Make your Samsung Galaxy i7500 faster – by downgrading!

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As you might all well know by now, I am a (proud?) owner of Samsung Galaxy i7500. Yes, the first Samsung Galaxy that I bought almost two years ago and was then a top notch phone. Not for long – it had Android 1.5 and Samsung had forgotten about it very soon. After less than half year there were new versions of Android out that enabled users to install many more and advanced apps, which were not available for 1.5.

Thanks to hackers like Drakaz who also owned this phone, there were unofficial releases of Android 1.6 for this phone (Galaxo), and later 2.1, 2.2 and even 2.3 (GAOSP). Every latest version had less features and was marked ‘public beta’ or ‘nightly’, which meant it could or it does contain bugs or unfinished features. I have installed all but 2.3 since it was marked as ‘beta 1’, very early release. Thanks to Drakaz I could use new apps from Google, I could use feature that otherwise I couldn’t. But all that came for a price: my Samsung Galaxy became so slow, that even a simple task of opening a contact list took 10-30 seconds (yes, seconds). I have tried some hacks but the speed didn’t improve. I got used that if I miss a call I need two minutes to be able to call back, that I need three minutes to check in with Foursquare and that I only browse when I have more than five minutes of free time. I even got used to remove some apps I didn’t use so often so the phone might respond faster.

I was both a proud owner of the first Samsung Galaxy and the user of Android 2.2 for almost a year. Not bad – when I forget about the speed it’s even great. Lately I started to look for a now phone, because the speed was getting on my nerves. I wanted a phone I could use without staring at the blank screen for 30 seconds. I’ve seen there’s many Android phones on the market, not all expensive. Sure, I thought, now’s not the time to buy a new phone, Android 4.0 will be out any time now and I’ll end up with an old phone again, this time maybe even sooner than in six months. So I got an idea:  since my phone has basically made me to use just the basic functions and slim apps, maybe I can downgrade to a previous version of Android! The apps will be faster, but they will have fewer features. Compared to what I had, this was win situation.

So I have decided to downgrade to Android 1.6 (Galaxo). I created backups with Nandroid, then I used GalaxyUpdaterFull by Drakaz to install new OS. The fist impression of it was very positive – I have thought I have a new phone in my hands! I have installed several apps that I got used to and by doing that have found even some new interesting ones that I might start using. I have found several apps that mimic features of newer Google apps and so far they do their job very well. After loading all the apps I need, the phone is still surprisingly fast (compared to slow GAOSP 2.2).

The limitations of the older OS aren’t that big after all. My phone feels like it’s new and I don’t miss only a few programs that I got used to with the ‘enhanced’ phone.