
After being used to seeing 1GHz processors, double-digit GB RAM for portable devices these days, I was shocked to get my memory refreshed by the specifications and price of the PalmPilot device! Check out the wiki!

I still have the same master contact list I had entered over years in PalmPilot since 1997. Each time I had used the PDA to lookup a phone number and then dial it manually on a landline phone, I had wished that I could simply tap the phone number to call right from the PDA... or could compose and send an e-mail to the contact. I waited till year 2011 to avail that functionality! Technical capability was available for many years; just that I never found it compelling to pay the extra price--until affordable Android phones were available with high speed 3G data access. Being able to access the same data from a PC and then back it up was a big plus over Casio diary.

Though I had to carry two portable devices all the time: the PDA and the mobile phone for many years, I am glad I postponed getting a smart phone. Following factors played role in considering an Android device:
  • need for backup Internet access for PC
  • introduction of 3G by mobile service provider and offering limited data usage under my existing voice plan
  • my list of features in an ideal mobile phone (developed over years of mobile usage)
  • long pending need to integrate a PDA and a mobile device
  • need for a navigation device during travels
  • experience of using an iPod Touch and multiple limitations imposed by Apple App Store versus what I have gathered about the open Android market
  • experience of using Symbian, Windows and Linux operating systems as a software developer to appreciate their differences and individual strong points
  • enjoying benefits for using custom Linux kernel for PC and a hope to do similar with a mobile phone
  • infinite potential for developing own apps for my phone: self help!
  • arrival of multiple new and reasonably priced devices that made a compelling sense
Android (device): highly integrated, extensible, secured
Choosing a specific phone was rather simpler than I thought. I knew what I was looking for and what was unnecessary. Like mobile gaming was out of my typical use pattern. I chose the right priced phone from a reliable vendor: Samsung Galaxy Fit GT-S5670!

More about my first experience with Android in later posts....