Samsung Galaxy Tab – KIES PC Sync

I’m playing with an evaluation unit of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet from T-Mobile, so I thought I’d post my observations & any useful info I dig up. 

Pricing on this gadget varies widely.  T-Mobile has it for about $250.  If you want to pay more, you can get it from AT&T for $520.  Does that markup seem a little excessive to you?  Good, it did seem that way to me.

The model I have is SGH-T849 (no, not on the box or paperwork anywhere, you have to dig into the phone settings.  Here’s an interesting bit of trivia: If you plug this unit into your computer with the non-standard USB cable (looks like an iPod cable, but isn’t), the computer sees it, but it doesn’t charge it!  You have to plug that cable into the little wall-wart (which is admittedly very slick).

I asked “Irene” (complete with thick Indian accent) how to transfer memos from the tablet to my PC.  I was told this was not possible.  I took another tact and told her that the memo program has the ability to email memos, so I did that.  I ended up with a “.vnt” file as an attachment.  This is not text, html, xml, or anything else useful – it’s some proprietary file format.  I asked what reader I might employ to view said file.  After being put on hold for an extended period of time, “Irene” suggested that I download “Universal Viewer Portable 5.4.4” from the net (just google it, she said).  Cnet has it, if you are interested: http://download.cnet.com/Universal-Viewer-Portable/3000-2248_4-75157196.html?tag=api

According to net.wisdom, the sync program you need to use to transfer files and media to and from the tablet and your PC is called “Kies” (apparently pronounced “keys”, according to tech support).  Try finding this on Samsung’s twisty dead-link littered website, and you’ll be pulling your hair out.  I have less hair now, but victory was mine and I was able to find a link which did allow me to download Kies PC Sync software.  Here it is: http://www.samsung.com/ae/consumer/mobile-phones/mobile-phones/infotainment/GT-I9000HKDXSG/index.idx?pagetype=prd_detail&tab=support

It doesn’t matter what model of phone the website thinks you have, as they only have one sync program for all of them.  When I connect the tablet, I get “This device is not supported by Kies 2.0”.  Not very useful.  However, Windows 7 does see the device as a mass storage device, and can browse it.  I can manually copy pictures/videos back and forth, but I was looking for something more elegant.  Browsing the various folders didn’t yield anything “memo”-looking.

In the root directory is an executable named “Multimedia Sync by doubleTwist.exe” – intriguing!  When I ran it, I got a progress bar which stalled 2/3 of the way through with “Unknown error trying to download Multimedia Sync”.  I tried copying the file to my hard disk and running it from there – same result.

If you go to http://www.doubletwist.com/, you get a download page for an app which apparently does over-the-air sync.  Interesting, but overkill for what I’m trying to do at the moment.  T-Mobile does have a link (after more digging) where you can download this app: http://apps.t-mobile.com/doubletwist/ (it’s curious that tech support didn’t mention this).  After a painfully slow download, I was able to install it.  My initial impression is an iTunes type program for android devices.  Not bad, really!

However, it doesn’t have any ability to access memos.  So… the memo application on the tablet appears to be much like a piece of paper.  You can write on it, and look at it, but that’s it – don’t think you can transfer it somewhere else and use it.  To me, that’s fairly worthless.

*UPDATE* I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy SII cellphone.  Samsung has recently released Kies 2.0 and a wireless version also.

 

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