Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tips for new Samsung Sync Users

As I mentioned earlier, I recently acquired a Samsung A707 which is provided by at&t/Cingular. In this article I'm going to recommend some software and other customizations to make it more useful.

  1. Access high-speed Internet everywhere I described this in my earlier article, Enjoying High Speed Wireless Connectivity Anywhere, so I won't do so again, but the important tip from that article is to download at&t Communications Manager to connect your laptop to the Internet via Bluetooth or USB.
  2. Easily manage address book, calendar, email, multimedia, and more You may think you need to buy a USB cable in order to connect with your phone and synchronize your address book, appointments, music library, etc., but the good news is that you don't! If you're laptop is equipped with Bluetooth (like mine is), simply download Samsung PC Studio (it's free!). It will run through a simple wizard to connect to your phone either via Bluetooth or USB (it also supports Infrared and Serial connections, but since the phone doesn't, that doesn't help). Once you're connected you can manually manage your address book, email, etc. or you can synchronize them with Outlook/Outlook Express. You can use this application to configure an Internet connection as well, but it's easier with the at&t application (see tip 1). The "Manage Multimedia Files" option allows you to copy music, photos, and videos to/from the phone -- including Podcasts.
  3. Add useful apps to your phone
    • Google Maps Other than making phone calls, one of the most useful thing a cell phone can do for you is help you find businesses while on the road. Google Maps is a "must have" application for this. Not only can if find local businesses by name or keywords, with a click of a button you can call them You can get directions to them including step-by-step instructions to get you there. It also adds real-time traffic information, can display satellite imagery, and provide navigation to move around the map and zoom in/out.
    • GMail Yes, the Sync comes with a mobile email program which connects to Yahoo!, AOL, Windows Live Mail (aka Hotmail), Juno, NetZero, and more. However, the one service it lacks it my preference, GMail. Fortunately, Google has provided their own application which can be installed on your phone to access GMail accounts. Unfortunately, I haven't found anyway to make it the default email program so that your phone will tell you when you get new mail like it will for the other email types.
    • Opera Mini The built in browser works fine for WAP/WML content, but when you need a more powerful browser, Opera Mini is the way to go. If you have iPhone envy and want a browser like it demonstrates showing the whole page and zooming in on pertinent sections, try the beta of version 4 which can do that too.
    • mWebPlayer The Sync includes "XM Radio Mobile" which allows you to stream XM Radio content to your phone. The only problem is, you have to pay for the service. As an alternative, mWebPlayer will stream radio stations off the Internet (for free!). The free version of mWebPlayer doesn't save changes you make to the station list, however, since you can load your favorites, it's quick and easy to just load that list each time you start the application.
    • Instant Messaging ( The Sync includes an instant messaging application which can connect to either AIM, MSN, or Yahoo! However, it has two drawbacks. You can only connect to one at a time, and it uses your text messaging count for each message (which when you have unlimited data but limited text messages is rather stupid). Fortunately, there are a large number of IM clients out there which can connect to multiple IM communities at once and don't waste your messaging total. The biggest drawback is that, like the email, when you're using one of these apps you won't get notified when you're not using the phone and you get a message. You have to be running the application at the time. Since there are lots to choose from, I'm not specifying a particular one since I haven't evaluated them all, just follow the link and pick the one that sounds best to you.
    • Games There's going to be plenty of times when you're waiting in some lobby and need something to do to pass the time. Here are a few staple games that are both free and well done.
      • Backgammon This is a nice implementation of an old favorite. The LITE version is free and fully functional except that you can't play against other people online.
      • Chess ( Another nice (and free) rendition of a timeless classic.
      • Tetris A good way to waste time.
  4. Add useful URLs to add to your browser favorites
    • Google Who can surf the net without Google?
    • YouTube You too can watch everyone's homevideos on your cell phone (who needs an iPhone? -- the Sync can toggle between portrait and landscape too!)
    • TV Guide Who wants to flip through a paper guide and translate it to the correct station number? Get a customized list of what's on right now for your TV provider.
    • Bible Don't want to carry the Bible with you to church, no problem, get it online.
    • Weather (NOAA) I happen to live in a hurricane zone, so when a hurricane it coming, I want to be able to get up-to-date weather reports.
    • Java Applications ( Many of those aforementioned Java application, and many more can be downloaded from
    • Palm Mobile Portal ( True, this isn't a Palm, but Palm does have a nice portal site for other mobile sites.
  5. Free 411 Information Add a contact to your address book for 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) to get local business information.
  6. Customize appearance Using pictures you take or upload with PC Studio (tip 2), be sure to set the "Caller ID" field for your address book contacts to pictures of them which will show up when they call. Until you get a picture of your friend, the Dilbert characters work nicely. Also, customize your ring tone and wallpaper. To the right is a picture I took at Clearwater Beach (Florida) which has been resized to fit the screen (240x320) in case you don't have a picture of your own.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, your tips have been the most helpful I've found. Unfortunately for me, I am SUCH a rookie with my SGH 707 I have been spending hours searching the web for instructions on how to use my phone, can't find mine, need help with even just the basics like address book. Every time I try to bring up a site like Samsungs I keep getting, page is to large, will be displayed improperly then I can't find what I'm looking for. I also have a 10 year old and 3 year old, and no time to be doing this, as is it's 4 50 am cutting way into my sleep, oh, and I also don't have a computer, this is it!!! Any tips for this rookie? I hope. Happy Christmas! Lori

Anonymous said...

i was just recently locked out of my phone because it said that my PUK code was wrong. I do not even know what a PUK code is. I need some help.

Steven Pothoven said...

A PUK is a Pin Unlock Key. It's specific to each sim and held by customer care for security reasons but they'll give it to you no problem.
When the PIN (Personal Identification Number) is entered wrong 3 times, it will ask for Pin Unlock Key (PUK). If you need the PUK code, and you know the account holder's name, last 4 digits of social security # or the password (if there is an account password), you can simply call customer support ask for the PUK code.

Steven Pothoven said...

Have you looked at AT&T's Samsung A707 Phone/Device Support page? On that page you'll find a large number of tutorials for various phone functions.

Donna and Tom said...

How did you get the Gmail Mobile App to work on your Sync? Mine gets that Java certificate error. Any advice for me to make it work?
Thank you in advance for your help.

Anonymous said...

I can't figure out how to assign a picture to caller ID's as mentioned in tip #5. How do I do this???


Steven Pothoven said...

When you edit a contact in you address book, the entry that is labeled "Caller ID" (after "Group" and before "Ringtone") is the picture you want to use for the contact. When you select that field, it will allow you to browse for a picture.

Jeffreydon11 said...

You wouldn't happen to know if you can sync the phone with Windows calender? I downloaded the Samsung PC Studio(works great by the way) but I cannot sync it with my calender on windows. any help would be great!

Rich said...

When I use my A707 browser to access facebook, it chops off the right side of the screen. This used to work. I don't know if the app changed or if I accidentally changed some setting. Can you please help??