I couldn’t stand waiting for the Android 4.0 OTA update for my Nexus S any longer so I updated manually. It’s a fairly easy process and honestly, I can’t see what the delay is at this point. I get that the December roll-out was stopped because it was problematic. I get that. But still waiting for my phone to be updated “some time in March” just isn’t accurate enough for me.
So. If you want to manually update your Nexus S, first download it by getting it directly from google.
(Before you update, remember that you may need the correct Nexus S variant. This worked on Baseband version I9020XXKI1, so update at your own risk. However, the update will simply not work if your phone is not the correct variant. It simply will not follow through, without doing any harm. Make a backup just in case.)
Next, follow these steps to update your phone:
1) First I renamed the downloaded file VQ8PQk.zip to ICS.zip for the sake of clarity.
2) Copy ICS.zip to your memory card/internal storage. Then turn off your phone.
3) Power it on while holding the volume button up. This will bring you to the bootloader.
4) Navigate with the power button and select recovery by pressing the power button.<
5) At the warning page (triangle), hold the power button and press up volume.
6) Select apply update from /sdcard and choose ICS.zip (or whatever you called the file).
7) The update process will take 5-10 minutes. When it’s done (you’ll know when). Reboot the phone.
And that’s it!
First off, ICS is slick. They put a lot of thought into this redesign. The main thing I noticed is that a lot of redundant steps have been removed, so it takes less clicks to get where you want to go. Obviously, this means less time touching the screen and more time actually interacting with your phone (in a totally non-obsessive way of course).
Battery life seems to have improved, but so far it seems that it mostly depends on which apps are more battery intensive. Overall, battery life is good, but not stellar and considering my phone is already over 8 months old, I don’t suspect that the battery is in its rime anymore.
With any new OS it’ll take you some time to get familiar with it, but it’s truly a much more intuitive interface. Like I said, it’s faster, more efficient and very snappy. Makes me very curious about the rumored summer release of Android 5.0 aka Jelly Bean, although I can’t see such a major version jump happening so fast. At least for the Nexus S.
Now for the bad thing
USB connectivity no longer works in the car!
This is a very bad thing unless you love local radio. What I used to do, was plug my Nexus S into the car’s (Nissan Sentra) usb jack, mount the device, and then listen to music through the car’s stereo. Bonus was that I could skip tracks by using the controls on the steering wheel. This was an awesome convenience which simply doesn’t work anymore.
I’m lying. It worked once and doesn’t work anymore. The device is recognized, but the car stereo’s software fails when trying to read the contents of the USB device (aka Nexus S). I thought maybe that the phone had remained mounted, so I rebooted the phone and yes, I even “rebooted” the car. No luck and I still have no idea what the problem is.
I’ll do some research and try to find a solution because no longer being able to use my phone as an automotive mp3 player is a major failure.
UPDATE: I figured out how to get USB connectivity to work in the car. It’s a timing issue, so you need to plug in your Nexus S into the car’s USB jack, an press Turn on USB storage. You basically need to do this a whle bunch of times until the timing is right. On the Sentra’s on screen display, it’s going to say “Reading media files” or something like that. If the timing is right, it’ll read them. If not, it’ll error out and fail. This is all more a flaw with how the two systems talk to each other and I don’t know if this post will actually help anyone. It’s really an interoperability failure.