The checkout page is a summary list where long discussions will not fit. This page is for additional information about the various checkout steps.
On the Galaxy S III the back cover seems securely attached, but it's easier to get off than the Droid-3 was. In the center of the north edge is a screwdriver slot for prying; a (male) fingernail will also work. I found it most effective to attack the gap toward the east, i.e. the side where the LED flash is, away from the wired headphone jack. When you get the northeast grabber open, go down the east side peeling off the grabbers, and then similarly do the west side.
To replace the cover, engage the two south grabbers first, then the sides, and the north grabbers last. In all of this, be careful not to touch the power button and accidentally turn on the pocket computer.
If your phone has the battery and SIM pre-installed, power it off, remove the back cover (see previous section), and remove the battery. Record your serial number, IMEI and MEID (both in decimal and in hex, which is what Verizon will want). They are on a label in the battery box, and would be covered by the battery.
If you have a UICC (SIM or RUIM), insert it now. Verizon does not use RUIMs any more; they cue on the MEID. But 4G LTE is a GSM protocol and needs a SIM. Getting the SIM out is going to be a challenge, if you want to use another carrier's SIM, e.g. in Europe. You can only insert or remove the SIM when the battery is out.
Also insert the external SD card (which doesn't need the battery to be out, but the phone should be powered off). It's a standard push-push SD socket: push the card in all the way when inserting, and to remove it, push in again; it will let go and you can pull out the card.
Insert the battery last. If the UICC or SD card are not immediately available, you can charge the battery without them, but setting up the pocket computer initially is a lot nicer if you have them installed.
To charge, connect the USB cable to the port on the south edge of the pocket computer. The cable has a male micro-USB plug for the phone end and a male type A (host) plug which attaches to the charger (or to a computer). The broad side with the USB logo goes to the front (toward the screen). The supplied charger can provide 1 amp, which helps to speed up charging; a computer port can't provide as much.
Let it charge; the book says 3 hours and my experience matches this time, for a completely empty battery.
You will need to know your Google Gmail loginID and password. Jimc recommends that you get this ready before powering on the phone. If you don't have an account you could create one using another computer (recommended), or you could create an account using the Setup Wizard's procedure. Setup in CyanogenMod will let you skip this step, but you need a Google account to download apps from the Market, even free ones.
Initial boot: Press the power button on the northeast side for up to 5 seconds until you see the Samsung logo. Shortly thereafter the Galaxy S III splash screen will appear. The screen goes black for a few seconds, then the boot animation starts. Setup wizard starts at about 35 secs -- very fast (compared to HTC Dream). If this is the first time you have booted after installing a new image, booting will take longer, about 60 secs, because it has to compile all the apps' bytecode.
On Gingerbread's screen saying
Touch the Android to Begin,
touch in all four corners (one at a time) and it will skip the
activation step. I don't know if this works on later setup wizards.
Starting from here, the UI will sleep on inactivity, like if you're taking notes on what's happening, and it's set for 60 seconds. If the phone sleeps on you, hit the power button to wake it. The lock screen will be shown. Swipe across the lock symbol, left to right all the way across the screen. The lock screen will be replaced by whatever you were doing when it slept.
Backup assistant setup (fails, no network). Skip it. This is a cloud service provided by Verizon. I doubt it's free.
Select Location Services from Verizon, Google, or standalone GPS. I picked GPS. They warn you, apps can send location data to their mother ships.
Hit Finish. You return to the window manager's home screen.
This section applies if you did not purchase your phone directly from Verizon. If you purchase from a brick-and-mortar store, the customer service people will do all this for you. If you purchase online, there is a web form to help you through activation.
A phone is generally SIM-locked to the carrier that subsidized it. If you intend to use another carrier's SIM, e.g. if travelling abroad, you will need to break this lock. The carrier should unlock it after a certain time, or if you can't make this happen there are unlocking services (not free). Unlocking the phone does not relieve you of your obligation to pay under your contract or let you avoid paying the unearned part of your subsidy (early termination fee).
Call Verizon Customer Service on another phone, e.g. a landline. Once you have picked your plan, told them your MEID (for CDMA, or IMEI for GSM), and paid, the customer service rep will establish an association between the MEID and your account, and they will send e-mail to confirm. This typically takes about 15 minutes.
