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Samsung SGH-i600 debranding, unbricking & hacking.

Rating 4.50 out of 5


Hi all,

Well as you may (or may not!) know, I am a gadget-freak! I *love* new toys, and my latest in a long line of mobile phones is the Samsung SGH-i600

First of all, here are a few things to note about this phone:-

  • It runs Windows Mobile Edition 5 or 6 (but comes with WM5 in the UK under Orange PCS)
  • It is similar but not exactly the same as the USA “Blackjack” version.
  • It features GSM, EDGE, WiFi and 3G (Well… the European version anyway….)
  • It is quite ‘hackable’ if you have the time (and like me, *hate* the ‘Orange’ branding!)

The phone itself was the usual “Free” upgrade from Orange, but (like almost all phones I have got from them) was crippled with the horrible, slow, nasty (are you getting the picture yet?) ‘Orange’ branding.

In order to get all the sexy features like “Card Wheel” home screen, you have to flash your phone with a better version of software. This will also work for ‘Bricked’ phones (dead because the wrong firmware applied etc…)

[photopress:Home_screen.jpg,thumb,pp_image][photopress:home_screen_setup.jpg,thumb,pp_image]

Now this procedure isn’t for the faint-of-heart. You will lose *all* settings, address book….. basically like doing a ‘factory reset’ on the phone. But in turn you will have a fully-featured phone *without* carrier placed menu restrictions or branding. It will also lose all your SMS/WAP/MMS settings, so make a note of them first, or refer to this excellent site that shows them all for each carrier: http://www.filesaveas.com

At this point, I will just say:-

This information is provided as-is and without warranty. Anyone using this information does so at their own risk, and I will not be held responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly by this information. It is produced as a ‘guide’ for information purposes only. If you ‘Brick’ your phone, it’s your fault! – NOTE: I have only tested this on a UK Orange Branded SGH-i600

Now…. due to copyrights etc, I will not post any links or files in this blog, but I will tell you what to look for. This guide is an abridged version of something I found by Volker Weber on vowe.net - The instructions there were for upgrade to Version 6 of Windows Mobile, but I never went that far. Once I removed the branding, WM5 was fine and dandy for me. I will also say (and this should be taken as anecedotal) that my phone has been a lot more stable (no lock-ups) since I loaded this firmware.

You will need:-

  • Samsung Data Link Cable (should have come with the phone)
  • “Blackjack” modem driver (different from the one on the CD that came with the phone) – This is also known as the “Samsung Composite USB Driver 4.34″
  • A suitable “Flash” file

Now the driver and “Flash” file can be found together in a RAR file called “Firmware_i600_XXGD1.rar” the XX indicates that it is not tied to a particular country. You can get this from various places, but the one I have also has a .txt file in the RAR called NO Brand.txt – if you find that one, it worked perfectly for me.

  1. Install the Samsung Drivers
  2. Disable ActiveSync (you can un-check the “Allow USB connections” in Connection Settings)
  3. Put the Phone into ‘special mode’
    1. Turn phone off.
    2. Turn phone on whilst holding the Right Soft-key and the Back/Cancel key on the side#
    3. If you have done this correctly, the phone will show something like “* USB Downloader Open 1.1″
  4. Install the update – Warning: Takes a very long time. Be patient.
  5. If doesn’t appear to work. Retry from Step 2.
  6. Re-enable ActiveSync (after the phone has rebooted)

Hurrah – you should have a de-branded Windows Mobile 5 working on your Samsung i600 now, and should see some nice home-screen themes etc.

 Of course, the next thing you need to do is make it a bit more useful.

Mobile Office

This version of office is available for Windows Mobile 6 only. However… A few clever souls de-packaged it, and re-packaged it for WM5. Search the usual torrent locations for Office.WM6.WCE.BY – nuff said?

Instant Messaging

Ok – tried lots of them, the best of the best are:-

  • Fring – Free application
  • Agile Messenger – Commercial

Gmail

Gmail is so easy to set up on your Samsung.

  1. Enable POP3 in your Gmail account settings.
  2. Go into Messaging on the Samsung and add a new account.
  3. Set up the screens as shown here

[photopress:gmail_1.jpg,thumb,pp_image][photopress:gmail_2.jpg,thumb,pp_image][photopress:gmail_3.jpg,thumb,pp_image]

[photopress:gmail_4.jpg,thumb,pp_image][photopress:gmail_5.jpg,thumb,pp_image][photopress:gmail_6.jpg,thumb,pp_image]

Note: If you retrieve your mail from another PC, it magically disappears off your phone next time you sync. It is also advisabled NOT to use the auto-download unless you are on an unlimited data plan, or connected via WiFi all the time.

Other useful tools

WiFiFoFum2 – This allows to to ‘Scan’ for local WiFi networks (a bit like NetStumbler, but works!)

zaTelnetSP5 – Allows you to ‘Telnet’ into a host (pretty good actually!)

BTCrawler – Lets you BlueJack (to a certain degree anyway….)

