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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
netizenmt
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Mansfield, OH
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Device(s): Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Rooted, unlocked Bootloader Running CM9 with Calls & Data (ICS 4.0.x)
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Default All Samsung Gem owners need to read this !!

The Samsung Gem, as packaged by Verizon, is a nice little entry-level smartphone, but it is extremely limited in terms of internal storage space. It is further crippled by the fact that it is running Android 2.1 (also known as Eclair). Native support for installing apps to the external sdcard did not appear until Android 2.2 (also known as Froyo or Frozen Yogurt). Thus, you will be limited to the internal memory to install apps in. You never want to let this memory drop below 20 MB or the phone will become unstable and behave erratically.

One way to overcome such limitations is to root the phone, install a custom recovery and a custom ROM. To date, although there have been a few reported successes, there is no easy way to root the Gem. There doesn't seem to be even a hard way to root it either! (I've been trying the various ways without success for 2 weeks now.) Nor are there any custom recovery or custom ROMs available at this time.

Please note that if there ever is a way to root the Gem, this will void your warranty and also break your ability to get future updates from Verizon.

A second way to overcome the limitations of the Samsung Gem would be for Android 2.2 to be released for it. If you go to the Samsung website and do some digging, you will see that Samsung does indeed have a 2.2 update available. DO NOT USE THIS TO UPDATE YOUR GEM OR IT WILL BE RENDERED USELESS !!!

That update is apparently for another vendor. If you install it on your Verizon Gem, your phone will only be able to make and receive calls, your 3G will become weak, and you will not be able to use the Android Market. You may or may not be able to use any internet access, depending on whether you can connect to wifi or not. And neither Verizon's nor Samsung's Technical Support will be able to help you get it working again. After 3 hours on the phone with each, I can personally attest to that.

What do you do if you've already found that out the hard way? Well, if you get lucky like I did, your local Verizon vendor may be willing to swap your phone out since this was caused by a vendor update and not as a result of illegal hacking or tampering with the phone. My salesrep was so convinced it was just a bad update download, he tried it on another Gem, which also died in the same way. I was then able to get a different phone. (I got a fantastic deal on an LG Vortex, which I am quite satisfied with.)

What else can a Samsung Gem user from Verizon do? Well, maybe if enough of you contact Verizon and make a lot of noise about it, they will eventually release 2.2 for the Gem. It took about a year for that to happen for the LG Ally, but it did eventually happen.

In the meantime, you'll have to be resigned to the fact that you have a great little ENTRY-LEVEL phone, not a Droid Incredible, and live accordingly. Use it mostly for music, taking some quick pics, messaging, browsing the net, and maybe playing 1 or 2 games.

And keep an eye out for advances in rooting and romming. I haven't given up... yet.
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Last edited by netizenmt; July 31st, 2011 at 11:28 AM.
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