Samsung SGH-i600 debranding, unbricking & hacking.
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…)
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.
- Install the Samsung Drivers
- Disable ActiveSync (you can un-check the “Allow USB connections” in Connection Settings)
- Put the Phone into ‘special mode’
- Turn phone off.
- Turn phone on whilst holding the Right Soft-key and the Back/Cancel key on the side#
- If you have done this correctly, the phone will show something like “* USB Downloader Open 1.1”
- Install the update – Warning: Takes a very long time. Be patient.
- If doesn’t appear to work. Retry from Step 2.
- 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.
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?
Ok – tried lots of them, the best of the best are:-
- Fring – Free application
- Agile Messenger – Commercial
Gmail is so easy to set up on your Samsung.
- Enable POP3 in your Gmail account settings.
- Go into Messaging on the Samsung and add a new account.
- Set up the screens as shown here
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.
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)