Last month I finally upgraded my Sony S710a to a Samsung Eternity (SGH-A867). I had been eying the iPhone for a while, and I know a few people that have one, but there were a couple of things that I just couldn’t get past when picking a new phone. The iPhone is WAY cool for sure, but I don’t use MS Windows at all for anything.. period, and I’m afraid to get the full awesomeness out of the iPhone I would be tied to itunes running on a windows machine. I have an iPod, and use it frequently with gtkpod on my Linux workstation, but the iPhone does soo much more that I think I’d just be missing out. With Apple intentionally making 3rd party interaction with their devices difficult and (at the time) Bluetooth being crippled was enough to make me look at other phones.
So anyway, the Eternity is pretty enough and touchscreeny enough for me to feel like I’m living in 2009 AND bluetooth wasn’t crippled. My requirements for the new phone were: Bluetooth, GPS, run J2ME apps, camera and not be a Windows device. I thought the out-of-the-box Eternity would do all of that.. but unfortunately AT&T restricted the GPS on it. Everything else worked great though! I lived without the GPS for a couple of weeks, and then the good folks at samsung-eternity.com came up with a great hack to get free gps going with 3rd party apps! You can go read all about it here, but in short all you have to do to get Mobile GMaps and amAze GPS going is to use a usb cable to get to your phone with TKFileExplorer (or Bitpim) and remove everything in the exe/java/games/<yourapp>/appdb directory and the exe/java/games/<yourapp>/MANIFEST.MF file. If you are on linux you can try to get Bitpim to do the job, but after trying for a couple hours to get all of its Python dependancies working I gave up and ran TKFileExplorer through wine.. you can read about doing that in my post here.
I’d love to rant about how pissed I was about AT&T locking the GPS to their own stupid nav service, but was unable to keep that level of emotion after finding the above hack. But seriously, I was angry at the world.. do they want people to just buy iPhones that are not as restricted? Why wouldn’t Samsung be upset about this? Oh well.. I’m happy now, and thats all that matters. AT&T can still go to hell though.