Then, activate your phone. Initially, in the status bar your carrier logo is a flashing triangle, indicating no service.
Start the dialer app and dial *228 (and press the green phone bar). When the automated system answers, pick option 1 for activation. This is specific to Verizon; other carriers have their own activation numbers.
They do something magical which takes about 30 seconds; a box
pops up saying
Programming. When this finishes, hit Next,
and the call ends.
After another 60 seconds or so, they send you a SMS (text) message saying that you can now use your phone for voice chat.
*228 Option 2 is to just update the Preferred Roaming List (PRL). If the network is updated, e.g. 3G is added or a new roaming agreement is made, your phone needs to be told to use the new capabilities. Some forum posters suggest doing this update monthly, though that seems kind of frequent to me. Now the Holy Grail is to get another carrier's PRL onto your phone, because otherwise it can't even see the other carrier's towers.
The display is excellent in a wide range of lighting conditions. It is hard to fight the sun and win, but in direct sunlight I judge the contest to be a draw.
Outdoor direct sunlight perpendicular to the screen, 107000 lux: Display is adequate, but not excellent; noticeably less contrast than in the 6000 lux condition, but color rendition is complete and the display can be used, e.g. for map navigation, in direct sunlight.
I put the screen brightness in manual mode, and found that the brightness had to be at maximum to produce this performance. Set at minimum, the screen was not unreadable but was pretty bad, worse than the HTC Dream. It must take a lot of power to fight with the Sun and win, but I don't yet have a quantitative estimate of how much this eats battery. The ideal would be to modulate reflected ambient light, and to use the lamp only in very dark spaces.
Outdoor shade, north side of a building, lit by clear sky, 6000 lux: Display is excellent, complete and normal color rendition, normal contrast. I can't tell if the color balance is dynamically adjusted for the blue sky versus Sol's yellow light -- I doubt it -- but the colors in the test photo looked normal.
Indoor, sunny south side of building, 3000 lux: Excellent color and contrast.
Indoor, north side of building, 28 lux: Excellent. But in the stock Verizon image the screen brightness is not turned down when the ambient light is reduced. If the machine is put to sleep and woken again, the display will be set appropriately. It will brighten the display when the surroundings brighten, without being put to sleep.
In Cyanogenmod-10 the display can automatically become dimmer in low light, but you need to turn this on. Settings - Device - Display - Automatic Backlight: enable the Light Sensor Filter, and also Allow Light Decrease.
Dark closet, 2 lux: Excellent. In the Verizon image the light sensor did not turn down the brightness automatically, though.
The Galaxy S III's AMOLED display, viewed in artificial light, gives good color rendition which is independent of the viewing direction. When viewed at a radical angle, e.g. nearly edge-on, the brightness is maybe about half that for perpendicular viewing.
Light valve (LCD) displays generally have trouble giving good color when viewed off perpendicular.
The ambient light sensor works, and influences the display brightness. It is on by default in both the stock image and CM-10, but you can turn it off, and at least on CM-10 you can tweak the control parameters. It's in Settings - Display - Automatic Backlight. You particularly need to turn on Light Sensor Filter - Enabled, to use an average rather than instantaneous brightness, and Allow Light Decrease, otherwise the brightness can only increase (dumb).
About lux: The light flux is reported in lux, from 107000 lux in (my) direct sunlight to 1 lux in a dark closet. The value can be seen on Phone Tester and on GPS Status :-) See this Wikipedia article about luminous efficiency. Lux means lumens per square meter and lumens are proportional to watts but depending on how strongly the eye responds to the various colors in the light. The denominator may be the total power into the lamp or the equivalent power of the emitted light. On the latter definition, the theoretical maximum scale factor is 683 lumen/watt; practical lamps range from 0.3 (candles) to 100 lumen/watt for the highest scoring LED lamps and plasma tubes (which are similar in efficiency).
There is 16Gb of internal NOR flash memory, where the previous generation of pocket computers have around 256Mb of NAND flash. /proc/mounts show these partitions mounted; there are definitely partitions we don't see for the booter, the kernel, and probably the radio image. Sizes here are in Mb (220 bytes). These are for CyanogenMod-10.
The /data partition is replicated on /storage/sdcard0 by a FUSE mount (not a bind mount); I haven't yet found out what peculiar filtering happens through this mount. I also don't know the purpose of the three small partitions /efs, /persist and /firmware.
