Verizon updates Samsung Saga; is the GPS now unlocked?

A ROM update has been released for the Samsung Saga on Verizon, and it might just have a little gem in it for which we've been waiting quite a while. First, the fine points of the upgrade:

  • The Latest Microsoft AKU Update 1.5.1.
  • Enhanced zoom for Internet Explorer
  • Slight UI Modifications.
  • Various additional improvements to improve handset function.
  • Open Standalone LBS Supported & Performance Enhanced. (This may Support 3rd Party Applications)
  • MMS Over GPRS Supported. (GSM Mode)
  • Softswitch For GSM (Allows handset to select correct network overseas)
  • Multiple Qualcomm Patches Applied To Improve Phone Performance.
  • VZ Access Manager Supports Bluetooth Connection (SPP).

Notice the fifth item there? LBS, of course, is location-based services. That could be cell-tower triangulation, or, GPS! So, that'd unlock two of the three phones that Verizon promised to unshackle in the first half of the year, with the other being the HTC Touch Pro. We've got a week left. Will we see the Omnia get an official update soon?

Go here to get the upgrade (opens in new tab), and make sure you follow Samsung's overly complicated upgrade process.

Thanks, again, to cplush for the tip!

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

34 Comments
  • O HAPPY DAY!
    (or night)
  • I updated the software and Google Maps know my approximate location. I am hopeful...
  • Fingers crossed ... How about the GPS? Does it work with Google or Bing?
  • If it's any help to those trying to help Phil figure if it's tower triangulation or sat-lock, my Sprint phone in Google Maps always says it's "accurate within 20m." And I know that's with its very best GPS love at a typical 6ish satellites.
  • Hai,
    u I got the samsung phone unlock instructions in the site
    mobileunlockguide
    But i dont know about the gps unlock Thanks for this software.
  • mobileunlockguide is no doubt a helpful website to know the phone unlock instructions.
  • According to Google Maps, GPS is there (it says 4 satellites after a while). In my limited experience this morning, it's a little slow updating, and doesn't seem terribly accurate, but the weather has been pretty horrible around here.
  • I've preformed the rom update and now google maps gives me an approximate location via tower triangulation, but i'm still picking up no satellites. is there something else that needs to be done, updated, enabled, etc... to get gps?
  • update -- i found the gps settings for "location on" instead of "911 only" (start>settings>phone>servicess>GPS:change setting) and the GPS works now -- 4 satellites and precise location in google maps.
  • This has SIGNIFICANTLY improved this device. My location works in google maps now. Also, the scrolling is much more like BlackBerrys now. Very very good update. Highly recommended. Also, Internet explorer is really different now. Still crap, but better.
  • Is there an OTA version of this upgrade? Is there a mac compatible version
  • Nope. Not expecting OTA firmware upgrades until Windows Mobile 7 (at the earliest), and this one's XP and Vista only. Sorry.
  • Thanks for the quick reply. Is there any way to get a Mac compatible file?
  • Dieter, our resident Mac guru, says give it a shot in Bootcamp. That should work.
  • I just installed it using Bootcamp running Windows 7 RC. Had no problems.
  • Procedure bricked my phone, on hold with Samsung, and VZW tech support. I did everything as the instructions listed. This stinks. Phone will not go past begginning Samsung logo screen even with soft reset. Anyone know of a keypress sequence to get into "bootloader" mode?
  • No bootloader mode available to VZW techs. Only thing he had me try, which also didn't work, was holding the mousepad down while resetting the pin on the side, which should do a master reset after some sort of prompt. Locked up hard enough to not come back on, so it's deemed defective. They said they have had no calls or issues lately with the Saga upgrade. Lucky me. On the upside, new phone is being sent for Monday delivery. They do consider it an "official" vzw upgrade/software, so they do honor the warranty. Samsung will replace as well, but it can take up to 14 days, you foot shipping one way.
  • One thing I would try differently in retrospect, is to hook it directly to a native USB port, and not an addon card, and especially not a hub. Hooked up to my extra 4port usb pci card, it always charged quicker, and never had a problem with other devices. My cards lights were off after the updater said "FLASH LOCK OK!!!" or whatever the final thing was. That's never happened before except when I had a corrupt SD card in a reader plugged in a while back. Maybe do a full reset on the phone before flashing, in case some of the software/settings, was messing with things (though unlikely, but that's recommended for some HTC devices).
  • ROM upgrade went without issue. However, I learned that Verizon Wireless Sync that I use to push email to my Saga is not compatible with ActiveSync 4.5 You have to uninstall Wireless Sync and then reinstall after using ActiveSync. Google Maps was not able to locate me using GPS at first even when the location enabled (instead of 911 only). The trick was in Google Maps...press menu/options/GPS Settings/ click on "com" and scroll down to Com9 and select/click on 4800 and scroll to 9600 and select. Leave managed by windows checked. Go back to menu and click on Use GPS. Took about a minute or so to lock onto 5 satelites and pinpoint me. It will stay locked on to several satelites when I go indoors as long as I don't press any buttons. Otherwise it takes a minute or two to lock on again. I have't messed around with trying higher than 9600 baud rate (this matches my setting in external GPS settings). No idea what effect baud rate has on actual response rate.
  • I followed MADCON2's instruction and it works like a charm!!! I think the important thing to remember here to change the phone settings from "911 Only" to "Location Enabled". You do this buy performing the following steps.
    1. Click Start
    2. Click Settings
    3. Click Phone
    4. Click the "Services" tab at the bottom of the screen.
    5. Click "GPS", then click the "Change Settings" button.
    6. Click the "Location On" Radial Button, then Click OK.
    7. You may receive a warning telling you that your location will now be open to all third party apps, acknowledge it and you're done. Follow MADCON2's instructions for setting up with Google Maps, his instructions were the crowning touch to getting everything working for me! Best regards,
    Brad
