Samsung T809 Power User

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Friday, December 30, 2005

Samsung t809 Screen Dust research begins

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I'm setting aside a few hours today to look into how to solve the screen dust problem -- or at least how to remove the dust. I'm going to research not only the compressed air solutions, but also how I might be able to attract the ionized dust into a larger clump that might be easier to remove. I may even go as far as try to disassemble the phone (I have a few extra dollars left over if I need to buy a new one, heh).

If I get back home before day's end, I'll post the results today -- otherwise stay tuned tomorrow. If you have positive or negative results from your trials, drop an e-mail or post a comment.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Samsung t809: What does this do? Main menu style

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I get a few dozen e-mails every day (keep sending them, I appreciate every question!) regarding some basic tasks or questions regarding what a certain setting does. Even if you're familiar with the phone, you may have missed some common settings.

In Menu -> Settings -> Display Settings -> Main menu style you have two selections of Block menu and Flash menu. I prefer the Flash menu as it shows your wall paper on your phone through the main menu. If you're afraid of the little people that wander around that menu setting, you can select the Block menu which gets rid of them, but it will also cover the wallpaper whenever you're in the menu selection area.

Give it a try and find one mode you prefer.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Samsung t809 battery saving tips

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I'm looking for some battery saving tips from other Samsung t809 users. So far, I have tested (and verified) the following ways to conserve the precious battery life:

* Turn down your LCD brightness to the very minimum. It is still VERY bright. You can adjust the brightness by going to Menu -> Settings -> Display settings -> Brightness control and set it to 1

* Turn down your Backlight timing so that the backlight turns of faster rather than slower. You can adjust the backlight by going to Menu -> Settings -> Display settings -> Backlight. I set my "On" time to 15 sec and my "Dim" time to 5 sec. I wish I could set my On time lower, but that is the minimum.

* Turn off Bluetooth if you're not using it. I connect to EDGE/GPRS at least 20 times per day, so I leave my Bluetooth ON all day, and my battery life definitely suffers for it. If I find myself unable to charge for a long time, I likely will toggle the Bluetooth on and off as I need it.

* Here's an odd one: use the most basic ring tone possible, don't use vibrate, and turn your ring tone volume down. I actually seem to have saved significant battery life by doing this. I'm testing it long term to prove it, but it seems to be the case.

A few things I will also test: battery life with the T-Flash in and out of the phone.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

After Christmas update

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I received my first dust specks under my screen on my Samsung t809 yesterday. It was in my pocket in my jeans all day -- the first time it wasn't in my satin lined pocket of my jacket. We hit almost 45 degrees in Chicagoland so the jacket wasn't needed, and the dust appeared. This helps to confirm (slightly) that the dust may come from pocket use.

It doesn't bug me. The dust isn't visible (yet) when the screen is on, only when it is off. I'll be looking at ways to try to flush it out, but if it does get annoying I'll take the phone to T-Mobile and see what they can do. At this time, it is cosmetic, so I'm in no rush to replace it. I got screen dust specks with most of my PDAs (because of the hole in the stylus port).

I'm desperate for a second battery as I'm starting to abuse my phone's Bluetooth and EDGE connectivity. Yesterday I actually went into low battery disabled mode after hours and hours of web browsing from my PDA. Comparison shopping on the go is great, but a second battery is a must, even with a car charger.

I added a screen protector to my phone display -- the terrible ones you buy at Best Buy. They're fine for my phone, but just horrible for PDA use. They were on sale (slightly crushed box) for aound $7 for 12 pieces, so I'll go ahead and replace them as I need to. If anyone can recommend a DECENT screen protector, let me know. The one I use on my PDA is no longer manufacturered (I happened to have one left from a year ago that fit perfectly).

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The t809: who got it for Christmas?

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(or another holiday!)

If you're new to this blog, check out the links to the left: Howard Forums, Phone Scoop and the FAQ that I'm putting together with information gathered from using the phone and from posts everywhere.

If you have a question, feel free to post on these forums or post a comment on my blog. I access my blog from my t809 daily, and get updates to my t809 when someone posts a comment (except anonymous comments, those I get to at the end of the day or in the morning).

