Android & Virgin Mobile Tricks, Tips, Quirks ....

posted Apr 7, 2011, 4:22 AM by Tom Pedersen   [ updated Jun 12, 2014, 4:46 AM ]
I settled on a Virgin Mobile Samsung Intercept for my development Android device.  It was a relatively cheap way to get started at the time - about $150 for the device, $25/Month for unlimited data and no contract.  All-in-all, it has worked out pretty well, I've even adopted the gizmo as my primary phone.  

The combination of Android OS, Virgin Mobile service and the Samsung device does have its share of quirks, so I'll attempt to keep this running list of Tips, Tricks and Resources as I stumble along ... hopefully it will help others.

Virgin Mobile
  • Coverage is limited.  The Virgin Mobile Coverage Map has come in handy.  Overall, there is reasonable coverage along beaten trail (major highways), but limited in backwoods, that's for sure.  
  • Service has been pretty good.  We've now ported a couple of numbers and found 3G (Sprint's EVDO network) acceptable.  Speedtest.net Android app is pretty nice/handy. 
  • Google Voice has been also been handy outside of coverage areas (Texting & Voicemail via WiFi). 
Android OS
  • The phone improved DRASTICALLY since Android 2.3 was pushed down.  Most notably, email/calendar account sync improvements and battery life.  . 
  • Android 2.3 Users Guide comes in handy periodically.
  • As expected, the phone works best with Google Apps - gmail, calendar, docs ... 
  • I had to open a couple of home network ports (tight firewall) for the Android devices:  TCP/UDP 5882 to access App Marketplace & TCP 465 for SSL Gmail
Samsung Intercept
  • Doesn't connect via USB to all Windows computers ("USB device not recognized" error).  I found that connecting via a USB 1.0 hub seems to work on the troublesome (XP) systems.
  • Battery life is acceptable - 1+ days, with considerable surfing (I don't talk on phone much).  I use the Power Control widget for fine tuning.
  • Device reliability has improved drastically since OS 2.3, but is still a bit temperamental - occasional (1-2/month) lockups that are remedied by popping the battery (an old blackberry trick) 
All for now - hope it helps