Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting GPS to work on the Samsung Wave S8500

When I bought this mobile phone, I was very excited with the prospect of using the GPS feature, especially while driving. However, the GPS feature was very disappointing in the sense that the phone did not come with a working GPS application, you have to buy a license for the one pre-installed in the phone, or buy another one on the Samsung Apps store. Additionally, the phone took a huge amount of time getting a GPS lock (5 minutes or more), which for me is not acceptable.
Fortunately, after a lot of research on the web, I found out how to get a lock in just a few seconds using only the GPS receiver embedded on the phone (this means that I am not using any of the Assisted GPS features, thus avoiding any costs related to the exchange of data with my mobile operator).

So, here is how you can do it:
  1. Dial *#4097*4097# to access the GPS menu;
  2. In the menu go to the “Application Setting”, scroll down, and in “GPS Device-Type” select “BUILT-IN” to use only the GPS receiver on your phone.

At this moment we have our phone using its embedded GPS hardware. Now, here is the thing, In order for you to get a fast lock, your phone needs to calculate the position of the satellites, and it is capable of doing this a lot faster by getting a packet of data with updated information on the satellites position. This data is valid for about 167 hours, meaning that after that it does take a lot longer to get your GPS position. So, if you want to know where you are, fast, my advice to you is that you update this data everytime you leave your home.

So, without any further chit chat, here is what you have to do:
  1. Make sure you have your phone connected to the internet (tip: use the wireless connection on your phone to avoid extra costs);
  2. Dial *#4097*4097# to access the GPS menu;
  3. Select “Delete GPS Data” and press “Yes” when the pop-up menu asks you if you want to delete this data;
  4. Back in the main menu (*#4097*4097#), go to “Test Application”, “GPS+” and select “Download Data” and a small text message should appear saying “SUCCESS to Get GPS+ Data”;
  5. Go back to the previous menu (“GPS+”) and access the second item “Check Valid Time”. If you get a small text message saying “GPS+ Remain Validity Time: [167]” you are OK to go.
Now you can disable any 3G or Wireless Internet connections and use the embedded GPS to get your position quite fast. It usually takes me less than 10 seconds (tip: when using Samsung LBS as your GPS application, remember to enable “Activate Location Services” only when the pop-up menu appears once you start the application; remember to disable it after you have finished using your GPS if you want to have extra battery time).

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