On CM-10 the SD cards are accessed through two symbolic links: /sdcard to /storage/sdcard0 and /external_sd to /storage/sdcard1. On the Verizon image, /sdcard also points to the internal NOR flash, but /ExternalSD is to the external card (I think; this is from memory).
There is 11Gb for generic user data on the internal NOR flash. In the Verizon image this is mounted on /mnt/sdcard with a symbolic link /sdcard to this mount point. The camera app stores photos in /mnt/sdcard/DCIM. If there were OTA updates, which Verizon gives you but CyanogenMod doesn't have, the new image would be deposited in /sdcard. I don't actually know which filesystem types are acceptable on /sdcard. But it is generally believed that Recovery can only read VFAT when flashing an image.
There are suggestions in the settings that you can encrypt your /data filesystem, but encryptfs is not mounted by default, unlike in at least one previous version.
The data speed test is to download a compressed (Vorbis) music file of 2.45e7 bytes (24.5Mb) or 1.96e8 bits, using HTML protocol (no encryption, no second compression). Note, all the data rates in this section are in bits/second, not bytes/second. Via 802.11g at 5.4e7 bits/sec the download should take 3.62 seconds. The theoretical speed is never achieved in the wild. To delete the downloaded copy, in the browser hit Menu -> More -> Downloads. Long-click on a filename and you get a menu including Delete.
Download times for this file:
|Server||Read and checksum on server||0.86||2.27e8|
|HTC Dream||802.11g (CyanogenMod-6.2 / Android-2.2)||80||2.45e6|
|HTC Dream||GSM (EDGE 2G)||AT&T||253||1.78e4|
|Droid 3 (VZ)||802.11g (stock Android-2.3)||14||1.4e7|
|Droid 3 (CM9-12-24)||802.11g||11||1.8e7|
|Droid 3 (CM9-01-30)||802.11g + Bluetooth||138||1.3e6|
|Droid 3 (CM9-01-30)||802.11g (no BT)||10.3||1.7e7|
|Droid 3 (CM7)||2G (1x-RTT)||Verizon||120||3.2e4|
|Droid 3 (CM7)||3G (EVDO)||Verizon||600||8.2e4|
|Droid 3 (CM9-12-24)||3G (EVDO)||Verizon||93||7.5e4|
|Droid 3 (CM9-01-30)||3G (EVDO)||Verizon (BT)||151||5.6e4|
|Droid 3 (CM9-01-30)||3G (EVDO)||Verizon (no BT)||104||8.0e4|
|Galaxy S III||4G LTE||Verizon||43||4.16e6|
|Galaxy S III||802.11n(g?)||12||1.49e7|
On the slower physical layers, the download was cancelled partway through and the reported rate is based on the time and progress up to cancellation.
If Bluetooth (music via A2DP) is running at the same time as the speed test, it slows down 802.11 radically, and EVDO noticeably.
Using the OpenNetworkMap app, it downloads a 4Mbyte test packet at 1.36e5 bit/sec, but uploads 4Mbyte at 1.4e6 bit/sec (probably bogus). On a retest, 2.2e5 bit/sec download, 2.9e5 bit/sec upload. This app reports in bytes per second, and the numbers here have been multiplied by 8 giving bits per second.
How to find the MAC address (in CyanogenMod-10): Settings - About Phone - Status - Bluetooth Address. Bluetooth has to be turned on for this to appear. Also, using the terminal emulator you can do: cat /sys/class/bluetooth/hci0/address
Pairing with other cellphone: Need to test
Pairing with Xena (Linux laptop): Works. Procedure: Make Selen
(cellphone) discoverable. Start the setup wizard on Xena. Xena
shows a random number, Selen shows the same number. Click on
Pair on both devices (if the number is the same).
OBEX push: Selen does not have an OBEX server unless you install an app that includes one. Xena also does not have an OBEX server installed. So this did not work in either direction. See also Astro File Manager.
Think Outside keyboard: Works. The HID and
the onscreen keyboard keycode (or keysym?) streams are merged so
you can use both within the same app (editor) session.
Procedure to pair: Open the keyboard. Press Ctrl-Green-Blue until
the keyboard's green light blinks (near the T key).