If you're having a nagging problem that T-Mobile and Samsung can't fix, let me know. I'll try to duplicate it and even give you a call to see what we can do to get you going.

The Samsung t809 cell phone, so far, is my favorite cell phone I've ever had, and I tend to buy 2-3 per year (some as expensive as US$800!). This thing does everything I need it to do -- especially when bundled with my HP iPAQ PDA that the lady got me for Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

T-Mobile releases Samsung t809 cell phone accessories

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T-Mobile Samsung t809 Accessories Website

Prices look good:

Samsung t809 Battery - $29.99
Samsung t809 Headset - $19.99
Samsung t809 Travel Charger - $19.99
Samsung t809 Car Charger - $24.99
They also sell a 512MB SD card, but for $69.99 it isn't such a great deal.

Missing? I want to see an adapter to let me use my own headphones. Also missing is a carrying case, they're still offering the RAZR one -- it fits great but I open my phone trying to get it out of the case.

I'll pick all these up Monday and offer reviews.

Bluetooth Authorization

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I use the Bluetooth support on my Samsung t809 cell phone every day for various things -- I use it to wirelessly copy files, ringtones and images, wirelessly connect to the Internet (via EDGE/GPRS) and use a bluetooth headset.

If you don't authorize your devices, you'll be bothered with a prompt from the phone to accept the connection. I'm not as security conscious about my telephone data, so I don't mind permanently authorizing my other devices to the phone. I'm not sure of the long term security issues (I haven't looked into how easy it is to hack bluetooth), so definitely be cautious if you have sensitive data.

That warning being said, you can authorize any device (or all of them one at a time) by doing the following:

1. Make your first connection between phone and device as you normally would and confirm that it works. Use whatever bluetooth PIN that you want.
2. Select Menu -> Settings -> Bluetooth -> My Devices
3. Highlight the device you want to authorize
4. Click Options button
5. Click Authorize Device

You're done! Now you won't get the nag prompt every time you want to use your device.

This is just a common sense process that many bluetooth users are familiar with, but if you are new to bluetooth, or haven't read your manual, it should help save some time. I connect to the web with my PDA and my laptop probably 20-30 times per day, so authorizing my PDA and my laptop saves me that extra few seconds here and there, and I never have to remove my phone from my pocket.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

MP3 Ringtones on Samsung t809 cell phone

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*** I added a simple batch file "program" at this link to help with this process ***

Many users are mad that copying MP3's to their phone won't let them use it as a ringtone. It seems the t809 requires DRM (Digital Rights Management) on the MP3 in order to play it as a ringtone.

Some users found a great work around -- rename the MP3 on your computer before copying it over to your phone. The normal MP3 extension of the filename, for example: FUNSONG.MP3, needs to become 3GP. You can do this in Windows Explorer or in DOS -- just rename the MP3 portion to 3GP.

I've tested the following procedure and it works flawless:

1. Find your MP3 folder on your computer
2. Click Tools -> Folder Options -> View
3. Make sure the "Hide file extensions for known file types" is UNCHECKED.
4. Click Apply, then click OK
5. Find the MP3 file you want to use as a ringtone. Right click it.
6. Click Rename -- erase the MP3 portion and replace it with 3GP. If the filename is FUNSONG.MP3 it must now be called FUNSONG.3GP
7. Copy the file to your phone (via USB or Bluetooth)
8. Select it as a ring tone, and you're set.

Be careful with the size of your ringtones, of course. I use Audacity (a open source freeware sound editing program) to make my ringtones smaller, so as not to take up too much space on my t809.

Why would Samsung limit the phone this way when it is so easy to work around it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Samsung t809 cell phone tips

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I was afraid I scratched my t809 display today, but a little wiping with a soft lens cloth and it looks fine. The phone is so tiny and light I'd hate to much that up with a leather case, but I may have to (if they ever release a quality one). Had another 3 or 4 people stop me today in the airport and ask me what phone it was. I realized what makes it stand out -- the color. The thing is just gorgeous from a few feet away.

I banged out almost 4 hours of continues EDGE/GPRS via bluetooth to my PDA today, and the battery hit about 50% or so, I assume. So far I can't find a decent place to track down the exact battery status -- it only shows 3 bars of battery. At one point I hit 1 bar but opening and closing the slide brought it back to 2.