  • I tried using the same settings with Bing (apparently the new Live Search from MS), and I'm not getting anything. Any luck with that ap?
  • Something irritating I've noticed is while text messaging someone, if you stay in the "chat" view while they send messages, and then leave that view, it marks everything they've sent as unread, even though you were looking at the messages and have even replied. you have to go in and out of that view multiple times to clear the highlighted "unread" messages that you HAVE already read. Can that be turned off or something? it worked perfectly before.
  • For those still having trouble getting google maps working, try changing your baud rate. Mine started working when I set it to 38400.
  • Getting the GPS to work properly with Google Maps definitely takes some messing with the settings. On my Saga you can assign the GPS to any COM port in the phone's settings, then you have to go into Google Maps and set GPS to manual settings and match it to that same COM port. That got the program to talk to the GPS a little, but not effectively. I also set the baud rate to 38400, as recommended above, which at first didn't do anything but a little later seems to be delivering some results. In any event it will probably take some playing to get it up to par with the VN Navigator app, which does a great job with location but is otherwise inferior to Google Maps. So I'm hoping for the best.
  • Gps works great here in ga!!!!!!!!! in our forum the best settings we found were com 9
    baud 9600
    for a great free and very accurate nav app check out amazegps
  • Issues post update:
    as reported about the text messages, now it doesn't recognize I have read previous texts, I have to go and click on ones to mark them, AFTER I have already read and replied to them.
    It STILL activates the function key when I open text messaging a majority of the time.
    the new IE is terrible with Yahoo's new mobile page. so is Opera for that matter. I would blame this on Yahoo, 'cept Mobile IE and Yahoo's new page worked fine pre update.
    So far battery life is not better.
    But hey - th GPS works!
    to those havign trouble getting it to work, be sure to select "location on" in the PHONE>SERVICES>GPS control. worked for me.
  • My GPS is working after the update but acquisition of satellites is incredibly slow....even outside with a wide open view of the sky it takes minutes. Either Verizon is still blocking access to aGPS, or Google and other application developers need to provide a new version to take advantage on the Samsung Saga. I'm not sure which is the case.
  • That has been my experience as well: even once I worked out the settings, I've endured excruciatingly slow (and unstable) acquisition of satellites.
  • I did the upgrade, no problems there. Got my Location On, got Google Maps and even another GPS software on here and neither can find a satellite using COM9 (that's what it's set to in the phone) and bauds of 9600, 4800, or 38400. Any suggestions for me? This is making me nuts... :)
  • I am hoping a major bug is found in the Samsung update that supposedly unlocks GPS because GPS performance is so hideous with the update that you might as well not use GPS at all. On the best day Google/Bing take 5-10 minutes to acquire a lock on the Saga and usually it takes a reset or two to get those pieces of software to acquire a lock without timing out. Since VZ Navigator acquires a lock and gets correct coordinates quickly, I assume VZ Navigator is communicating with the GPS device differently than other software. I wonder if it would be difficult to extend the same performance seen by VZ Navigator on the Saga to third-party apps like Google or Bing.
  • Got the upgrade - it uploaded without a hitch. The GPS took a while; but once it locked - it was great. Google maps and Live Search are tremendously better with the feature (Google maps even gives an approximate location based on nearby cell towers before the lock).
    Note that it WAS great. Everything was fine until the messaging center completely disappeared about a week later. This only came back after a hard reset. Within the next few days, messaging started locking up every few hours. Interestingly, all other features of the phone continued to work. Finally, the whole thing just stopped working. Wouldn't load past the startup screen.
    I called customer service and, after a few obligatory questions, they quickly said they would ship me a new phone. Sounds like i'm not the only one that had this problem.
  • While I was downloading the update, I did the above. Finally put the baud at 38400, went outside, nothing. came back in, put the phone on the counter, started to do something else, and suddenly noticed that the phone was picking up satellites 3, 4, 5, then 6. Wow. pinpointed me within a few feet. Before, nothing. so now, com9 38400, location on, external gps at 38400 baud.
    Thanks for the help. I don't think I'll install the update, now that it's downloaded on my desktop. Don't want to lose this phone. Just bought it on ebay, and don't know if samsung would honor any warranty. seller says its 6 months old. Well thanks again.
  • BRICKED. WHAT A SURPRISE. Had this phone for a few months, installing the update seemed to have worked, then I reboot the phone and it's stuck at boot screen. FING PIECE OF SHIT. I HATE THIS PHONE. IT IS THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. I can't express in words how much this thing has frustrated me, I mean GOOD GOD. Do these IDIOTS even test this crap before they ship it out? And what the hell kind of POS doesn't have a recovery mode, even the iPhone does... so if you're loading a new ROM on this thing, and you lose power - its bricked, customer CAN NOT RECOVER. And if you DONT try to install the update, you can enjoy a locked GPS and and constantly dropped calls, but what the hell, how could they have EVER discovered that problem in testing - I MEAN WHO USES A PHONE TO MAKE CALLS OR SURF THE NET??? VERY UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT IT TO PERFORM THOSE FUNCTIONS. I hope Samsung's new OS loses them billions (Baido)... it's the least they deserve for unleashing this horrible product upon the world.
  • I also attempted the update. The install software said that it completed successfully. Then I watch my Saga get stuck at the Samsung start-up screen. So after troubleshooting it by reading internet post after post, it see now it is bricked and there is apparently nothing I can do. I am not really sure how long I have had this phone. Maybe over a year? Let's say it is out of warranty am I SOL?
    I guess I will find out. Paying Verizon a visit tomorrow. =/