Tell Selen to scan for devices. When the keyboard appears,
click its line item. Selen pops a box, type a sequence of
numbers (4 is known to work, probably more is OK) and hit Pair.
Then type the same numbers on the keyboard (use blue Fn key to
get numbers) and press enter. It will pair.
Pairing with Motorola HT820 headphone: Works. Procedure: Hold down the HT820's left control button until the lamp comes on steady. Then on the Droid, hit Scan For Devices. When the headphone appears, click on its line item to pair.
HSP-HFP to Motorola HT820: Works in CM-10, and HFP (call control button) is obeyed. It will pause music that is playing at the time.
A2DP audio quality: Adequate. Comparing the same phones (HT820)
doing Bluetooth A2DP vs. wired (3.5mm jack), the wired quality is
noticeably better. A similar difference is seen on Android-1.5
Froyo, and Linux bluez-4.88,
suggesting that the problem is in the headphone or the A2DP
algorithm. It's hard to be sure what the difference is, but I have
the impression that the sub-bands in the midrange are not getting
matched up perfectly by the headphone.
When you plug the provided USB cable between the Droid and a computer
running Linux (or presumably Windows), it plays an audio notification and
pops a notification item saying
Connecting mass storage to USB.
Both SD cards are unmounted. You can open the notification and change to
Charge Only, whereupon the cards are remounted.
You get one USB major device
Motorola PCS 22b8:42d7. The iProduct
is identified as XT862 (correct) and a serial number of 0910E4490202200E
is given (for mine). It has a bInterfaceClass of
8 Mass Storage.
There is also a Vendor Specific Class
13 Motorola ADB Interface.
The mass storage interface has two discs.
The internal card, labelled MOT, on /dev/sdb, has 11.9Gb of storage. Its subdirectories are DCIM (photos), download, Android, .android_secure, and slacker.
I formatted my external card with proper partitions and it is on /dev/sdc1.
I copied some local HTML documents onto /media/MOT, and a file URL is honored. Example: file:///sdcard/htdocs/leones_h.d/leones.shtml
The AnTuTu battery test unfortunately doesn't report objective units for its score, such as the battery's measured capacity (versus the nominal capacity of 2.1 amp-hours), nor does it report the power used by the processor and display in its standard task. Thus this test is useful for tracking how a battery degrades with time, but not for comparing between devices of different types. The test turned the display on full and ran the CPU at 100% (how many cores?).
When I did the test, getting a score of 514, here is the history of discharging and charging:
If your cellular signal is poor, more power is needed to talk to the tower, and when the signal drops out it has to scan for another tower. My HTC Dream could only do this for about 6 hours before emptying the battery. Cure: fire the weasels and get a mobile operator that gives you a decent signal.
If you are away from your home or work Wi-fi, it has to scan frequently for a Wi-fi provider that it's allowed to connect to. Running the radio frequently and for a long time on each try eats battery. Cure: turn off Wi-fi when you know there's no service. In CyanogenMod, flick down the status bar and you will find a control icon for Wi-fi.
If you do location-based social networking, it needs to determine your location frequently. Cure: turn off GPS until you need it for map navigation or for finding a specific person. Use your status bar control icon. The position inferred from cell towers should be good enough for many purposes, e.g. picking a restaurant.
If you are inside a building with steel and concrete construction, which blocks the signal of the satellites, the phone will run the GPS for a long time before giving up, repeating each time your location is needed. Steel and concrete also reduce your cellular signal. Cure: turn off GPS until you are under clear sky. Turn on airplane mode if your cellular signal is uselessly low.
With a LED (AMOLED) display it takes zero power to show a black pixel, and so you should use a theme with a dark background. But this issue is irrelevant with a light valve (backlighted) or transflective display.
Turn down the display brightness. If you have an ambient light sensor, use it to automatically reduce the display brightness indoors (and brighten it outdoors).
Some web pages have active and expensive client-side scripting; for example I ran into one with animated snowflakes that pegged my CPU. Cure: load a more friendly page, and beg Google for a browser setting to suppress client-side scripting.
Miscellaneous items found when working on other issues:
In Jerry Hildenbrand's blog on Android Central (2010-02-27), he recommends the Astro File Manager. (View this page on Android, click on the link, and the market app will open, oriented on this application.)