I did do a fairly large download -- about 6 MB, and the phone got pretty warm on the bottom. The first purchase I'm making is a decent car charger and a second battery, for sure. The battery life is awesome, considering I knocked out almost 200 minutes of phone time and the 4 hours of EDGE browsing (at 150kbps!).

The speaker phone is amazing, people have told me I sound better on speaker that off. Everyone comes through really clear even in the wind of Chicago in mid winter. I'm waiting on Samsung to give me some info on their proprietary charging jack so I can purchase some raw connectors and make some adapters of my own. Hopefully I'll hear something from someone.

A few tidbits of information:

*Google's gmail works great from the WAP browser -- as does google.com's search.

*T-Mobile lists the RAZR carrying pouch as a t809 accessory, but it does NOT work well.

*Browsing the web via the WAP browser is a high power consumption process.

*There is no good POP3/IMAP e-mail client because of the Java security issue. If you have this phone, call T-Mobile and let them know you need a fix for this problem, it's a big one!

Does anyone have any idea why the camera flips upside down towards you? When I flip it, the display becomes flipped so everything is upside down. Annoying, and sort of senseless. It could be good for videoteleconferencing, if the image wasn't inverted.

Day 4: 3 day usage

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The first 3 days of using my t809 cell phone have been really enlightening in how powerful my h6315 used to be as well as how weak it was. I'm happier and more productive now with 2 devices than I was with one, but I find myself using the phone more than I had expected.

The built in WAP browser combined with Google's "PDA-izing" feature allows me to browse a considerable amount of news websites and blogs. Head to www.google.com on your WAP browser, enter your search terms, and most links will be phone-downsized by Google. Very strong feature.

The Opera Mini browser doesn't seem to work with the t809 cell phone, unfortunately. This mini browser works with a myriad of phones already, and not working on the Samsung t809 is causing some concern for users. T-Mobile tech support is receiving a great flood of phone calls, and has learned that their standard response should be "Call Samsung" or "Call Opera." This is not the tech support department I am familiar with, and they need to come up with a better answer. I prefer "We're working on it."

According to the Phone Scoop forums, the problem seems to be all 3 companies. It seems the t809 won't run any Java midlet network apps that are unsigned by both the manufacturer and T-Mobile. Opera does't have a signed app, and no one at T-Mobile will admit to whether or not they'll help with this problem. Personally, I can overlook this shortcoming as I use my hx2495 PDA to browse the web. Many users don't want the added expense or weight of a second handheld, so I can understand their concern. People are already mentioning a class action lawsuit (I don't believe in lawsuits, so I would never join one), but I don't think it will come to that. This is a new phone and there are bound to be shortfalls.

Why would T-Mobile require a signed app? I can think of a few reasons. With phones and PDAs becoming more powerful every day, what are the chances of Java being a hole for hackers and spammers? Are they hoping to control the apps that can connect to the web to prevent even bigger problems down the line? Only time will tell.

One big peeve about the phone is the lack of a headphone jack. I looked for about 10 minutes before I realized the included stereo headphones have the proprietary charging port connection. Everyone tells me to just use bluetooth, but I like my old 1/8" stereo plug. If anyone knows of a decent bluetooth headset (one that works with the t809 would be nice), drop me a line. I'd also like to find the best way to broadcast my MP3s to my car stereo. Maybe I'll chop up my headphones and make a proprietary-connector-to-1/8"-stereo-jack so I can plug anything in. Hmm.

Calls to T-Mobile, visits to corporate deales, and visits to the cell phone accessories kiosks at the mall made me realize this phone IS new: there is no car charger yet! I also can't buy a spare battery or three, and no one has the phone cover yet locally either. I tend to dislike leather carriers as they add bulk, but this phone is so tiny I may want to cover it just so I don't misplace it.

The camera "overlays" are cute but a complete waste of space and code. I don't see anyone using them for more than a casual laugh once in a blue moon. I really don't like seeing software bloat coming to cell phones, but the t809 has such a peppy interface I guess I shouldn't be complaining.

