Captivate: Froyo bliss, USB woes

Samsung and AT&T finally released the Android 2.2 update (a.k.a. Froyo) for the Captivate. To say that this has been long in coming would be an understatement; even CNN International picked up on this story. Such an embarassment…

Anyway, Froyo is here now, and it’s great. It definitely feels faster (longtime Apple fans would say it has teh snappy [alternative Facebook link]); for example, Launcher Pro‘s Exposé-like effect is buttery, OSXliciously smooth. The Browser app is noticeably faster, and it runs Flash–a big win for my family’s Club Penguin enthusiasts. The notorious lag that afflicted Eclair on the Captivate seems to be much reduced. Perhaps as a consequence, rebooting the phone is much faster (not that I do it that often). Skype finally works (it is Froyo-only). Plus, the UI looks more polished and refined overall. The USB debugging icon, for instance, is much improved, and even cute: a huge step up from the ugly red triangle in the Captivate version of Eclair.

So, all is well. Actually, scratch that: all would be well if it wasn’t for the serious issues I am having with the Micro USB plug, which is used both to recharge the battery and to transfer data. I already blogged about this, but what I thought was an occasional occurrence caused perhaps by a mistake on my part has morphed into an ugly, recurrent, seemingly random but unfortunately fairly frequent problem. I already reported it to XDA Developers, and apparently I’m not the only one having this issue, although it does not seem to be widespread.

Here’s the deal. Every once in a while, after connecting my Captivate to a computer or to the charger and unplugging it, the “USB Connected” notification comes back on (followed by the “USB Debugging On” notification, in case that is turned on in Settings). Sometimes, the battery icon even shows the lightning picture, which means that the Captivate thinks that it is recharging when it’s clearly not. And, if I power off under such circumstances, the phone is seemingly unable to power back on normally: pushing the power button brings up the “spinning circle” cursor, followed by a picture of an empty battery, after which the display goes dark. The only way to bring the phone back to life is to connect it to a power source; again, you see the spinning circle, then the empty battery, then (finally) a battery showing the actual charge level, after which you can push the power button and the phone will start. Actually, even this may require a couple of attempts before it actually works.

Fiddling with the USB settings may or may not help; I think on a couple occasions the “USB Connected” notification went away after changing the settings, but then again, it may have done so of its own volition. I seriously suspect this may be a hardware issue. I am even tempted to open my Captivate to see if something is obviously wrong. I’d rather not return the phone and perhaps get a replacement unit, which I would then have to unlock–a process that is now harder than it was with the original Captivate firmware.

So, besides the annoying fact that the notification drives me insane, and also takes up valuable space in the notification bar, could I simply live with this problem for a while, until I am eligible for a new, fully subsidized phone? The main issue is powering up the phone when the notification is on: I need to be close to a power source. Also, when the “USB Connected” notification is on, I sometimes can’t actually plug in the USB cable and really connect the phone to a computer, which is not just somewhat ironic but also obviously very inconvenient.

Bottom line: this is a very annoying, serious issue. If anybody can suggest a solution, please be my hero 🙂 . In the meantime, I will post updates on this blog.


One response to “Captivate: Froyo bliss, USB woes

  1. Pingback: Captivate: More on the Froyo update, and a tip | Tech, TeX and Theory

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