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February 28, 2014

The Ordeal of Updating with Samsung Kies

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

It finally happened me. I’ve read about it, but didn’t believe it. Was it true? Do you really need to use a computer to update an Android phone? The answer is “yes,” if that phone happens to be a Samsung.

I don’t know how I’ve escaped this misery until now. I’ve had my Galaxy Note II for a long time. It’s never needed an update as far as I could tell. But my new Galaxy Note 3, well, it tells a different update story.

Normally, an Android phone updates itself. You can’t force an update, although you can check for updates by using the Settings app. That’s kind of fruitless, however, because unlike a computer, you aren’t the one who choses when to update.

Android phone updates are seeded either by the manufacturer or your cellular provider. The manufacturer mostly does firmware updates, which may not include a new version of the Android operating system. In fact, most manufacturers don’t update Android, preferring instead to install a new version with their newer phones.

Bottom line, however, is that you can’t force an update. When it comes, it comes.

My Galaxy Note III notified me of an update almost a week after I received the device. So I went about installing it by using the phone itself — you know, the normal way.

It failed.

Curse you, Samsung!

Curse you, Samsung!

Apparently the only way to upgrade the device was to follow the suggestion on the screen and obtain the Samsung Kies program.

I’m familiar with Kies, having written about it in several books. The Kies Air app is a nice way to synchronize files between your Samsung phone and a computer — without having to use the USB connection. It works well.

Problem: The Galaxy Note 3 doesn’t come with Kies Air.

To do any synchronizing and to update the phone, you have to connect it directly to a computer running the Kies 3 program, which must be downloaded from Samsung.

Begin Rant

What the hell is the point of having a phone or tablet if you need a computer?

I mean, seriously, Samsung: You just don’t get it. The phone should update itself. I realize that you probably want my name and email for your marketing purposes. Fine. Whatever. But a phone or a tablet should be its own unique device.

End Rant

Granted, the Kies program is easy to get and install. It required a special USB driver for my PC, which I also had to download. Then, because the USB cable is slow (I don’t have USB 3.0 on my PC), it took over an hour for the Galaxy Note 3 update to be downloaded, transferred, and installed.

I like Samsung’s hardware. I don’t like Samsung’s silly apps. I refuse to sign up for a Samsung account. Again. I’ve already singed up once, but Samsung apparently lost my account — just like they lost the $40 worth of movies I purchased through the now-defunct Samsung Media Hub.

Am I learning? What about other Samsung phone and tablet users probably enjoy the same hell I went through. How long can Samsung keep up this nonsense and maintain a stable user base?

Oh, and the Galaxy Note 3 update ordeal killed the S Planner (Calendar) app. It also removed the feature that lets you sort the phone’s address book.

Ugh.

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