3 days of service, over 500 anytime minutes used and over 300 megabytes of data transfered between my EDGE service and my PDA and laptop and not one hiccup. Haven't missed any calls, the ringer is the perfect volume and I've been stopped by people at least 5 times asking me what phone I have.

Time to start tinkering now.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Night 1: EDGE networking via laptop

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I charged my t809 for the first time -- the charging plug is tinier than my old HP iPAQ connector, which (for me) is bad. I break everything. Why can't these people get mini-USB ports like Motorola and Blackberry have? Proprietary connectors offer higher margins for sales people in selling accessories, but it still makes life hard.

I turned on Bluetooth, powered up my laptop (using a D-Link DBT-120 Bluetooth dongle) and paired the devices. 10 seconds later, I ran through a quick Dial Up Networking connection, clicked Dial and *BOOM* Error message.

Rebooted. Clicked Dial. Error message.

The error message was a new one to me:

Error Code 734: The PPP link control was terminated.

Now, I have no Internet, and I have no phone to dial out on. Lovely. I went through my notes I wrote down while talking to the T-Mobile guys during the v360 issues, and I came up with the following they recommended adding to the Dial Up Networking "Extra Initialization String":

at+cgdcont=1,"IP","internet2.voicestream.com"

Also, they recommended turning off "Use IP header compression" in the TCP/IP networking options. I will explain both of these changes in a day or two.

I didn't reboot, just clicked Dial, and success! Connection made.

The first thing I did was e-mail off a thank you to T-Mobile. They've had me since the Voicestream days and I'll never go to another company.

I went to DSLReports to do a speed test. It isn't the most accurate but it is a good reference. The Samsung t809 didn't inform me on the display if I have a good GPRS connection. With my old h6315 PDA phone, I'd get around 3K per second downloads and usually 1K per second uploads. Not very good.

I ran DSLReports' speed test with the t809 tethered to the laptop via bluetooth. This is on a Sunday night, but I got the following speeds:

2005-12-18 22:24:38 EST: 112 / 44
Your download speed : 112 kbps or 14 KB/sec.
Your upload speed : 44 kbps or 5.5 KB/sec.

Wow! That is significantly faster. EDGE definitely is working, even if I can't see it on the phone. I used to pay $150 per month for IDSL to get worse speeds down, but these speeds are perfect. I'm posting from it now and I'm very happy with the results. Multiple windows in IE run perfect.

More on EDGE to come.

UPDATE: I made some slight changes to my dial up networking profile and received 152 down / 44 up. I've heard some users pushing even faster speeds via EDGE, so I'll keep tinkering. After the minor changes the latency is even lower so it feels much faster.

Day 1: Samsung t809 Phone

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What a crazy weekend.

Last week, I broke my HP iPAQ h6315 Pocket PC Phone. The phone was my lifeblood -- I blogged from it, I read all my e-mail from it, and I browsed every website. While on business in Vegas, I broke the charging port straight out. Game over.

T-Mobile no longer offers the device, so I started my hunt for a solution. I can't wait 3 months for the new HTC Wizard (although I would!), so I needed something this weekend. A call to 611 (T-mobile's Customer Care number) and I was connected to a sales person who seemed to know his stuff. After talking about my dilemma, he recommended a Motorola v360 with a Pocket PC PDA connected via bluetooth.

I drove (1.5 hours!) to get the v360 from a T-Mobile corporate store. The guys (and gal) in the store were very helpful but not knowledgable on the bluetooth stack in the v360, so I paid my $149.99 and off I went (1.5 back home).

After 8 hours of trying to get the v360 to work with my laptop and my PDA, I gave up. 3 different techs at T-Mobile couldn't get them to pair up for anything but file sharing. Chicken and egg: no Internet, so I can't work on my PDA. No PDA so I can't get on the Internet. This morning I spoke with the Wireless Data Group and they confirmed the phone was wrong.

I drove all the way back to the store, and after nearly 3 hours, T-Mobile worked with me on taking back the v360 and I upgraded to the Samsung t809 for a little more cash. What a great company -- I have zero complaints about the system.

This blog will be my adventure in using the Samsung t809 phone. I'm one of the most powerful power users you will ever meet. I am mated the t809 phone up with an HP HX2495 Pocket PC PDA. This PPC has Windows Mobile 5.0 which supports Bluetooth Dial Up Networking. It isn't the latest and greatest but it is a late-2005 generation PDA.