SKTools – Excellent app for ‘cleaning’ your Mobile Windows OS and Registry. Commercial App.

Tips and Tricks

T9 Dictionary – Press the “*” key in SMS mode, and you can select T9 in the list. More useful on this with a full QWERTY keyboard than any other phone I’ve used bizarrely…

Task Manager – Press and hold either the “Home” key.

Shortcut Menu – Press and hold the navi-wheel in, you can select an existing shortcut, or “edit” to add/delete them.

Hidden Codes

I take no responsibility for the use of these codes. They are provided for information only.

*#1546792*#  – Service Menu

From here you can check software / hardware / firmware versions, get the MAC address for your WiFi adapter etc.

*#81230*# – Passcode for “Pre-configuration” (apparently you can change country/carrier here – DOES A FACTORY RESET AND WIPES ALL INFO!)

*#06# – Show IMEI Number (works on almost any phone)

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  1. mart1n30
    October 23rd, 2007 at 21:01 | #1

    I can’t locate the flash file or modem driver anywhere? Do you have a copy you can send or alink to somewhere to download it from please?

  2. October 23rd, 2007 at 21:07 | #2

    Hi there,

    Sorry – I can’t post a link… that would be illegal. However… I suggest that you visit a site such as ThePirateBay.org and search for Firmware_i600_XXGD1

    ;o)

    Regards,

    Paul

  3. mart1n30
    October 23rd, 2007 at 21:20 | #3

    Thanks for the response. Its still showing up negative on all searches that Im carrying out. If you are able to help me further, my email is mart1n30@hotmail.com. Thanks again.

  4. tb303
    January 16th, 2008 at 17:55 | #4

    hi there!

    does the phone have to be a certain version or will this work on all i600 orange phones?

  5. cassini
    January 30th, 2008 at 04:18 | #5

    when I set the phone to download mode it only shows “*USB Downloader – at&t” and then nothing happens. I also can’t start my phone anymore, when i turn it on it displays at&t logo and then shows “goodbye” before turning off by itself.

  6. steve1221
    February 11th, 2008 at 18:23 | #6

    If it’s showing an AT&T logo you’ve flashed it with the wrong fireware, you need to find the generic UK firmware and re-flash with that.
    btw: where’d you find the modem s/w ?

  7. asimpson
    February 28th, 2008 at 11:30 | #7

    something went wrong on mine and i seem to have deleted the imei off the handset. any ideas onhow i can restore it?

  8. February 28th, 2008 at 13:48 | #8

    I’m not sure how you could have wiped the IMEI – It’s not part of the Firmware….

    I would start from the beginning, and resist the urge to reset the phone when it seems to be ‘stuck’

    The whole process takes about 20 mins.

    Be patient!

    Regards,

    Paul

  9. kammyd
    March 21st, 2008 at 04:40 | #9

    If it’s showing an AT&T logo you’ve flashed it with the wrong fireware, you need to find the generic UK firmware and re-flash with that.
    btw: where’d you find the modem s/w ?

    ———————————————————
    Can anyone help me in doing this step by step, this is exactly what my phone is doing and i cant do anything with it. Thanks

  10. March 21st, 2008 at 09:17 | #10

    Kammy: Take a look at my more recent step-by-step guide here:-

    http://www.internet-tools.co.uk/blog/index.php/2008/01/16/samsung-sgh-i600-wm6-upgrade-yes-even-if-you-are-on-orange/

    Regards,

    Paul

  11. kshuja
    May 4th, 2008 at 10:18 | #11

    Hi,

    I’ve followed these instructions to the letter and when it gets to the point where the OS has been loaded onto the phone, it shows a timer that updates very rapidly. I left this running for 1 hour and it still seemed to be stuck so I pulled the battery and started the phone ok. To my surprise, the phone booted up fine with the generic WM5 ROM.

    Just wanted to ask if it’s likely I need to reflash my phone again seeing that it didn’t appear to restart itself previousy. How long should I be waiting for the timer screen to complete?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Regards,

    Kman

  12. May 4th, 2008 at 14:50 | #12

    Kshuja,

    If it’s come up with the WM5 Debranded – all is good!

    It’s a samsung… sometimes they just don’t do what they are supposed to! The fact that it booted up with the correct debranded interface means that the firmware took to the phone ok.

    Regards,

    Paul

  13. kshuja
    May 9th, 2008 at 10:49 | #13

    Thanks for the reply. I re-flashed the phone and this time it went through to completion, I think it doesn’t work the first time as the new deviceis not found as per the post here http://www.modaco.com/content/samsung-i60x-i60x-modaco-com/268137/definitive-guide-to-debranding-your-wm5-i600/

    Regards,

    Kman

  14. Jacob_O
    May 10th, 2008 at 03:38 | #14

    Will my SGH-i600 work in the United States? Is there a way to make the EU Version to work in America?

  15. May 10th, 2008 at 10:09 | #15

    It should do… it’s Tri-band GSM, so as long as you can roam onto a GSM provider – happy days :o )

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