My uses: connect to the web (using EDGE wireless and WiFi locally) to browse the web, send/recv e-mail, and post to my blogs and my forums. Keep track of all my billing. Keep track of all my calendar entries, contacts and more. Install AIM and MSN Messenger. Always be available.

If you have questions, ask away. If you have problems, tell me about them. I've had thousands of helpful responses on the web and I'd just like to give back.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Samsung t809 FAQ

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BASIC QUESTIONS
How do I put my phone into Silent mode?
Press and hold the # key until it switches. You can switch back to normal mode this way too.

How can I copy files to my phone?
You must make sure your phone is in Mass Storage USB mode:
* Menu -> Settings -> Phone settings -> USB settings -> Select Mass Storage
* Plug your USB cable into your PC and it will work as a USB hard drive

How can I watch my videos in Full Screen?
Press 1. It will put the video in landscape mode, so turn your phone 90 degrees.

Can I watch videos from the memory card?
Yes. Instructions to be added.

How can I convert videos to 3GP format to view?
Go download http://www.nurs.or.jp/%7Ecalcium/3gpp/3GP_Converter034.zip and set it up with 3GPP+AAC General settings. Run the software and convert to QVGA (320x240) Normal quality 15fps stereo.

How can I install or download Java applications to my phone?
Browse to http://www.getjar.com/ from your PC and set up an account there. You can download free games and applications via WAP on your phone from this site, and you can also upload your own application to download direct to your phone.

Why do my contacts show up twice?
You have contacts on the SIM card and on the internal phone memory. You will have to delete the contacts from one location to get rid of this doubling. It is common with phones with internal memory. I don't store numbers on my SIM card as the SIM card can not offer additional contact settings.

Why can't I add a Picture Caller ID to a contact?
The contact MUST reside on the phone's memory, not on the SIM card, in order for it to be tagged with a Picture Caller ID.

How can I end speakerphone calls by sliding the phone closed?
At this time, there is no solution -- this is a "feature."

How can I get the phone to vibrate and ring at the same time?
Power users have mentioned that this feature is not available, yet.

Can I use MP3s on my computer as ring tones?
Yes, go to this link to read the process. You may need to use the software below, too. *** I'll copy the process to this FAQ soon ***

How can I convert MP3s on my computer to 3PG ring tones on my phone?
I set up a batch program at this link.

How can I make MP3 ring tones stay the same volume, instead of quiet->loud?
At this time, there is no solution -- this might be a "feature" to protect the speaker. 01/17/06: Talked to Samsung, this is actually a "feature" to protect the ears of people who don't realize how loud some ringtones can be. It can not be turned off, yet.

How can I turn off the slide open/close sound?
Menu -> Settings -> Sound Settings -> Slide Tone -> OFF

How can I turn off the End of Call sound?
You can't at this time.

What is the hole on top of the phone?
No one has confirmed it -- theories are that it may be related to a second mic or speaker for the speakerphone operation.

How can I make my own wallpapers?
Use a graphic editing program to set your image to 240x320 pixels. Save as a JPG or GIF file and transfer to your phone. Then select it:
*Menu -> Fun & Apps -> File Manager -> Images -> Memory Card -> Images folder
*Highlight the image file name, select Options and Set as Wallpaper

Can I use the built in camera to take pictures to use as a t809 wallpaper?
Yes. You have to edit the resolution that the camera is saving the image as.
*Press the Camera button -> Options -> 7. Settings -> Function
*Change the size to Mobile which is 240x320 resolution.
*Don't forget to change back to your normal resolution for other photos.

When the camera is turned to face me, the image is flipped.
Hit the volume up/down button to invert the image as needed.

Can I save camera photos directly to the T-Flash card?
Not at this time. You can move them from the phone to the T-Flash card manually.

What is the biggest T-Flash card I can use?
512MB have been tested, but there are 1GB T-Flash / SD Transflash cards available. I have not tested them yet. If you have tested a 1GB T-Flash card, please let me know the brand and the outcome.

How can I turn off the top clock?
There are currently no ways to turn this clock off.

I get an icon that looks like a white envelope with a red to white gradient bar that flips upside down. What is this?
Your SIM card is full of SMS messages -- delete some (have less than 30 on the SIM card) and that icon goes away.

How can I receive SMS messages straight to phone memory rather than the SIM card?
No answer yet.

How do I handle screen dust?
Many people with this problem tend to keep their t809 phone in their pockets. Users with pouches and cases for the phone seem to not have this problem. Some believe it is lint that entered the headphone jack connector. I keep my phone in a pocket lined with satin and have had no dust issues, yet. Some T-Mobile corporate stores will offer to exchange your phone if you have this problem and bring the box and all the contents but your mileage may vary. 01/17/06: I received dust when I carried my phone in my jeans. I plugged the hole under the camera with a thin piece of rubber and replaced that with scotch tape under the hole -- the dust problem has not increased. Some people have found a small hole on the back of the phone on the tiny rectangle "bumps" you can see to the left and right when the slider is up. Covering these if they are leaking light in total darkness should help.

Can I run Opera Mini on the t809?
At this time, Samsung and T-Mobile both blame Opera for a Java Security issue. I am awaiting a reply from Opera regarding the unsigned app. As of 01/17/06 Opera refuses to answer or acknowledge my question. Please pester them regarding getting their application signed for use on T-Mobile Samsung phones.

Can I disabled the low battery restrictions?
When your battery gets extremely low, the phone will refuse to use many features such as MP3 playback, the Camera and even the keypad backlight. This protects your battery so you can still make an emergency phone call but requires that you charge your phone in order to get the normal use back.

I am trying to connect to EDGE or GPRS or T-Zones from my laptop using my t809 as a Bluetooth Modem, but when I dial out I receive the following error:

Error 734: The PPP link control protocol was terminated.

You need to add an additional setting:
On Windows 2000 (XP will be similar), do the following:
*Control Panel -> Phone and Modem Options, Modem tab (highlight bluetooth modem),
*Properties, Advanced tab. In Extra initialization commands enter:

+cgdcont=1,"IP","internet2.voicestream.com","",0,0

*Click OK twice to save it, and dial out! You might have to reboot, I didn't.

What "secret" phone codes are there for the phone?
*#8888# - H/W Version
*#9999# - Firmware Version
*#06# - IMEI serial number
*#VSWAP# - Swap WAP profile from Internet2 to Internet3

How do I unlock the t809? / Where do I get an unlock code?
If you have been a customer in good standing with T-Mobile for 90 days, and have a contract, you can usually get an unlock code to use the phone in another country. Call 611 and they'll give you an unlock code.

Once you have this unlock code, you can unlock your t809 using the following command:

*7465625*638*Unlocked Code#

Please do not ask me or anyone I am affiliated with for an unlock code -- I don't have one.
How can I get the t809 to work on the Cingular network?
For GPRS/EDGE:
Type *#87927# which enters the phone into hidden Browser Profile menu.
Go to 2 Profile settings and select it.
Go to Profile 2 and edit it with the Cingular settings:
GPRS
Profile Name: Express
Home URL: http://device.home
Bearer: GPRS Only
Proxies: Enabled

Go to GPRS settings (ignore GSM settings as Cingular doesn't need them)
IP - 66.209.11.32
Port: 8080
APN: wap.cingular
User Name: WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM
(All upper case)
Password: CINGULAR1
(All upper case)
Go back to the current profile and select the one you changed, save and exit.

For MMS/Picture messaging:
Type *#87667# which enters the Debug Mode.
Go to 4 Server settings, then go to 2 Profile settings and select it.
Drop down to Profile 2 and edit with the Cingular settings:
Settings Name: Multimedia
Homepage: http://mmsc.cingular.com
Proxies: Enabled
Version: 1.2 (295KB)

Go to GPRS Settings.
IP: 66.209.11.32
Port: 8080
APN: wap.cingular
Username: WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM (upper case)
Password:CINGULAR1 ( upper case)
Go back to the current profile and select the one you changed, save and exit.

If you get a network unavailable message, enter *#4777*8665# and go to 6 GPRS setting and change it to GPRS Mode.


 
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